Attack calls funded by murky group using ‘dark money’ to influence elections
NORTHPORT — Dan Scripps, the Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 101st House District, spoke out today against the role dark money continues to play in Michigan’s elections. The criticism comes in response to a series of candidate-specific robo-calls released throughout the state, targeting highly contested House races, including the one in the 101st District. The calls were funded by an organization known as the Better Michigan Fund.
“It’s understandable that trust in government is at a record low when dirty tactics like these are used to sway an election,” Scripps said. “The Better Michigan Fund takes money from undisclosed donors and uses it to try and influence the outcome of our election. If they are successful in installing Curt VanderWall in office, he’ll be beholden to them — but the voters won’t know who they are, or what their agenda is.”
Michigan currently ranks dead last in the country for transparency in government, and a large factor in that ranking is the saturation of “dark money,” or money given anonymously to political funds which are not required to disclose their donors, in its campaign cycles. Better Michigan Fund isn’t registered with the Michigan Secretary of State and has no public filings with the IRS or the Federal Election Commission, meaning it is impossible to know exactly where they’re drawing their money from.
When serving the 101st District as a state representative in 2010, Scripps introduced House Bill 6183 that would have reduced the influence of dark money in campaigns. Approximately 75 percent of VanderWall’s campaign funding comes from special interests, donors outside the district and dark money, while two-thirds of Scripps’ donations come from within the district.
“People deserve leaders they can trust,” Scripps said. “If Curt VanderWall can’t even denounce the use of dark money in this campaign, how can we trust him to do what’s right once he gets to Lansing? I urge my opponent to speak out against the use of dark money to buy elections and to condemn the Better Michigan Fund’s attempt to buy our election.”