GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Hank Meijer’s name was mistakenly left off a campaign finance report detailing a $150,000 donation — now the subject of a federal complaint — he made to a Republican super PAC supporting his son’s congressional campaign, a family spokesperson said Saturday.
“He made the donation with the full expectation that his name would be made public,” said John Truscott.
Meijer is the executive chairmen of the Meijer supercenter chain and the father of Peter Meijer, the Republican candidate challenging Democrat Hillary Scholten in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District race.
Hank Meijer’s donation to Congressional Leadership Fund, which works to elect Republican U.S. House candidates, came under scrutiny Friday.
The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission against Montcalm LLC, alleging that the LLC was created on Sept. 28 solely for the purpose of masking the identity of the individual behind its Oct. 8 donation.
Until last night, Montcalm LLC was the only name attached to the donation. Hank Meijer’s name was not included. The only information linking the LLC to the Meijer family was its address — 80 Ottawa Ave. NW, suite 101. That is the same address as The Meijer Foundation/Greenville Partners, LLC. The address has also been used by other members of the Meijer family when making political donations.
The Congressional Leadership Fund has since updated its FEC filing to show that Hank Meijer made the donation.
“We received and reported a contribution, and as soon as we got additional written information from the donor we amended our report as such,” Congressional Leadership Fund spokesperson Calvin Moore said in a statement.
The Campaign Legal Center’s complaint alleges that Montcalm LLC’s donation — before it was updated to include Hank Meijer’s name — violated federal campaign finance law because contributions cannot be “made by one person in the name of another person.”
Brendan Fischer, the organization’s attorney, said with the exception of its Sept. 28 articles of incorporation, there is no public record of Montcalm LLC.
Because of that, there’s no indication that the company was generating independent sources of revenue and was not “legitimately generating income that it could have used to finance the super PAC contribution,” he said.
On Friday, Meijer’s attorney, Mark Rizik, declined to comment when told about the complaint.
Truscott, on Saturday, said Rizik spoke with officials at Congressional Leadership Fund on Friday and learned that a staff member at the PAC “admitted she made a mistake because she didn’t think she had to include Hank’s name” on the FEC filing.
“The Congressional Leadership Fund always had the necessary information to fill out the report correctly, they just made a mistake in omitting some information,” Truscott said.
The Campaign Legal Center’s complaint points out that one day after Montcalm LLC made its $150,000 donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund, the group “began making independent expenditures in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional district opposing candidate Hillary Scholten, who is running against Peter Meijer.”
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