Michigan Senate leader Mike Shirkey accused of funneling campaign money into other orgs

Michigan Senate GOP leader Mike Shirkey is accused of funneling money for the UnLock Michigan ballot proposal into other organizations.

Longtime political insider Robert LaBrant filed an 11-page complaint with the state election bureau in which he accused Shirkey of violating the state campaign finance law. In the filing LaBrant alleges that the "Shirkey scheme involved the illegal use of dark money on a scale never before seen."

Dark money contributions do not have to be reported to the state and contributors names are not filed either.

Secretary of State elections director Jonathon Brader investigated the complaints and determined there was a violation, and asked the defendants to enter a conciliatory agreement, but the state says the parties "refused to participate."

The Secretary of State's office has now referred the allegations to Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

A spokesperson for Shirkey dismisses the charges "as baseless accusations" and we "have all times complied with Michigan campaign finance laws."

The attorney involved in the case blames Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson of putting politics "ahead of the law," and adds there is "no reason at all" to believe there are any violations.

Supporters of Shirkey contend that similar allegations in the past have been dismissed.