Bieda Files Complaint with Federal Election Commission Against Phil Hart Democratic Club
WARREN, MI — State Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) today filed a complaint with Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Mount Clemens-based Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, which is affiliated with the Michigan Democratic Party.
Bieda is a candidate for the open Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds position. The Philip A. Hart Democratic Club has been heavily involved in the race, paying for two factually inaccurate hit pieces against Bieda, a fellow Democrat who has represented Macomb County for almost 14 years in the Michigan Legislature and was named “Michigan Democrat of the Year” in 2017 by MIRS News. The Philip A. Hart Club has also paid for four positive newspaper and mail advertisements for another County Clerk candidate, Fred Miller.
The Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, which is a federal political action committee (PAC), is regulated by the FEC and is required to file monthly reports detailing all expenditures and contributions. In the club’s past three monthly reports with the FEC, there is no spending reported in the Macomb County Clerk’s race, a violation of federal election law.
“I’ve long fought for transparency in government and the Phil Hart Democratic Club’s illegal and secretive tactics demonstrate why we need comprehensive campaign finance reform in Michigan,” said Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren).
In addition, the Phil Hart Club operates a Michigan state bingo license issued under the Traxler-McCauley-Law-Bowman Bingo Act. The PAC is now being investigated by the State Lottery Bureau to ensure that expenditures and contributions are again being recorded properly.
The Michigan Lottery Bureau suspended the bingo license of the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club in 2016. The club was also placed on probation in 2014. Crain’s Detroit Business reported that “reasons for suspensions included shortages in proceeds, calculation errors, and incomplete worker pay records, among others.”
“As a State Representative, I authored a bill requiring politicians to disclose donors to their legal slush funds. It’s ironic that now that I’m running for Clerk, I’m fighting against a similar organization, the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club. My opponent, Fred Miller, won’t even admit if he’s a member. Voters have a right to know who’s sending them information. If I believe in something, I put my name on it,” said Sen. Steve Bieda.
Bieda, a longtime attorney with a specialty in tax law, won legislation in 2008 requiring politicians to disclose donors for their legal defense funds, following former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s corruption scandal. Bieda has also been a leader on campaign finance reform and has fought back against Republican legislation weakening the Michigan Campaign Finance Act and government transparency.