The Intercept: Michigan Governor Unleashes "Citizens United on Steroids"
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law this week a measure that, effective immediately, allows candidates to raise unlimited sums of money for super PACs, which can then promptly spend that money supporting those candidates — or attacking their rivals. It also allows consultants to simultaneously work for a campaign and a super PAC at the same time, making a joke of the supposed independence of the two groups.
Watchdogs say the Michigan law ignores Citizens United’s emphasis on independence. Not only does the new Michigan law allow candidates to rake in unlimited amounts of money for super PACs, eschewing the meager federal limit, it also allows a candidate’s consultants, vendors, and attorneys to simultaneously work for a super PAC, so long as that person doesn’t pass strategic information between the two. That’s impractical though, since political consultants or ad buyers can’t simply forget what they know about a campaign’s internal strategies.
In reality, critics say the law sends a clear message to potential donors that an aligned super PAC is the candidate’s in all but name and that their money will be put to good use for the candidate. “It really does make a mockery of the concept of independence,” Larry Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told The Intercept.