LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Renowned movie director Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, are among the couple dozen individual contributors who gave the maximum $7,150 individual donation to both Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel, according to campaign finance disclosures released Thursday.
Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 5, Benson raised $2.1 million and Nessel $1.6 million as the two ready for the official Democratic Party nomination later this month and run for their second terms.
Spielberg previously maxed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well. Other notables maxed out to Nessel and Benson include New York Broadway director Edward Snowdon, not the internationally known whistleblower, and New York billionaire Dirk Ziff, who also gave to Whitmer.
Benson had 46 checks of $7,150. Of them, 12 came from someone with a Michigan address. Nessel got a $7,150 check from Monica Rosenthal, formerly Monica Horan, who had a role in Everybody Loves Raymond. In all, Nessel received 31 individual $7,150 checks. Of them, nine came from someone with a Michigan address.
Overall, 18,000 donors gave to Benson this year, 90% of whom gave $100 or less, according to a pre-convention report filed with the Bureau of Elections. For the election cycle, the incumbent Secretary of State has raised $3.8 million.
Benson has held 15 fundraisers since March, with the largest being a reception in Southfield that raised more than $55,000. The campaign spent $319,334 since Jan. 1 with most of the money going toward consulting fees and research. The campaign has spent $578,700 overall.
The campaign has no debt and more than $3.2 million on hand going into the general election.
The Michigan Democratic State Central Committee gave her campaign $100,000. SEIU Michigan State Council gave $71,500. The IVote Fund gave $64,350. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters gave $35,000. Emily’s List Michigan gave $25,000, the Michigan Education Association PAC gave $20,000, and Rock Holdings Inc. State PAC gave $10,000.
Benson, Nessel, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, two Michigan Supreme Court Justices and candidates for the three major university boards filed their pre-convention campaign finance reports in advance of the party’s Aug. 20-21 nominating convention at the Lansing Center. All of the aforementioned candidates received the party’s endorsement at an earlier convention.
“As Election Day draws closer, voters are recognizing that the stakes are high in the election for secretary of state,” said Benson campaign spokesperson Liz Boyd. “They know that Secretary Benson has delivered on her promise to make it easier to do business with the Secretary of State’s Office, and she will fight to ensure elections are secure and accessible to every Michigan voter – be they a Republican, Democrat or Independent.”
Nessel raised just shy of $1.6 million for the period and more than $3.7 million overall. She has accepted $4,245 of in-kind contributions and $24,564 overall.
Most of the money she has raised has come from SEIU Michigan State Council, at $71,500, AFSCME, at $51,500, the UAW PAC, at $30,000, Emily’s List, at $25,000, The Michigan Education Association PAC, at $20,000, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, at $15,000, and the Michigan Association for Justice, at $10,000. Other unions also donated smaller amounts to her campaign.
Her campaign has spent $624,278 on surveys, yard signs and consulting with $25,000 from the campaign for social media and television ads.
“Matt DePerno has spent almost two years talking about his extremist stances on a variety of issues, and we think Michigan voters deserve to hear about those views in his own words,” said Nessel campaign spokesperson Sarah Stevenson. “Now, they can visit whoismattdeperno.com and find out exactly where he stands on issues such as abortion rights and election integrity, or his approach to professional ethics.”
Overall, the campaign has spent slightly less than $1.2 million. The campaign has more than $2.5 million on hand.
Gilchrist did not raise anything for the period, but overall has raised and spent $10,000. He had nothing on hand and no debt.
Kyra Bolden, who is running for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court, raised $443,411 and has seen $35,833 of in-kind contributions come in.
Most of her money has come from the Michigan Association for Justice, AFSCME, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. Bolden’s campaign has spent $54,845 on a campaign video, yard signs, fundraising and public relations.
With no debt, the campaign has $388,481 in the bank.
Justice Richard Bernstein, also running for re-election to the Michigan Supreme Court, raised $364,109 and $414,109 overall.
The Michigan Association for Justice PAC has given his campaign more than $30,000 and 22 people who gave $7,150, including family members Mark Bernstein, Samuel Bernstein and Beth Bernstein Miller.
He has held six fundraisers in June and July to raise nearly $150,000.
Bernstein’s campaign has accepted $115,784, mostly from himself or the Michigan Association for Justice PAC, for non-monetary donations and $135,501 overall.
The campaign is carrying no debt and has $278,609 at its disposal.
University of Michigan Regent Kathy White raised $1,520 and $30,523 overall. Much of the money has come from an attorney in California.
Her campaign has spent $3,556 on advertisements in the Ann Arbor Observer and $22,132 overall.
She has $43,349 on hand.
Michigan State University Trustee Renee Jefferson raised $25,080 prior to the convention, and received $1,665 of in-kind donations. The campaign has spent $3,396, mainly on printing, shipping, and processing fees. Jefferson also paid back a $500 loan to herself.
They have $21,684 left on hand.
Danielle Atkinson, who is running to be a governor on the board at Wayne State University, raised $1,231 and has spent $731 for printing services.
She has put in $731 of her own money and Michigan State AFL-CIO has given $500, which is the amount she has on hand.
Nominated members of the Michigan Republican Party, including DePerno and Kristina Karamo, will have to file campaign finance reports by Aug. 16, before the nominating convention on Aug. 27 at the Lansing Center.