Spending is a Shift Away from Standard Practice of Using a Foundation

Lansing, MI – Gretchen Whitmer is having the Governor’s Mansion driveway redone with new pavement and EV infrastructure to the tune of nearly $1 million, completely funded by taxpayers. Some may think using taxpayer dollars to cover this expense is standard practice, but this is abnormal – the Governor has access to a foundation funded by private donors specifically for this purpose, according to the Detroit Free Press:

“A nonprofit, the Michigan Governor’s Residence Foundation, has a stated purpose of easing the impact on taxpayers by raising donations “to restore, repair and refurbish the state-owned Lansing and Mackinac Island official residences of the governor,” according to documents filed with the IRS. The foundation last raised funds to pay for painting and furniture so Whitmer and her family could move into the home in 2019, but the board has not met in more than two years and possibly since before the pandemic, said Brian Huggler, who is listed as the foundation president on IRS records filed in 2021.”

The driveway was last redone around 2003 when Governor Jennifer Granholm used private donations almost exclusively to redevelop parts of the residence through a foundation. Former Governors Rick Snyder and John Engler used similar foundations during their tenures. 

“By using money from taxpayers instead of private donations, Governor Whitmer is shifting away from standard practices to use Michigan tax dollars for her own benefit,” said Mary Drabik, Communications Director for the Michigan Freedom Fund. “With the number of campaign donors and friends Whitmer has from California, New York, and Washington D.C., it’s hard to believe that no one would contribute to the Michigan Governor’s Residence Foundation to support this redevelopment. But why call your friends for help when you can rely on taxpayers to foot the bill?” 

The Michigan Freedom Fund will continue to cover the details of this story.