Money in Politics: How Much Should Be Disclosed?

The Mackinac Center’s Arthur N. Rupe Foundation Debate

Americans have a rich tradition of financially supporting charitable organizations and political causes. In recent years, lawmakers and regulators have proposed requiring these organizations and causes to disclose the identity of their donors.

WHEN: 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Mackinac Center’s Arthur N. Rupe Foundation Debate, Money in Politics: How Much Should Be Disclosed?, will address the question of whether individuals who donate to nonprofit organizations or political issues should be able to maintain their privacy.

The debate will feature Bradley A. Smith, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, and Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

It will be moderated by Kyle Melinn, editor and vice president of the MIRS Newsletter.

We are pleased to partner with The Federalist Society, Michigan Lawyers Chapter, and the League of Women Voters of Michigan, to bring this debate to you.

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments are free and are included with reservations.

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 2015
5:30 p.m. - Check-in, hors d’oeuvres and refreshments available
6-7:30 p.m. - Program with Q&A
WHERE: Lansing Center
Governor’s Room – 2nd Level
333 East Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

 Registration deadline is Monday, June 22 at 5:00 p.m.

Register for this event.



Bradley A. Smith is one of the nation’s foremost experts on campaign finance law. He served as a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, resigning as of Aug. 21, 2005. Smith was elected as Vice Chairman of the Commission in 2003 and Chairman of the Commission in 2004. He serves on the Mackinac Center's Board of Scholars.

A recent New York Times story referred to Smith as the “intellectual powerhouse” of the movement to roll back campaign finance restrictions. His 2001 book, Unfree Speech: the Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, was lauded by George Will as the year’s “most important book on governance.” Once called “the most sought after witness in Congress” on campaign finance issues, Smith has authored over 40 articles on campaign finance reform, appearing in academic publications such as the Yale Law Journal and Georgetown Law Journal, and popular publications such as The Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and National Review. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Bill Moyers Journal, the Lehrer News Hour, Fox News Special Report, ABC News, Washington Journal, and numerous other national and local television and radio programs.

RobinsonRich Robinson has worked for the public purpose throughout his career. Beginning as a Peace Corps volunteer 38 years ago, he has worked in federal, state and local government, and more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Since 2001 he has been executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network, where he is the principal investigator of the biennial Citizen’s Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance and periodic reports on money in Michigan politics. His commentaries on democracy and money in politics have appeared in The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, Dome Magazine, Bridge Magazine and newspapers throughout Michigan. His reporting has informed numerous news stories and editorials throughout Michigan, and in national publications such as Mother Jones and the New York Times. He has been a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Oakland University. Rich Robinson has three degrees from the University of Michigan, including a Master of Public Policy. He is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

RobinsonKyle Melinn is the editor and Vice President of the MIRS Newsletter, a daily on-line political news service covering state government and politics. A professional journalist for 20 years who has covered the state Capitol for the last 13, Kyle regularly appears on Off the Record, 'The Big Show' with Michael Patrick Shiels and radio shows across the state. He hosts a weekly podcast called MIRS Monday, available at or iTunes. Before MIRS, Kyle served as a freelance writer for the Boston Herald and as a senior editor for He has also covered government and politics for the The Daily Citizen, in Dalton, Ga.; The Yuma Daily Sun, in Yuma, Ariz.; and the Towne Courier in East Lansing. Kyle has won the Associated Press Managing Editors Story of the Year Award in Georgia and in Arizona. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, who grew up in Byron Center.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Event Manager Kimberley Fischer-Kinne at 989-698-1905 or

Deadline to register:
Monday, June 22 at 5:00 p.m.


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