In the fourth quarter of 2015, Michigan Republicans received a whopping 50% of their campaign contributions from members of the DeVos family. Four vulnerable Republican House members, Holly Hughes, Brandt Iden, Tom Barrett, and John Bizon all received $9,000 each for a total of $36,000 which is nearly the median income for Michigan residents according to analysis done by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In fact, these rich individuals, in their effort to purchase the best state legislature money can buy, gave 75% of the median Michigan family income in just a single quarter.
On top of that, DeVos family members also dropped another $340,000 on the House Republican caucus’s PAC bringing the total to $376,000, exactly half of the campaign contributions received by ALL House Republicans in Michigan in the fourth quarter.
My sources tell me that the DeVos’s conditioned their Q4 contributions on the passage of four key pieces of legislation: the atrocious road funding plan that lets wealthy individuals and corporations off the hook entirely, a 3rd grade reading bill (not yet passed), the elimination of straight ticket voting, and the odious Senate Bill 571 which Gov. Snyder signed into law in early January (which, by the way, doubled the amount of money PACs can give to lawmakers for the second time in as many years, effective quadrupling the limit since 2013.) With the passage of three out of these four priority laws, the Devos family got out their checkbooks to reward their compliant minions in the state House.
This isn’t democracy. This is corporatocracy. This is the purchasing of a corporate-friendly state legislature by fewer than ten wealthy individuals from a single family. Even if you’re a Republican it surely must bother you to know that your vote and your voice is overwhelmed by the financial largesse of just a small handful of DeVos family members.
One wonders how Michigan Republicans can look themselves in the mirror each morning knowing they were willing participants in the destruction of democracy in the Great Lakes State. Their predecessors who founded the GOP right here in Michigan are surely rolling over in their graves at this un-American travesty.
And we’ve seen the havoc corporatist policies they have passed have wreaked on Michigan. Flint’s water is poisoned. Detroit schools and schools in other aging urban areas are bankrupt underfunded with teachers attempting to educate children in what can only be described as a scandalously deplorable environment. Workers’ rights have been severely diminished year after year. Women’s rights have been trod upon again and again and again. The list is long and tragic and does not reflect the values of most Michiganders.
These horrendous results of corporate spending in elections gone wild will be the legacy of the DeVos family. I’m sure they’re so proud.