The combination of a $240,000 debt and a harsh fundraising environment for Republicans is expected to be the topic of debate this weekend, when the state GOP's budget and central committees meet in Lansing.
"Basically, we're close to a quarter of a million dollars in debt, and this should be a time we're raising money and not spending it," said Bill Beddoes of Allen Park, the party's 14th Congressional District chairman. "It's very disturbing."
They claim they have it covered, putting the blame on the "bad economy".
State GOP officials defend their financial decisions, saying the loans taken during 2007 for the party's main fund will be covered by money from a separate federal account with more liberal rules.
"I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary to have a cash flow issue in a bad economy and to resort to the contingency plans put in place to handle that," said party spokesman Bill Nowling.
But when the state has a "cash flow issue", we are obviously "living beyond our means". Do as we say, don't do as we do.
Apparently the party sugar daddies are slow coming up to the window this time around.
Republicans may be suffering from reliance on a handful of wealthy donors, said Rich Robinson, director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
"If there is disharmony in the party, that may affect things," Robinson said. "So much of their financial base is wrapped up in a very few people giving a very large amount of money."
In the 2006 cycle, he said, the state GOP raised $3.5 million from just 38 donors.
Decisions by just a few donors not to give, Robinson said, can badly dent the party finances. But it also means they can quickly bail the GOP out: Since 2003, seven individuals have written a check to the state GOP for $250,000 or more -- enough to cover the current debt -- according to Secretary of State records.
According to the GR Press (June 28, 2005) the DeVos and VanAndel families were responsible for half of the GOP's state money during the 2004 election cycle.
The report showed the DeVos family kicked in $2.2 million, which, combined with the Van Andel family's contribution of $1.1 million, makes up more than half the $6.3 million in receipts of the state party. Of the DeVos cash, $1 million came from Richard and Helen DeVos and a $950,000 loan that was repaid to Betsy and Dick DeVos.
That loan was made to bail the MI GOP out when they found themselves in debt before. Seems to be a reoccurring problem with Michigan Republicans, but not to worry, the wealthy few who bought the party will be along shortly to bail them out once again.