Public Policy
  Analysis, opinion & ideas from Steve Harry



Police union rips off senior citizens

January 24, 2018


This is from the invoice sent to people who agree to contribute to the Police Officers Association of Michigan Legislative Fund:

The money we raise will be used to contribute to political candidates who are committed to advancing pro-police causes. Our association endorses political candidates for state and federal offices who have either demonstrated or have committed to support platforms or issues which are beneficial and supportive to the law enforcement community.

Actually, only 13% of that money goes toward advancing police causes. 86% goes to the telemarketing company that calls to solicit the contribution. Here are the figures for the 2-year period ending October 20, 2017:



Payments to Midwest Publishing Inc




Contributions to candidates




Bank fees








The above figures are the combined totals for POAM and its sister organization, the Command Officers Association of Michigan (COAM). Both use the telemarketing firm Midwest Publishing Inc, based in Phoenix, AZ. A list of payments to Midwest Publishing is here. A list of POAM-COAM contributions to campaign committees is here.


I have a message for candidates: DO NOT ACCEPT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THESE ORGANIZATIONS. It is dirty money. POAM and COAM prey on senior citizens and 86% of the money they collect goes to the telemarketer making the calls.


12,063 individual contributions were made to POAM and COAM in the year 10/21/2016-10/20/2017. Amounts ranged from $5 to $180, but most are $15 or $20. Here are the people who contributed on one day, 11/29/2016.


We know that most of the people called are elderly. (They called me, and I'm 75.) Among the items of information collected on people who contribute to political campaigns is "occupation". Occupation doesn't have to be reported unless the contribution is over $100, but sometimes it gets reported for smaller amounts. Of 63 people who gave their occupation in 2017, 4 were NONE and 59 were RETIRED. Here they are.


Total POAM/COAM contributions to candidates averaged $32,985 a year over the last 2 years. POAM alone claims to have 10,000 members. If, rather than preying on the elderly, members were asked to finance the PAC out of their own pockets, it would cost each of them about $3.30 a year to raise $32,985.




Michigan state police troopers and Detroit police officers are not members of POAM/COAM. They have their own PACs and - to their credit - they are financed by members, not the public.


Here on POAM's website is a list of member groups.


Both POAM and COAM seem to collect more contributions than they need. Together they are spending about $33,000 a year on contributions to political campaigns, while the ending balances for their PACs as of 10/20/2017 were $59,917.02 (POAM) and $56,749.26 (COAM). It is as if the main purpose of the PACs is to generate profits for Midwest Publishing. And this has been going on since 2005. Could it be that POAM/COAM leaders are getting kick-backs from Midwest Publishing? Here - from the POAM website - are the members of the Executive Board:



One thing remains a mystery to me. Where do they get the phone numbers of all the people they call?


More info on Midwest Publishing.


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