Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Freep hosts chat with City Council candidates

The Detroit Free Press hosted an on-line chat with John K. Bennett and Gabe Leland, the two candidates who hope to represent the Warrendale area on the City Council, yesterday afternoon. This moderated event allowed ordinary Detroiters to ask the candidates any question they wanted in advance of the upcoming election. A full transcript of of the event is available here.

There were several individuals who asked Leland about what contributions he received from the insurance industry. Those questioners implied, or in some cases outright stated, that his integrity was compromised by those contributions and that Detroiters suffered as a result.

Since this issue is likely percolating outside of internet forums as well, I wanted to take a moment to address it with some facts. All of Leland's campaign finance reports are available on-line here. More importantly, they have been available on-line for years. All anyone who wants to know about what Leland got from the insurance has to do is look it up.

For the record, Leland received a total of 532 contributions during his tenure in the Michigan House of Representatives. The only campaign contribution he got from anyone related to the auto insurance industry was a $500 contribution he received on October 13, 2006 from the Insurance and Financial Advisers PAC, which is a group that includes insurance agents among its members. He did not receive any money at all of from any company that sells auto insurance, any insurance executives, nor from the Insurance Institute of Michigan, which is trade group that does almost all of the lobbying for insurance companies.

This is one of the lowest amounts any member of the Michigan Legislature has ever received, let alone a three-term legislator. More importantly, his voting record in the Michigan House of Representatives was about as pro-consumer as anyone gets.

Suffice it to say, the record is quite clear that Leland was anything but compromised by insurance industry lobbyists. Those who suggest otherwise aren't just wrong, they're just plain sad.

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