BC/BS PAC Contributions and Expenditures: 2007

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In the fall of 2007, the Michigan House of Representatives very quickly passed a package of bills that would have made substantial changes to the rules by which health insurers would operate in the state. The bills were backed by non-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield and were opposed by - among others - Attorney General Mike Cox, who claimed in a 12/18/07 special to The Detroit News that

The effect of these changes would be to push even more Michigan residents into the ranks of the uninsured, raise rates for those who could still afford coverage and add even more money to the Blues' already-bulging bottom line.

The bills were opposed by most Republican legislators. On the floor of the House the day the bills were passed (October 24), Republican Alma Smith protested that

House Bills 5282 - 5285 were introduced on October 11, 2007 and 13 days later the full House is being asked to vote on policy that makes extensive, substantive changes to the way both Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and the Accident Fund will operate. Members not on the committee were deprived of the opportunity for adequate review and it is beyond me why we needed to act in such haste. . .

The bills never did get past the Senate, at least in their original form. But while the controversy was hot, I did the following analysis of contributions and expenditures by the political action committee (PAC) of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

At that time, the three most recent campaign finance reports submitted by the BC\BS PAC were the January, July and October "triannual" reports. Here are the figures on direct contributions and direct expenditures from those reports, which can be viewed on the Secretary of State's website:

  Direct Contributions Direct Expenditures
 

Rec Count

$ Total

Rec Count $ Total
January:  Oct 21 Dec 31, 2006 7,589 89,576.85 19 46,350.00
July:       Jan 1   July 20, 2007 23,254 268,700.84 198 251,824.00
October: July 21 Oct 20, 2007 10,224 116,034.21 79 92,008.00

Totals:

 41,067 $474,311.90   296  $390,182.00

Contributions

Note that the number of contribution records is 41,067. That is a lot of records. One could examine them on the SOS website 100 at a time, but it would take days. The site also allows data to be downloaded, so I downloaded all 41,067 records, imported them into Excel, and sorted by contribution date within contributor. What becomes clear is that the BC\BS PAC is funded almost entirely by BC\BS employees, probably through bi-weekly payroll deductions. For example, there were 26 contributions of $60 from Daniel Loepp, president and CEO.

I don't know how many BC\BS employees there are, but least 1579 of them contributed to the BC\BS PAC (41,067 divided by 26 = 1579). Some were employees of the Accident Fund and DenteMax, both of which are subsidiaries of BC\BS.

According to the Independent Committee and Political Committee (PAC) Manual (pages 21-22), Michigan's Campaign Finance Act allows solicitation or acceptance of contributions only from those employees of non-profit corporations "who have policy-making, managerial, professional, supervisory or administrative, non-clerical responsibilities." The contributions may be automatic:

Section 55(6) of the Campaign Finance Act governs automatic contributions, such as payroll deduction. As a general rule, contributions may not be obtained on an automatic or passive basis, and a reverse check off method of obtaining contributions is strictly prohibited.

A corporation organized on a for profit or non profit basis . . . may solicit or obtain contributions for a separate segregated fund from an individual on an automatic basis, including but not limited to a payroll deduction plan, only if the individual who is contributing to the fund affirmatively consents to the contribution at least once in every calendar year. According to Rule 169.39c, the affirmative consent shall be effective only through December 31 of the calendar year for which the consent is given.

$60 seems to be as high as the bi-weekly contributions go. But when I look at the lower end, the amounts force me to conclude that although the deductions may not be mandatory, they are strongly encouraged. There are several employees whose bi-weekly contribution is $.01. Yes, one cent. Twenty-six cents a year. Obviously, these employees have little concern for BC\BS' political objectives. Other employees at the low end are hardly more generous, contributing $.05 or $.25 or $1.00 each pay period. But these are the exception. Here are the most common bi-weekly contribution amounts:

Lower-level employees $6 and $9
Managers $13 and $18
Directors $19 and $29
Vice presidents $45
Senior vice presidents $60

There were only 4 contributions that were not from employees:

Contributor Date Amt
BILL HARDIMAN FOR STATE SENATE 11/30/2006 $1000
CAPITOL NATIONAL BANK 10/28/2006 $422
CAPITOL NATIONAL BANK 11/30/2006 $229
CAPITOL NATIONAL BANK 12/30/2006 $294

Expenditures

Of the total of $390,182 in direct expenditures, $132,600 went to the campaign committees of individual state legislators:

Representatives (details)

$73,650

Senators (details)

58,950

 

$132,600

Another $18,800 went to leadership committees:

ANGERER LEADERSHIP FUND

$2,000

BISHOP MAJORITY FUND

2,300

CHRIS WARD MAJORITY FUND

1,000

DILLON LEADERSHIP FUND

8,000

ED GAFFNEY LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE

1,000

MEADOWS MAJORITY FUND

500

MEISNER MAJORITY FUND

1,000

RUN TO WIN SAK LEADERSHIP FUND

500

WHITMER LEADERSHIP FUND

2,500

 

$18,800

Another $79,500 went to caucus committees:

Michigan House Democratic Fund

$30,000

House Republican Campaign Committee

14,500

Senate Democratic Fund

15,000

Senate Republican Campaign Committee

20,000

 

$79,500

This brings the total contributions to the state legislature to $230,900:

Representatives

$73,650

Senators

58,950

Leadership committees

18,800

Caucus (party) committees

79,500

 

$230,900

So of the $390,182 spent by BC/BS in 2007, $230,900 went to campaign committees associated with the state legislature. Where did the rest go? $32,980 went to other state and local campaigns:

BUROTN LELAND FOR DETROIT

BURTON LELAND

WAYNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER

$500

COMMITTEE TO ELECT ROSALYN BLISS

ROSALYN BLISS

GRAND RAPIDS CITY COMMISSIONER

250

COMMITTEE TO RE-ELECT BRENDA JONES

 

COUNCILWOMAN

250

COX 5200 CLUB

   

10,000

FRIENDS OF BILL LATTIMORE

BILL LATTIMORE

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

100

FRIENDS OF CATHY M. GARRETT

CATHY GARRETT

WAYNE COUNTY CLERK

150

FRIENDS OF KAY BEARD

KAY BEARD

COUNTY COMMISSIONER 12

200

FRIENDS OF KEN COCKREL JR.

KEN COCKREL JR.

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL

550

FRIENDS OF PAUL WOJNO

PAUL WOJNO

COUNTY CLERK

500

FRIENDS OF ROBERT FICANO

ROBERT FICANO

WAYNE COUNTY EXEC. WAY

5,000

FRIENDS OF SUZANNE SAREINI

SUZANNE SAREINI

COUNCILWOMAN

80

GRANHOLM LEADERSHIP FUND

   

5,000

HEARTWELL FOR MAYOR

GEORGE HEARTWELL

MAYOR

2,500

INGHAM COUNTY RESIDENTS FOR CURTIS H

CURTIS HERTEL JR.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

750

LOREN BENNETT FOR WAYNE COUNTY

LOREN BENNETT

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

500

MURPHY CAPITAL CITY LEADERSHIP FUND

   

500

PAUL GIELEGHEM FOR COUNTY COMMISSION

PAUL GIELEGHEM

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

150

TERRI LYNN LAND FOR SECRETARY OF STA

TERRI LYNN LAND

SECRETARY OF STATE

5,000

VIRG BERNERO FOR LANSING

VIRG BERNERO

MAYOR

1,000

 

 

 

$32,980

$65,500 went to federal level campaigns:

BART'S BRIDGE PAC

 

 

$5,000

CANDICE MILLER FOR CONGRESS

CANDICE MILLER

CONGRESSIONAL

2,500

DAVE CAMP FOR CONGRESS 2002

DAVE CAMP

CONGRESSIONAL 04

2,500

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMI

 

 

5,000

EHLERS FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE

VERNON EHLERS

CONGRESSIONAL 03

1,000

FRIENDS OF MAX BAUCUS 2002

MAX BAUCUS

U.S. SENATE S1

1,000

FRIENDS OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN

CARL LEVIN

U.S. SENATE S1

10,000

JOHN D DINGELL FOR CONGRESS COMMITTE

JOHN DINGELL

CONGRESSIONAL 16

2,500

KILDEE FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE

DALE KILDEE

CONGRESSIONAL 05

500

KILPATRICK FOR UNITED STATES CONGRES

CAROLYN KILPATRICK

CONGRESSIONAL 15

5,000

LEVIN FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE

SANDER LEVIN

CONGRESSIONAL 12

2,000

MCCOTTER CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE

THADDEUS MCCOTTER

CONGRESSIONAL 11

500

MIKE R FUND

 

 

2,500

NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CO

 

 

5,000

PETER HOEKSTRA FOR  CONGRESS

PETER HOEKSTRA

CONGRESSIONAL 02

1,000

ROGERS FOR CONGRESS

MICHAEL ROGERS

CONGRESSIONAL 08

2,000

STABENOW FOR US SENATE

DEBBIE STABENOW

U.S. SENATE S2

10,000

STUPAK FOR CONGRESS

BART STUPAK

CONGRESSIONAL

2,000

STUPAK FOR CONGRESS

BART STUPAK

CONGRESSIONAL

3,000

UPTON FOR ALL OF US

FRED UPTON

CONGRESSIONAL 06

1,500

WALBERG FOR CONGRESS

TIMOTHY WALBERG

CONGRESSIONAL 07

1,000

 

 

 

$65,500

Finally, $60,802 went to "other" (stuff I didn't know how to classify):

AMERICA'S LEADERSHIP PAC

WASHINGTON, DC

$5,000

ANDREA LITCHFIELD

TROY, MI

8

BLUEPAC

WASHINGTON, DC

20,000

CAMPAC

MIDLAND, MI

2,500

CAPITOL NATIONAL BANK

LANSING, MI

2,303

CITY OF LANSING TREASURER

LANSING, MI

66

DETROIT REGIONAL CHAMBER PAC II

LANSING, MI

2,625

DIAMOND PAC

DETROIT, MI

2,500

FORWARD MICHIGAN

ST. JOHN, MIS

500

GOP WOMEN MATTER

LANSING, MI

500

GREEN TEAM MAJORITY FUND

WYOMING, MI

500

JACOBS MILLENIUM PAC

HUNTINGTON WOODS, MI

2,500

JDC GENESEE FUND

LINDEN, MI

5,000

MAJORITY MATTERS

LANSING, MI

1,000

MICHIGAN REPUBLICAN PARTY - FEDRAL A

LANSING, MI

5,000

MICHIGAN VALUES LEADERSHIP FUND

LANSING, MI

2,500

NEW SOLUTIONS FUND

DETROIT, MI

2,000

NO VI LEADERSHIP FUND

LANSING, MI

1,000

REPUBLICAN MEMBER SENATE FUND

MONTAGUE, MI

2,500

REPUBLICAN VICTORY COMMITTEE

TRAVERSE CITY, MI

1,000

ROCC PAC

ROYAL OAK, MI

500

SCHAUER 21ST CENTURY FUND

BATTLE CREEK

1,000

THE GREAT SOUTHWEST FUND

LANSING, MI

300

   

$60,802

To summarize:

State legislative campaigns

$230,900

Other state and local campaigns

32,980

Federal level campaigns

65,500

Other

60,802

 

$390,182