Mayor Fouts accused of violating state law over campaign-funded flyers opposing reduced term limits

Sep 29, 2020 at 11:20 am
click to enlarge Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. - City of Warren
City of Warren
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is accused of violating state law by using his campaign funds to send flyers urging residents to vote against a ballot initiative to limit how many terms the mayor can serve.

Warren City Councilman Patrick Green filed a complaint Tuesday with the Michigan Bureau of Elections, saying the Michigan Campaign Finance Act limits the use of campaign funds “to further the nomination or election of the candidate for which it is formed” and does not make an exception “to make an expenditure advocating on behalf of a ballot question.”

“It is critical that this matter is addressed before additional illegal expenditures are made,” Green said in the complaint. “There are many donors to the Mayor’s re-election committee that may not approve of their donations being used to fight a city ballot proposal.”

On Nov. 3, Warren residents will vote on a ballot proposal to reduce mayoral term limits from five four-year terms to three. Other elected officials in Warren are limited to three terms.

In August 2016, voters approved extending the mayoral term limits from three to five. But since then, Fouts has come under fire for racist, sexist, and misogynistic comments captured on audio recordings.

If the ballot measure is approved, Fouts likely would be prevented from running for a fifth term in 2023.

This isn't the first time Fouts has been accused of violating campaign finance laws. In July 2018, the Michigan Secretary of State's Office determined he violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act for turning a State of the City speech into a fundraiser for a Political Action Committee.

Fouts, who has been accused of violating campaign finance laws in the past, could not be reached Tuesday morning for comment.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.