NEW From The Detroit News: John James Failed to Deliver on Charity Pledge Central to His Campaign in the Midst of a Pandemic

LANSING — John James continues to loom over Republican Michigan politics for all the wrong reasons. After raising nearly $50 million only to fall short statewide for the second time in a row, The Detroit News reported yesterday that James broke a major 2020 campaign promise to donate 5% of his received contributions to charities within the state.

According to Craig Mauger’s reporting, James began touting his fake ‘Nickel Promise’ as early as May 2020. It’s now May 2021, five months after his general election loss to Sen. Gary Peters, and James has still not donated nearly half of the funds he pledged for those in need. A stunning failure thrown into particularly stark relief as the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on working families across Michigan. 

When pressed by Mauger for an explanation as to why it’s taken so long to fulfill his pledge, the millionaire businessman moved the timeline goalposts on the campaign pledge and gave a flippant response, saying that the deadline was never tied to Election Day and “quite frankly…the need will always be there.

“When it comes to charity in these trying times, failing to follow through on your own promise to help Michigan families in need is unacceptable,” said Rodericka Applewhaite, MDP spokesperson. “It’s obvious John James is looking out for himself and is now only addressing this massive discrepancy after the inquiries began. This is textbook typical politician behavior denoting a lapse of integrity that should give Republicans in Michigan and nationwide pause as they court the two-time loser for yet another statewide race. Evidently the only thing James has managed to raise since making this sham of a pledge nearly a year ago is more questions about what else he’s lying about.”

Read more below from The Detroit News on John James latest, uniquely cruel instance of over-promising and under-delivering:

The Detroit News: James Remains Short Of Charitable Donation Promise. Here’s by How Much.

Lansing — John James, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate who prominently vowed to give 5% of the campaign money he raised to charity, remains well short of that goal five months after Election Day, according to a Detroit News analysis.

As of March 31, the James campaign reported $46.12 million in total contributions — not including money that had been refunded to donors. The campaign disclosed about $1.36 million in spending it described as “charitable,” about 2.9% of its fundraising amount.

The Farmington Hills businessman who lost to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, said he still intends to achieve the 5% pledge and noted that he has $1.1 million available in his campaign account, enough to fill the gap. But he wouldn’t set a deadline for when the goal would be met, and he said the target wasn’t tied to the Nov. 3 election. […]

During the 2020 campaign, James repeatedly touted his “Nickel Promise.” In one of his ads that focused on the program, James said his campaign would contribute “5%, or just a nickel, for every dollar we raise to improving the lives of Michiganders.” […]

His campaign has about $968,000 more in charitable contributions to make to reach the 5% goal, according to an analysis by The News. […]

“We do have a gap to fill,” James said. “But quite frankly, the environment is dynamic, and the need will always be there.” […]

But Rodericka Applewhaite, spokeswoman for the Michigan Democratic Party, blasted James on Monday, saying his failure to achieve the 5% promise was “more proof that two-time statewide loser John James is nothing more than a dishonest and failed politician.”

“Just like (former President Donald) Trump, James will do or say anything to promote himself — even if it means lying to Michigan families about donating to charities,” Applewhaite said. “Instead of going into full damage control mode now that he got caught, James should come clean to Michiganders about his broken promises.” […]

The “Nickel Promise” was a focus of the James campaign throughout 2020. […]

James touted his “Nickel Promise” in an ad days before Nov. 3 election. […]

Campaign finance disclosures show that the James campaign made about 100 charitable contributions during 2019, 2020 and the first months of 2021.
However, as of now, they don’t equal 5% of his fundraising haul. They also don’t equal 5% of the money James had reported raising as of Sept. 30, 2020, more than a month before Election Day. At that point, the James campaign reported $32.89 million in contributions. His overall charitable contributions represented about 4.1% of the Sept. 30 total.

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