Failed politician John James was recently caught trying to distance himself from President Trump and Betsy DeVos in a private meeting with African American community leaders. But despite his misleading claim that he “[hasn’t] gotten any money from Betsy DeVos,” a new report reveals that the DeVos family has “shelled out” for James.
The report details how the DeVos family has spent nearly a million dollars backing John James, with “a significant chunk of their spending this cycle” being funneled to him. The DeVos family has made clear James is one of their favorite candidates as they pump hundreds of thousands into a “shady” super PAC dedicated to supporting him and line up to max out in contributions directly to his campaign.
“Electing John James is the DeVos family’s number one priority because they know that he’d be a reliable vote for Betsy DeVos’ anti-public education agenda,” said Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Elena Kuhn. “The fact that the DeVos family is propping up his absent campaign is a clear sign that Michiganders can’t count on James to stand up for students, educators and hard-working families.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
DeVoses shell out for James, other 2020 races
- They have pumped cash into Michigan’s U.S. Senate race, congressional contests in the state, Trump’s re-election bid and other high-stakes political battles around the country. It’s no surprise — in the 2016 cycle, the family gave at least $10 million to a host of GOP candidates and committees. In 2018, the DeVoses spent $11 million, as the Advance reported.
- A significant chunk of their spending this cycle has gone toward efforts to unseat Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.). Michigan’s junior Democratic senator is facing a challenge from Republican businessman John James, who lost his bid last cycle to defeat U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing).
- The DeVos family in December donated $800,000 to a super PAC called the Better Future Michigan Fund, which was set up to boost James’ campaign. The group — which can accept unlimited donations — has spent almost $1 million to attack Peters, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
- The DeVoses have been the highest contributors to the group, with donations coming from three of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos’ four children — Daniel, Douglas and Cheri — and their spouses. (Dick DeVos Jr. is the fourth sibling.)
- In December, Daniel and his wife, Pamella DeVos, each contributed $200,000 to the pro-James super PAC. Douglas and his wife, Maria DeVos, each contributed $100,000; Cheri DeVos and her husband, Steve Ehmann, each contributed $100,000.
- Jerry Tubergen — CEO of RDV Corp., the DeVos’ investment management firm — contributed another $100,000 to the super PAC in December.
- DeVos family members have also maxed out to James’ campaign, which is subject to federal contribution limits. Daniel, Douglas, Cheri, Pamella and Maria DeVos, along with Ehmann, have contributed a total of $33,600.
- Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Elena Kuhn told the Advance in a statement that electing James “is the DeVos family’s number one priority because they know that he’d be a reliable vote for Betsy DeVos’ anti-public education agenda.”
- The James campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The Michigan Democratic Party launched JohnJamesRevealed.com to hold the failed U.S. Senate candidate accountable for his positions – including those made over the course of the 2018 campaign that he then tried to delete after losing that campaign. Since announcing he’d run again, just over six months after his last failed bid, James has been hiding from Michigan voters and refusing to answer questions from Michigan media.