As election day approaches and polls tighten, allegations by Republican U.S. Sen. Spence Abrahams campaign against Democratic candidate Debbie Stabenow report she used taxpayer dollars to purchase voter files.
Abrahams campaign alleges Stabenow spent $1,500 of taxpayer money on voter files from Practical Political Consulting, a firm run by Ingham County Commissioner Mark Grebner. Stabenows campaign contends the allegations are untrue and that Abrahams campaign has no evidence of such illegal activity.
Grebner said buying voter files with taxpayer money is illegal.
When theres a law on a subject, one tries not to violate it, Grebner said.
Practical Political Consulting organizes and sells voter files of names and addresses to political candidates for their campaigning. The business has a contract with the Michigan Democratic Party stating it will not sell voter files to Republican candidates during a general election.
Trent Wisecup, a spokesman for the Abraham campaign, said it does not agree with Stabenow purchasing her files for congressional use from the same place she purchases files for campaign use. The campaign claims to have House records that show she used taxpayer money to buy the files.
Mr. Grebner is known to have the best voter files in the state, Wisecup said. We have a problem with her purchasing lists from Mr. Grebner, and we feel that she should refund the money to the (U.S.) Treasury immediately.
Members of Congress may purchase voter files with taxpayer money to mail congressional newsletters. However, members of Congress may not use those files to send personal mail, like campaign fliers. Grebner said Stabenows campaign purchased different sets of voter files for her campaign and for congressional use, so there would be no reason for her to use the taxpayer-purchased congressional lists.
Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the Stabenow campaign, said the allegations are a last-chance effort by Abrahams campaign to make Stabenow look bad.