State fines labor union for campaign finance violations

In what is the second-largest fine of its kind, the Service Employees International Union will pay $199,000 in penalties after the Michigan Department of State found there may have been campaign finance violations, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced.

The penalties are part of a conciliation agreement reached by the department with Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care and Home Care First, Inc., related to a 2012 ballot question to amend the state Constitution.

Violations included commingling of funds; late filings; not identifying all accounts used; and not providing complete or accurate campaign statements. When combined with late filing fees already paid, they will have paid more than $205,000 in fines.

“Michigan law requires all organizations, including 501(c)4 nonprofit corporations, to file complete campaign finance reports when spending directly in support of a ballot question,” Johnson said. “These organizations cannot be used as a means to conceal the identity of the true contributors. This agreement reflects our commitment to transparency and accountability in the campaign finance process, especially in an election year.”