I couldn’t watch the World Series, the local news, or even show my two-year-old daughter the Gummy Bear Song on YouTube without seeing Attorney General Bill Schutte’s face. Schutte is the front man in an advertisement that urges us to vote no on Proposal 2, the ballot initiative that would guarantee collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution. Schutte says that “proposal 2 is about big special interest.” The advertisements are being paid for by Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT). PMT, which calls themselves a “grassroots organization,” had previously managed to skirt election law by showing only debt and no income on their campaign finance report. Their latest campaign finance report actually identifies some of their donors. In part, we found out what we expected. The DeVos family has contributed at least 1.75 million dollars and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has contributed over 7 million dollars to PMT. What was a little surprising though was that that billionaire Las Vegas casino magnates Sheldon & Miriam Adelson contributed 2 million dollars to the cause. PMT also managed to keep some of its big donors secret by taking 3.5 million from a group called MI Alliance for Business Growth. This group only exists to funnel secret money to PMT, or it is the first organization that has managed to fool Google. Lets get back to Bill Schutte though. Schutte is Michigan’s chief law enforcement officer, and we should take caution if he tells us to be weary of special interest. However, the advertisement he appears in is being paid for by big special interest (Chamber of Commerce), secretive special interest (MI Alliance for Business Growth), and what I would call “affluent interests” (Adelson and DeVos families). The power of such a combination may very well put the passage of Proposal 2 in jeopardy. Also in serous jeopardy is any chance that citizens of Michigan should see Bill Schutte as someone who is honest, ethical, or represents the voice of the majority of actual Michigan taxpayers.
Side Note: The President of PMT, Jared Rodriguez, donated $5.00 to the cause. Rodriguez also appears to be the registered agent of MI Alliance for Business Growth.