While it’s impossible to tell the frequency of situations like the one that occurred Wednesday with Schuitmaker, it’s clear that in 2015, state lawmakers held hundreds of fundraisers with the majority of them taking place within walking distance of the Capitol on legislative session days.The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) analyzed disclosures for state officeholders’ candidate committees and political action committees (PACs) and found that there were at least 315 fundraisers held in 2015 — an off-year with no regularly scheduled elections.Of those 315 fundraisers, 170 of them — 54 percent — occurred in Lansing on days when at least the House was scheduled to be in session. Documented fundraisers were held on 82 of those days — about 80 percent.
Not only are legislative session days popular days for fundraisers but locations within walking distance of the Capitol and committee meeting rooms are also popular. Henry Vaupel (R-Troy) and Schuitmaker were all scheduled to hold events near the Capitol during the day, according to the schedule.This set-up allows lawmakers who are raising money and lobbyists who are donating money to quickly move from their fundraisers to their legislative appointments. The events for Knollenberg and Gay-Dagnogo were scheduled to take place inside a conference room maintained by Karoub Associates, a multi-client lobbying firm.For instance, this week on Wednesday, four different lawmakers were scheduled to hold fundraisers within two blocks of the Capitol building, according to a schedule viewed by MCFN. The firm’s “Governors Room” is located within the same block as the Farnum Building, which houses the Senate offices. on a Wednesday morning in downtown Lansing, and the most popular doughnut shop in walking distance of the State Capitol is closed for a private party.The event that’s closed Glazed and Confused on this April morning is a fundraiser for State Sen. Inside, Schuitmaker can be seen mingling with lobbyists and fellow lawmakers.
At about a.m., Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) joins the festivities.
According to a notice for the event that was spread among lobbyists and also a sign posted outside the doughnut shop, the fundraiser is scheduled to run from a.m. There’s a bit of a problem, however, because Schuitmaker is due at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee at 8 a.m.
So at about that time, a.m., Schuitmaker walks out of her fundraiser, which continued without her, and walks toward the committee hearing a block away.
During the journey, she happens to cross paths with Sen.
Goeff Hansen (R-Hart), who was heading toward her fundraising event.
From the porch of another downtown eatery, Hansen can be heard asking Schuitmaker, “Did I miss it? That's despite the fact that she had legislative business to attend to.