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Michigan Democrats fined $500,000 over political bingo games

Jun 9, 2017

The Michigan Democratic Party must pay a $500,000 fine for violations related to bingo games that were used as political fundraisers. The fine is one of the largest ever assessed by the Federal Elections Commission.           

The violations were self-reported to the government by then-party chair Lon Johnson.

“I’ve always believed that how you run a campaign or how you run a political party is indicative of how you will govern, and I think it’s important that we follow the law,” he said.

Johnson says the state party discontinued its bingo fundraisers after the problems were found. Democrats in Michigan used bingo fundraisers for about 14 years before they were stopped.

The bingo games are largely cash operations. The violations include not reporting more than $4 million in donations.