Billboards and other advertising for and against the city charter revision known as Proposal P have been plentiful around Detroit this summer, as Election Day looms tomorrow. And campaign finance reports show few surprises in who is paying for them.
The anti-Proposal P forces are primarily corporate entities, a law firm and, perhaps surprisingly, a popular bar. Ads supporting the charter revision are funded by a labor union and another law firm.
The opposition groupunder the "Committee to Protect Detroit's Future" in campaign finance records received substantial funding from companies such as DTE Energy, donating $50,000 and $25,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Both companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment last week.
Other donors to the anti-proposal campaign who gave between $2,500 and $5,000 include the Allen Law Group, Mechanical Contractors Association of Detroit and Anchor Bar, campaign finance records show. Of those funds, $30,000 were spent on consulting fees and literature distribution, records show.
Simon Schuster, director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, said ballot committees were required to file by Friday, July 23 and could be fined for late reporting. The supporting group "Yes on Peoples Charter Committee" filed on Sunday. Campaign finance records show the committee received $150,000 from Laborers Local 1191 Construction Worker Independent Education Committee, as well as two loans totaling $8,335 from Miller Cohen PL.
Proposal P is generally opposed by the city administration, which contends the changes it would require would push Detroit back into bankruptcy, endangering pensions and the progress the city has made since restructuring. Supporters claim it will foster a fairer and more equitable city. The cost estimates made by both sides reflect these positions: Opponents claim Proposal P would cost Detroit $2 billion, while supporters say the true price is about $7 million per year.