By Andy Balaskovitz | Energy News Network
The agreement with Consumers Energy follows a complaint about a nonprofit group linked to the utility.
In an unprecedented move, the Michigan Public Service Commission has prohibited a major utility from using corporate dollars to fund nonprofit political advocacy groups.
The deal with Consumers Energy follows a contentious election involving outsized spending from energy-focused nonprofit groups supporting regulated utilities. Sources say it was the commission’s attempt to rein in the practice following complaints about one group’s political spending in the 2018 election.
“This is recognition that this is a serious problem, and it’s a big step in the right direction,” said Patrick Anderson, a tax policy expert and CEO of the Anderson Economic Group. In July, Anderson filed a formal complaint with the IRS alleging that a Consumers-linked organization misused its tax-exempt status for political purposes. The IRS has not formally responded to the complaint.