Campaign finance update

Originally posted November 2, 2013; updated November 7, 2013




All the pre-general election campaign finance reports for Lansing candidates are finally in. They are for the period 8/27/2013-10/20/2013 (except for 2nd ward candidate Tina Houghton, whose report - since she didn't have an opponent in the primary - is for 1/1/2013-10/20/2013). Here are some of the highlights:


As of 10/20/2013, incumbent mayor Virg Bernero has a balance of $70,425.03 in his campaign account. Challenger Harold Leeman, Jr. has $1,240.60. Here are the contribution and expenditure totals from the 3 reports Bernero has submitted in 2013 (click the period to get the actual report):






As of 12/31/2012




















Here are the contributions of $500 or more received by Bernero in the 8/27/2013-10/20/2013 period:

Name Occupation Employer PAC? Date Amount
Boji, Eliya Retired     9/4/2013 1000.00
Boji, Heather A Homemaker     9/4/2013 1000.00
Boji, Seham Homemaker     9/4/2013 1000.00
Pappas, Richard J President Davenport College   9/10/2013 1000.00
Havey, Adam VP Emergent Biosolutions   9/18/2013 1000.00
McDaniel, Mark S President Great Lakes Capital Fund   9/5/2013 1000.00
Jones, Gary   Jones Development Company   9/6/2013 1000.00
Michigan Laborers Political League   Y 9/11/2013 1000.00
Singh, Balbir Owner Village Party Store   9/29/2013 1000.00
Theis, Ken Director, Technology Manager Dewpoint   8/27/2013 500.00
IBEW-COPE     Y 9/25/2013 500.00
Lothamer, Jesse Accountant Lothamer Accountants   9/12/2013 500.00
McKinney, Kevin A Lobbyist     9/18/2013 500.00
Farrell, Patricia A Administrator Michigan State University   9/12/2013 500.00
Operating Engineers Local 324     Y 9/23/2013 500.00

Dewpoint was in the news just recently.


Also in the news was a complaint filed with the Bureau of Elections charging that money paid to Bernero campaign staffers got passed on to city council candidates Jessica Yorko and Kathie Dunbar. A hefty portion of Bernero's 2013 campaign expenditures has gone to contract employees:

Name Purpose Date Amount
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 4/18/2013 400.00
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 5/7/2013 400.00
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 5/16/2013 1,770.98
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 5/31/2013 1,795.15
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 6/14/2013 3,200.00
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 7/5/2013 1,200.00
Chris Breznau Contract Employee 7/12/2013 1,200.00
Chris Breznau Consulting 9/9/2013 1,200.00
Chris Breznau Consulting 9/20/2013 1,672.79
Chris Breznau Consulting 10/4/2013 1,629.36
Elizabeth Hart Contract Employee 6/3/2013 300.00
Elizabeth Hart Contract Employee 6/14/2013 2,600.00
Elizabeth Hart Contract Employee 7/5/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Contract Employee 7/12/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consultation/Research/Survey/Sign 8/5/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consultation/Research/Survey/Sign 8/13/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consulting 9/7/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consulting 9/20/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consulting 10/4/2013 600.00
Elizabeth Hart Consulting 10/18/2013 600.00
Josh Olesczcak Contract Employee 3/5/2013 500.00
Michelle Benson Contract Employee 3/13/2013 500.00
Michelle Benson Contract Employee 4/24/2013 400.00
Michelle Benson Contract Employee 4/30/2013 400.00
Michelle Benson Contract Employee 5/16/2013 400.00
Michelle Benson Contract Employee 5/23/2013 2,000.00
Samantha Troutman Consulting 8/27/2013 1,000.00
Samantha Troutman Consulting 10/4/2013 1,000.00
Terrance Redman Consultation/Research/Survey/Sign 8/5/2013 100.00
Ye Min Tun Consulting 9/20/2013 200.00
Ye Min Tun Consulting 10/18/2013 200.00



Here is a summary of Bernero campaign expenses for the year:

Contract employees $28,868.28  
Office expenses, equipment and facility rent 15,640.74  
Print advertising and postage 7,597.27  
Auto expense 3,598.98  
Food 3,413.10  
Other 8,595.50  



Go here for a lot more detail on Bernero's 2013 campaign contributions and expenditures.

City council candidate reports

The pre-general reports were due October 25. Fourth ward candidate Jessica Yorko and second ward candidate Tina Houghton were late with their reports. Fines are being assessed by the Ingham County clerk. Here's what the Michigan Campaign Finance Act says about late fees:

If the committee has raised $10,000.00 or less during the previous 2 years, the late filing fee shall be $25.00 for each business day the statement remains unfiled, but not to exceed $500.00. If the committee has raised more than $10,000.00 during the previous 2 years, the late filing fee shall not exceed $1,000.00, determined as follows:

(a) Twenty-five dollars for each business day the report remains unfiled.

(b) An additional $25.00 for each business day after the first 3 business days the report remains unfiled.

(c) An additional $50.00 for each business day after the first 10 business days the report remains unfiled.

It does not say, however, that a candidate who fails to report must forfeit the election.

Yorko's report was posted to the Clerk's website November 4, along with amendments to her pre- and post-primary reports. That is amendment #2 for the post-primary report.

Tina Houghton didn't get her campaign report to the Ingham County Clerk until November 5, and maybe the delay was intentional, since she also received substantial contributions from Bernero campaign staffers. On June 19, she received $500 each from Chris Breznau and Elizabeth Hart. Breznau and Hart each contributed a total of $2000 to Bernero's favored candidates between June 17 and June 19:

  Jessica Yorko Kathie Dunbar Tina Houghton TOTAL  
Chris Breznau $500 $1000 $500 $2000  
Elizabeth Hart $500 $1000 $500 $2000  

The contributions could violate Section 44 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act:


Sec. 44. (1) A contribution shall not be made by a person to another person with the agreement or arrangement that the person receiving the contribution will then transfer that contribution to a particular candidate committee.

   (2) A candidate committee shall not make a contribution to or an independent expenditure in behalf of another candidate committee. This subsection does not prohibit the purchase of tickets to another candidate committee's fund-raising event that does not exceed $100.00 per candidate committee in any calendar year.

   (3) An individual, other than a committee treasurer or the individual designated as responsible for the record keeping, report preparation, or report filing for a committee, who obtains possession of a committee's contribution for the purpose of delivering the contribution to another committee shall deliver the contribution to that committee, that committee's treasurer, or that committee's agent, or return the contribution to the payor, not later than 10 business days after obtaining possession of the contribution.

   (4) Two or more persons, other than individuals, may hold a joint fund-raiser if the receipts and expenses of the fund-raiser are shared proportionately.

   (5) A person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.


Here are the totals from the council candidates' reports:



contribution total


account balance

Judi Brown Clarke (at large) 9,903.70 15,973.44  
Kathie Dunbar (at large) 13,190.00 21,928.19  
Brian Jeffries (at large) 10,600.00 9,654.03  
Ted O'Dell (at large) 0 2,445.41  
Chong Anna Canfora (4th ward) 9,015.00 13,985.67  
Jessica Yorko (4th ward) 8,938.33 12,981.67  
Tina Houghton (2nd ward) 15,263.33 12,492.55