The Detroit News reported that Whitmer has pulled in a record $8.65 million as of late July, including $3.4 million from donors who passed the standard $7,150 limit for individuals. Jocelyn Benson, the secretary of state, reportedly issued a court filing that the supplies may have to be restored if there is no recall, which is doubtful.
State Republicans have called the "recall exception" unconstitutional. The paper called the exemption a "decades-old state policy" that basically allows countless donations due to the chance of a recall. Whitmer's campaign has acquired six-figure gifts from different donors, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Republicans have said people never "actively" attempted to evoke Whitmer because the longshot efforts fell way short of the necessary voter signatures. They claim that the exemption is unfair because they can't donate to their nominees on the same amount.
Whitmer's office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News. However, the communications director from Whitmer's office told the paper that the court filing really "confirms the campaign's fundraising has been in accordance with the law."
In July, Whitmer campaign spokesman Mark Fisk said if funds surpassing the individual limit are not used for a recall bid, they can legally be moved to another account. He cited the Michigan Democratic Party as an example.
That brings up the following problem: If Jan. 1 rolls around and there is no recall, where will the money go?
Simon Schuster, the executive director of Michigan Campaign Finance Network, told the Detroit News that funds could still be used to support Whitmer's campaign if they are inserted into some kind of political affiliation.
Suppose no additional recall petitions are filed by Jan. 1. In that case, any possible recall effort will necessarily be considered "concluded," the lawyers claimed on behalf of Benson. That's because, under state law, no recalls can be filed against a governor in their last year of a term in office.
"The governor would be required to disgorge any contributions received in excess of the MCFA (Michigan Campaign Finance Act) limits at that time — months before even the April 19, 2022 deadline for Republican gubernatorial candidates to file their nominating petitions," the filing said.
A big question will be what Whitmer's campaign eventually does with the excess funds, said Simon Schuster, executive director of the nonprofit Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which tracks money in state politics. If they're given to a political organization, they could still be used to help the governor's re election, Schuster noted.