Amash Ditched By Michigan Right To Life

Michigan Right to Life has unveiled its 2012 endorsement list, and, as promised, Republican Rep. Justin Amash’s name is conspicuously absent. The group has no endorsement for the 3rd District, providing the payback they promised when Amash refused to vote for the Prenatal Discrimination Act (PRENDA) in early June.

When asked about the lack of endorsement, David Malone, PAC Director, Right to Life of Michigan said the following via email statement:

“Right to Life of Michigan PAC has chosen not to endorse the candidacy of Representative Amash in the 2012 primary election.  While he was previously endorsed in the 2010 general election and during his time in the state legislature, his voting record in Congress led the state board of the Right to Life of Michigan PAC to decide to not endorse his candidacy in the upcoming election.  In his first term in Congress, Representative Amash voted “present” twice on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood (America’s leading abortion provider) and voted “no” on legislation to outlaw sex-selection abortions.”

National Right To Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson had remarked that the national group was unlikely to renew their endorsement, and speculated that the state based organization would do the same.  “I cannot speak for Right to Life of Michigan on this matter, but in view of Amash’s votes against cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and against the ban on sex-selection abortions, I would be astonished if he was again endorsed by that formidable state organization,” Johnson told the Christian Post.

Michigan Right to Life has not endorsed a different candidate for the seat, however, leaving the race overall unchanged. But the lack of anti-choice endorsements could mean Amash has a harder time fundraising for his campaign, which received over $15,000 in donations from NRL in 2010.

Although Amash announced via Facebook on May 31st that he would introduce the “District of Columbia Respect for Life and Conscience Act of 2012,” a massive anti-choice House bill limiting abortions in D.C., no such bill has since been proposed by him.

Note: This piece was edited at 7:00 A.M. 6/28/2012 to clarify that the donations came from the NRL PAC rather than NRLC.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • douglasjohnson

    The quotations are accurate, as pertaining to endorsements.  But the statement that Amash “received large donations from NRLC in 2010” is inaccurate.  Amash did not receive any contributions from NRL PAC in 2010, as anyone can easily validate by visiting the FEC website (review either NRL PAC’s contribution reports, or Amash’s received donation reports, or both).  Nor did NRL PAC have anything to do with Amash’s “fundraising.”


    However, NRL PAC did conduct modest independent expenditures in support of Amash in the 2010 general election — something on the order of $21,000.  Independent expeditures are funds spent on public communications that are not in any way controlled by the candidate, nor do any of these funds ever pass through the hands of a candidate or his campaign.  The distinction between contributions and independent expenditures is a rather fundamental one in matters pertaining to federal election law.


    Douglas Johnson

    Legislative Director

    National Right to Life Committee

    Washington, D.C.



  • robin-marty

    Thank you, Douglas, I will clarify — National Right To Life vs. NRLC

  • douglasjohnson

    Oh, my.  Your “clarification” repeats the same basic mistake.


    My main point was not to correct you regarding which organ of NRLC was involved.  Yes, you were in error in not specifying that the activity at issue was by NRL PAC, but that was not your biggest mistake.  Your biggest mistake was your erroneous statement, which you have now repeated, that an organ of NRL made “donations” to the Amash campaign.  Again:  neither NRLC, nor NRL PAC, made any donations to the Amash campaign.  There were no donations.  There were no contributions. 


    Moreover, the “opensecrets” site to which you link does not claim that there were any donations/contributions, because there were not. They understand the distinction that you apparently have yet to grasp.


    But why rely on secondary sources?  Go to the FEC website, look at the NRL PAC reports, and look at the Amash reports.  You will find no donations, no contributions.  


    To reiterate:  Your statement that the Amash campaign “received over $15,000 in donations from NRL in 2010″ is without basis in fact.


    As I explained in my earlier post, in 2010 NRL PAC expended and reported something like $20,000 for independent communications to the public that were supportive of Amash’s candidacy in the general election.  These funds were not “received” by Amash or his campaign.  Amash’s campaign had no advance role or knowledge of such communications.  Such communications are matter between the sponsoring organization and the public — the candidate’s campaign is not involved.  There are circumstances in which candidates do not even like the independent communications that talk about them, but they have nothing to say about it.

    Again, the distinction between donations/contributions and independent expenditures is rather fundamental in federal election law,with serious legal implications.  You will find that groups on your side of the issue also regard the distinction as fundamental.  If you are going to write on such matters, you ought to educate yourself on such fundamental distinctions.   Otherwise you might end up getting sued by some group, less easy-going than us, for falsely reporting that the hypothetical group engaged in election-related activities that, had they actually occurred, would have violated federal law, when you so easily could have checked and learned the truth.


    Douglas Johnson

    NRLC Legislative Director