Gilbert Bills’ Highlight Importance of Following the Money in Michigan Politics

Jake Neher/WDET

Developers in Michigan who build on undesirable land are getting big tax breaks.

That’s after lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder approved those incentives earlier this year.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about how Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, and his associates started spending a lot more money at the state Capitol around the time those bills were passed.

We’re talking millions of dollars in tax incentives for developers,” says Roth. “Quicken Loans affiliates this past year really ramped up their giving to different lawmakers.”

Neher and Roth also invite Michigan Campaign Finance Network Director Craig Mauger into the conversation. Mauger and Roth have partnered up to report on this story over the last several months.

Mauger says money and politics are inextricably linked in Michigan. But there’s no hard evidence in this case that any quid pro quo exists to show lawmakers promised to approve the bills in return for Gilbert’s campaign contributions.

There is no indication and nothing pointing to that happening in this case,” says Mauger. “In this case, what we’re looking at is a group that really amped up its lobbying efforts to try to help get some bills through the Legislature, which is not completely abnormal.”

Click here to read more about Roth and Mauger’s reporting on this issue.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

This post is a part of MichMash.

Each week, WDET's Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth un-jumble Michigan issues and talk about how statewide news stories affect you. 

About the Author

Jake Neher

Detroit Today - Producer & Special Projects Reporter

Jake Neher is a producer & reporter for Detroit Today   Follow @GJNeher

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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