These Michigan donors gave the most to President Biden's inauguration

View Comments

Lansing — Four of Michigan's largest companies chipped in at least $250,000 each to support President Joe Biden's inauguration in January, according to newly released disclosures.

The Democrat's inaugural committee, PIC 2021, which funded the festivities, reported on Tuesday that it had raised $61.8 million in contributions overall since Nov. 25. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer served as one of the co-chairs for the organization.

Of the fundraising haul, about $2.3 million came from donors who listed Michigan addresses. However, the wide majority of the Michigan total arrived from four companies.

Joe Biden waves after being sworn in as the 46th US President  during his inauguration on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

The top donor in the state was Detroit-based Rock Holdings, which gave $750,000. Rock Holdings is the parent company of mortgage lender Quicken Loans. Quicken Loansalso donated $750,000 to former President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2016.

In January, Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage, said after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol it was "more crucial than ever that we come together to demonstrate the ability to celebrate a centuries old tradition of the peaceful transfer of power."

Beyond the inauguration, Farner said the company would pause and review its political contributions.

"We all have a shared responsibility to work toward the ultimate goal of a better nation," Farner said.

Midland-based Dow Chemical gave $500,000 to Biden's inauguration, General Motors Co. gave $500,000 and Ford Motor Co. gave $250,000, according to the new disclosures. The disclosures show, however, that $250,000 was refunded to Dow Chemical.

All three also supported Trump's inauguration.

General Motors, Ford and Dow were among the corporate political action committees that suspended contributions to federal candidates in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Dow’s pause in giving applies to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Biden’s victory, and the suspension will remain in place for the full election cycle — two years for House members and up to six years for senators.

Ford is among the companies that have restarted PAC contributions after the pause, saying this month that it opted against a blanket ban on Republican lawmakers who voted against the election's certification.

"Ford condemns the violent actions that happened in January, which contradict the ideals of a free and fair election and a peaceful transition of power," the Dearborn automaker said in a statement.

"Moving forward, each Ford PAC contribution decision will be vetted through enhanced criteria that acknowledge a candidate’s ability to demonstrate public service consistent with building trust, acting with competence, integrity in serving others."

GM has not said when it will resume PAC giving, though it’s expected to do so sometime this year.

Unlike federal candidate campaign committees, the inauguration organization can accept contributions directly from corporations.

The top Michigan donor outside the four companies was Ralph Gerson, former board chairman of Guardian Industries Corp., who gave $100,000. The other Michigan donors listed gave less than $1,500 each, according to the filing.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 inauguration featured smaller in-person crowds than past events, and it also included a "virtual parade across America” and a COVID-19 memorial.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

View Comments