Michigan Bankers' Political Action Group Targets Fall Elections
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. -- Armed with more than $100,000 raised by its political action committee, the Michigan Bankers Association will become involved actively in the state elections this November.
This disclosure was made by Daniel R. Smith, the outgoing president of the bankers association, at its 100th annual convention. He said the group, which represents all of the 370 banks in Michigan, is now the fourth or fifth largest political action committee in the state.
In an interview, Mr. Smith said that in addition to the association's political kitty, there are individual Michigan banks, mostly centered in the metropolitan Detroit area, with a combined total of about $50,000 that can be used for campaign contributions. However, he said, most of this money will be used for candidates running in local elections.
Mr. Smith, who is also the chairman and chief executive of the First of America Bank Corp., Kalamazoo, said the bankers association has not decided yet which candidates to support. He conceded, however, that "more than half" probably will be members of the Republican Party.
"We've come to recognize the importance of the legislative process to the future of our industry," Mr. Smith said. "The bottom line is that in America, political contributions are one of the ways you get access to the people who make legislative decisions."
In his address to the convention, Mr. Smith said he was pleased that Michigan voters repeatedly have "shown the wisdom of splitting the House, Senate, and governor's office between Democrats and Republicans."
By denying either party total control of the state's legislative machinery, Mr. Smith said, there has been some "wise opposition to frequent harebrained ideas that might not be possible if one or the other party" dominated the capital.
For example, Mr. Smith said, a recent bill proposed that every bank wishing to sell repossessed cars be required to obtain a used-car dealer's license. Although the bill did not go through, he …