That makes it easy for organizations like the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (mcfn.org) to publish, among other things, an annual list of Michigan’s Top 200 Lobbyists. In 2007, those 200 lobbyists each reported spending between $33,700 and $1.4 million on advocacy. In all, Michigan lobbyists reported spending $32.1 million in 2007.
But take a look at that list. You won’t find Ilitch Holdings, Inc., ranked 300th on Forbes' List of America's Largest Private Companies, on that list of Michigan's Top 200 Lobbyists -- nor will you find any of a dozen plus other major Ilitch affiliates including Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Little Caesars Pizza, MotorCity Casino, Olympia Development, Olympia Entertainment, Uptown Entertainment, etc..
In fact, while Ilitch Holdings, Inc. reports its collection of Michigan-based companies has annual combined revenues totaling $1.6 billion or more; the same collection of companies reported spending just $27,650 on State lobbying activity over almost two years. And then consider that, based on information available at OpenSecrets.org, these same people and their partner contributed more than $234,000 to federal political candidates and committees during the same two years – and many of those contributions are capped at $2,300 each.
Considering the mountain of tax and regulatory policy, alone, that is under consideration in Lansing at any given time -- matters which could have very positive or very negative impacts on any number of Ilitch affiliates that span the range from sports, gaming and entertainment ventures to hospitality and food service enterprises to major real estate management contracts and development projects -- it’s curious that only two of the Ilitch affiliates have registered their lobbying activity; and even more curious that, in total, they report having spent less than $14,000 per year on lobbying expenses. Now ... take a moment to recognize that such an amount represents less than 1.5 weeks worth of work by a $250 an hour attorney/lobbyist.