MICHIGAN (WJRT) -
(07/29/14) - We are one week from primary election day, and the money continues to flow into one race in particular.
You've seen plenty of ads on ABC12 for the race, which features Paul Mitchell and John Moolenaar.
Mitchell's opponents accuse him of attempting to buy the election, and those accusations aren't likely to go away with word that he has loaned his own campaign even more money.
Mitchell is a part owner and former CEO of Ross Medical Schools. He has made a lot of money and he is spending some of that fortune to become a U.S. Representative.
The ads have been running pretty much non-stop over the past week - Mitchell attacking State Senator Moolenaar, Moolenaar doing the same to Mitchell.
A recent EPIC-MRA poll showed Mitchell, a relative newcomer in the political world, with a big lead over Moolenaar and a third candidate - Peter Konetchy. All seek the Republican nomination for the Congressional seat now held by Dave Camp.
Moolenaar has more individual donors and endorsements, while Mitchell has one main donor - himself. A mid-July campaign finance report showed Mitchell loaned his campaign $1.9 million. New filings indicate he has loaned himself another $1.5 million, $3.4 million total, far outspending Moolenaar and Konetchy.
"I think he's free to spend his money however he chooses to spend his money, the question is, how did he make the money, and was it at taxpayers dollars, and he is using taxpayers to fund his campaign," Moolenaar said.
Moolenaar's campaign claims Ross Medical School benefited from federal stimulus money. Mitchell fires back that Moolenaar voted to accept federal stimulus money for the state.
Mitchell's campaign has declined several candidate interview requests over the past week and a spokesperson says an interview is not likely before the election. Campaign manager Jeff Timmer did respond by email to our questions about the criticism Mitchell has received for his attempt to buy the election. In part, he says special interest groups and political action committees are bankrolling Moolenaar's campaign, and, "We have no idea where hundreds of thousands of those dollars are coming from."
"He is putting all this money from his own pocket, he is literally just trying to buy the election," Konetchy said.
Konetchy, running a distant third in the polls, says Mitchell is just loaning the money to his campaign and eventually, he'll want to get that money back.
"If he is elected, what he is going to do is he is going to replenish his campaign through, in all likelihood, lobbyists or others that are looking for his attention," Konetchy said.
Konetchy and Moolenaar will be at Tuesday night's Carrollton Voter Information night, which features candidates from several races. Mitchell's campaign has not confirmed if he will be there.