When state Senate Republicans announced that they were moving their offices to a new building in Lansing, red flags went up around the city. A bipartisan group asked Attorney General Bill Schuette to look into the $134 million project to ensure that nothing shady was going on. This was in light of at least one report that the state had drastically overpaid for the building.
Then, in the waning days of 2015, family members of the group that owns the building where the new offices will be, Boji Group, made a $14,000 donation to Schuette’s campaign war chest:
The 13 Watchdog team is taking a close look at political contributions made to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s candidate committee from a well-known donor in Lansing.
The contributions came in months after Republicans and Democrats asked for Schuette’s intervention in a deal made by the State Senate to move the offices of Senators in downtown Lansing.
Early in 2015, Senators agreed to move their officers from their current spot in the Farnum Building to a new, renovated home at Capitol View just down the street. Capitol View is located across the street from the state’s Capitol building.
Some have suggested the projected $64 million dollar deal over 30 years might balloon to as much as $130 million or more. Democrats called it the “Capitol View Boondoggle”. Others believe the Capitol View arrangement was the best option available for senators to have a more secure, convenient location.
Capitol View is owned by the Boji Group, headed by Ron Boji. […]
This week, the 13 Watchdog team followed the money and found Schuette has received close to $35,000 in direct and in-kind contributions from the owners of Capitol View, the Boji family. Nearly $14,000 dollars was contributed in late December of 2015.
The Michigan Democratic Party recently released a fact sheet that outlined the financial largesse of the Boji family when it comes to Michigan Republicans:
In recent years, the Boji family has contributed at least $110,000 to the Michigan Republican Party, at least $27,800 to Congressman Mike Bishop and his various political funds, nearly $35,000 to Bill Schuette, and at least $41,000 to Governor Rick Snyder and his political funds. Notably, the Michigan Senate Republican Campaign Committee, Senator Randy Richardville, and individual Republican senatorial candidates have received at least $72,600 in contributions from the Bojis in recent years.
This is the same sort of “pay to play” behavior that has been a continuing story in the Snyder administration. With Michigan at the bottom of the barrel in terms of government transparency, they probably think they can get away with it.
Let’s hope not.