AG Schuette raises $116K but can’t seek re-election

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

The headline of this article has been corrected to reflect the amount collected this year at fundraisers.

Lansing — Attorney General Bill Schuette has collected about $116,000 in campaign contributions this year at five different fundraisers, even though he’s constitutionally barred from seeking re-election to his current post.

Schuette’s off-year fundraising after winning re-election in 2014 is likely to fuel speculation that he’s laying the groundwork for a 2018 run for governor.

The Midland Republican’s first fundraiser of the year was held in February in Washington, D.C., followed by four barbecue fundraisers he has held since May 26 with supporters in Marquette, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Hanover. A “Southeast Michigan Barbeque” is planned for Sept. 10 in Bloomfield Hills, according to the Schuette campaign.

Some elected officials raise money in their final term in office to pay off past election debts.

But it doesn’t appear to be the case for Schuette, who had $162,623 in cash on hand at the end of November.

Schuette has spent about $152,752 since Nov. 25, largely paying campaign staff, contractors and caterers for the barbecues, according to a quarterly spending report filed Monday.

The fundraising this year has left Schuette’s campaign committee with $125,911 in cash on hand.

“Like other officeholders, Attorney General Schuette follows the letter of the law, ensuring that certain expenses resulting from holding office are not paid for by taxpayers, and does it in a transparent fashion,” Schuette spokesman John Sellek said in an email Tuesday.

Schuette’s 2015 fundraising far outpaces the scant contributions collected by Michigan’s other statewide officials.

Like Schuette, fellow Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited after winning re-election last fall.

Snyder’s campaign reported raising $485 over the eight months. Snyder’s campaign committee spent $219,602 during the period, largely on expenses related to his re-election campaign. He had $77,830 in cash on hand as of July 20, according to a report.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who also is term-limited, received $4,590 in donations to her campaign, leaving her with $28,538 cash on hand.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is seen as a possible 2018 gubernatorial candidate, raised no money for his campaign committee but had $30,675 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

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