EXCLUSIVE: Mich State Dept investigates college for potential campaign finance violations

The Michigan State Department is investigating Schoolcraft College for potential campaign finance violations after school employees allegedly used public resources for political activism.

The Michigan Department of State confirmed to Campus Reform on Tuesday that its Bureau of Elections unit launched an investigation into  Schoolcraft College for potentially illegal activity. Fred Woodhams of the Michigan State Department told Campus Reform that the investigation will take a couple of months to complete.

[RELATED: Email to students gives voting 'recommendations']

Michigan attorney Karen Woodside filed an ethics complaint against Schoolcraft College, as previously reported by Campus Reform. Woodside’s complaint alleged that some employees used school computers during office hours to campaign for a property tax hike on the Nov. 6 election ballot. The ballot initiative did pass and is set to give the school increased funding through 2029. 

Employees urged residents to vote in support of the initiative, referring to the ballot question passing as “winning," according to emails obtained by Campus Reform.

According to Michigan campaign finance law, "a public body or a person acting for a public body shall not use or authorize the use of funds, personnel, office space, computer hardware or software, property, stationery, postage, vehicles, equipment, supplies, or other public resources to make a contribution or expenditure" for local ballot questions.

[RELATED: Mich college accused of using public resources to promote tax hike]

An incident in which communications show "express advocacy" can be addressed by Michigan's Secretary of State Elections Bureau, according to Watchdog.org.

Campus Reform reached out to Schoolcraft College, but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter @knelson1776