Congressional candidates' records exposed

- The 10 candidates seeking to replace Rep. David Trott in Michigan’s 11th congressional district will spend millions telling you how great they are.

So I assembled a news team to find out what the candidates don’t want you to know. The investigation found a super drunk driver, a disastrous business deal and potential conflicts of interest

For two months, reporters for Fox 2 News, Detroit Public Radio (WDET, 101.9 FM), the Lansing-based Gongwer News Service and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (mcfn.org) scrutinized the five Republicans and five Democrats vying to replace Trott. 

Trott, a Republican, set off two hotly contested primary races when he decided not to seek a third term representing chunks of Oakland and Wayne counties in Congress. 

The district is considered a swing district and the outcome of the general election could help determine which political party has control of Congress next year.

With so much on the line, the reporters came together with a simple mission: Provide voters with as much information as possible - with an emphasis on providing voters the kind of information about the candidates that candidates typically leave out of their campaign commercials or literature.

The reporters ran the candidates through about two dozen filters, checking to see if they, and in some cases, their companies, popped up in local, state and federal public records. The reporters traveled to courthouses in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, as well as examining property records and the meeting minutes of state boards.

What they found were candidates with potential conflicts of interest, a multi-million dollar business deal gone sour, embellished resumes, fundraising efforts that collected a million bucks for races that were never run, and boasts about public service that did not match up with the public record.

The candidates were given a chance to respond to the reporters’ findings. The reporters also included information on the candidates’ key issues - as well as matters they oppose.

To see what we found, watch my latest exclusive Problem Solvers investigation. CLICK here for the Michigan Political Almanac, where you can learn more about every candidate running for office in Michigan this year.

Contact M.L. Elrick at ml.elrick@foxtv.com or 248-552-5261. Follow him on Facebook at "ML Elrick," on Twitter @elrick or on Instagram at "ml_elrick." 

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