Senate Bill 788 Would Force Politicians To Refund Inappropriate Donations, Not Send Them To A Political Party

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Senate Elections Committee today voted to close ‘loopholes’ used by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to allow her friend, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to raise millions of dollars in inappropriate and unethical campaign contributions far beyond the legal limit imposed on other candidates for governor. 

“Gretchen Whitmer made the biggest unethical campaign cash grab in Michigan history and Jocelyn Benson ignored state law to let Whitmer launder millions of dollars to the Michigan Democrat Party where the money is already being used to support Whitmer, Benson, and other Democrat politicians,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund.  “The Democrat Secretary of State bent over backwards to find loopholes and new interpretations of settled law to benefit her own re-election campaign and Governor Whitmer’s to the tune of millions in inappropriate campaign cash. We’re grateful Senator Runestad and his colleagues are fighting back to prevent politicians like Whitmer and Benson from making end runs around state law.”

Last year, Whitmer raised millions of dollars in excess of the state’s campaign finance laws and limits by misleadingly claiming she was fighting a recall campaign, while no active recall campaign was ever undertaken against her.

The Michigan Freedom Fund executive director Tori Sachs in July filed a formal campaign finance complaint against Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign committee for the brazenly illegal fundraising scheme. 

In December, Benson issued a ruling ignoring state law and allowing Whitmer to “disgorge” $3.5 million in campaign contributions gathered above the legal limit to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, more commonly known as the Michigan Democrat Party.

SB 788, introduced by State Senator Jim Runestad, would force such inappropriate contributions to be returned to donors, which is the current common practice the Secretary of State usually requires, not laundered into a campaign slush fund.The Michigan Freedom filed a formal request for a declaratory ruling from Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over campaign finance rules she’s citing – or ignoring – to allow her friend, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to launder millions of dollars in inappropriate campaign contributions to campaign accounts that are now benefiting both Benson and Whitmer’s re-election campaigns. Benson has yet to issue a declaratory ruling.The Michigan Freedom Fund works to advance conservative ideas, hold our government accountable to taxpayers, and protect Freedom, opportunity, and workers’ Constitutional rights. For more information, please visit