Larry Owen's Bid for Ingham County Judgeship Raises Questions About Past Fundraising Practices, Says Michigan Chamber

PRNewswire
LANSING, Mich.
Mar 9, 2004

Most teenagers use their savings for their first car, a Florida trip for spring break, or future college expenses, but not Eric Hughey. This East Lansing student contributed $3,200 in November, 2003, to Larry Owen's gubernatorial committee five years after Owen's unsuccessful 1998 campaign, observed the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Larry Owen, who is selling his $1.785 million home in Clinton County, in order to move into Ingham County to run for Circuit Court Judge still has over $31,000 in debts from his unsuccessful 1998 gubernatorial campaign. In addition, Owen has a 26-year-old debt of more than $24,000 from his unsuccessful 1978 State Senate campaign in campaign finance reports filed earlier this year with the Secretary of State.

Eric Hughey is not the only person in the Hughey family to "max out" to Larry Owen's gubernatorial committee last year, noted Robert LaBrant, Senior Vice President at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. "Hughey's sister Jennifer, an MSU college student, found enough in disposal income to contribute $3,200 in March, 2003, to the Owen gubernatorial committee."

"In 2002, retirees Phyllis and Donald Hughey each contributed $700 to the Owen Committee," LaBrant added. "In 2001, Phyllis and Donald Hughey contributed $900 each to the Owen Committee. In 2000 Phyllis and Donald Hughey each contributed still another $3,200 to the Owen Committee."

"As a candidate for judge, and as an attorney, Larry Owen no doubt is aware that the Michigan Campaign Finance Act prohibits a person from making a contribution to another person with the agreement or arrangement that the person receiving the contribution will then transfer that contribution to a particular candidate committee [MCL 169.244(1)]," observed LaBrant.

"Larry Owen has long been credited as one of Michigan's top political fund-raisers. During these past four years (2000-2003), Owen has further reinforced that reputation. Who else could coax two retires, a medical assistant, a retail salesman, a nurse, and even two students to max-out ($3,400 or more) from their own personal funds for a failed gubernatorial campaign. It must be charisma," concluded LaBrant.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is a statewide business organization which represents more than 6,300 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce. The Michigan Chamber was established in 1959 to be an advocate for Michigan's job providers in the legislative, political and legal process.

                   Owen for Governor (Account #506769)
                     Post 1998 Election Contributors

                                      1999    Occupation
  Mark Brewer                         $200    Attorney
  Edward Bruley                       $200    Congressional Aide
  Phil Hart Democratic Club           $700
  Martha Sowerby                      $100
  United Steel Workers PAC            $500
  Local 271 BEW PAC                 $1,000
  Christine Koch                      $100

                                    $2,800

                                      2000
  Phyllis Hughey                    $3,200    Retired
  Donald Hughey                     $3,200    Retired
  Kenda Deschermeier                $1,700    Medical Assistant
  Carla Zlowton                     $1,700    Nurse

                                    $9,800

                                      2001
  Phyllis Hughey                      $900    Retired
  Donald Hughey                       $900    Retired

                                    $1,800

                                      2002
  Phyllis Hughey                      $700    Retired
  Donald Hughey                       $700    Retired
  Kenda Deschermeier                $1,600    Medical Assistant
  Carla Zlowton                     $1,600    Nurse

                                    $4,600

                                      2003
  Jennifer Hughey                   $3,200    Student
  Eric Hughey                       $3,200    Student
  Michael Deschermeier              $3,000    Salesman
  Eric Ross                         $1,500    State Employee

                                   $10,900

SOURCE: Michigan Chamber of Commerce

CONTACT: Robert LaBrant, Senior V.P., Political Affairs & General
Counsel of Michigan Chamber of Commerce, +1-517-371-7653

Web site: http://www.michamber.com/


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