POLITICS
07/24/2014 02:43 pm ET | Updated Jul 24, 2014

Michigan Dems File Complaints Regarding GOP Contender's Campaign Contributions

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Michigan Democratic Party filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the State of Michigan on Thursday over some questionable contributions made to GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land's campaign.

The FEC complaint revolves around the legality of a $2.9 million contribution Land made to her own Senate campaign.

The complaint with the State of Michigan focuses on 15 donations she made to her 2002 campaign for secretary of state. Her husband, Daniel Hibma, was the treasurer of that campaign and also owner of the family business, Land & Co.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson said in a press release that “since Terri Lynn Land refuses to answer questions about her controversial and potentially illegal Land & Co. finances, the only way for Michiganders to know the truth is through investigations by the State of Michigan and Federal Election Commission.”

"As a former top elections official, Ms. Land should know better, but as a candidate to replace Carl Levin, she should be following the basic letter of the law that's required," he added. "Sadly, Ms. Land doesn't think the rules apply to her so we are left with no choice than to pursue a full accounting and investigation of her finances at the state and federal level. Every day she continues to hide the truth about her finances and business experience for Land & Co. is another day that Michiganders can't trust her to follow the laws on the books."

These complaints come not long after a Detroit Free Press report questioned how Land contributed $2.9 million to her campaign, when she did not have that much money listed in her federal financial disclosure form.

Land's campaign said her omission of money from a joint account with her husband was an unintentional oversight, though that raises questions as to whether a transfer of $2.9 million from Hibma exceeded campaign contribution limits. Land's campaign corrected the error on Thursday. Even with the update, however, Land has only about $1.5 million under her control, so the legality of the $2.9 million contribution remains in question.

This isn't the first time money has cast a negative shadow over Land's campaign. In 2012 and 2013, Land paid less than 3 percent of her income in federal taxes due in large part to claiming hefty charitable deductions. Land has also said that she thinks allowing dark money to infiltrate campaign coffers is "the American way."

HuffPost Pollster, which combines all publicly available polling data, has Land trailing her Democratic opponent, Rep. Gary Peters, ahead of the November general election:

This story has been updated to note that Land's campaign said Thursday it corrected an error regarding a joint account.

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