Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Tuesday resolved a campaign finance complaint against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, ruling the governor did not violate campaign finance laws.
The original complaint, filed by the Michigan Freedom Fund, alleged that Whitmer used threat of a recall to collect campaign donations beyond the established individual limits. However, no recall attempt materialized into a credible challenge, making the donations illegal.
Whitmer’s campaign collected as much as $250,000 from different donors, including Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
According to conservatives, Benson’s decision allows Whitmer to benefit from illegal actions.
“Today’s ruling by the Democratic Secretary of State is about winning her own election – not upholding the rule of law. Benson is encouraging partisans to file recalls in order to game the system and raise unlimited campaign funds,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund.
While Benson’s order does not require the governor to return the money to individuals, it does allow Whitmer’s campaign to release the funds to other campaign operations.
Instead of distributing the money to help other political figures win election to office, Sachs urged Whitmer to award the extra funds to charities in the state.
“Gretchen Whitmer made the biggest unethical campaign cash grab in Michigan history and even Jocelyn Benson says she’s not allowed to keep it,” Sachs continued. “Gretchen Whitmer has a choice. She can use the tainted millions of dollars to prop up every Democrat campaign by giving the funds to their state party, or Whitmer could do the right thing and donate the money to charities that will help Michiganders devastated by her lockdown orders and botched handling of the COVID pandemic.”
Whitmer’s campaign did not immediately respond to the challenge by Sachs.
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