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Whitmer worth $2.3 million, but new Michigan disclosure filings lack details

Whitmer sits
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disclosed more than $2.3 million in investment assets as part of Michigan’s first ever required personal financial disclosure reports. Other public officials weren’t as forthcoming. (Bridge photo by Rod Stanford)
  • Michigan officials file first-ever personal financial disclosure reports, as required under voter-approved ballot measure.
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disclosed more than $2.3 million in investment assets but did not voluntarily report her own public salary.
  • Many officials disclosed only what’s legally required under the law, which critics have said is full of ‘loopholes’.

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reported more than $2.3 million in investment assets under Michigan’s new personal finance disclosure law, which otherwise shed little light on finances for many state officials.

Proposal 1 of 2022 required the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state lawmakers to file financial disclosure statements by Monday. 

As part of those disclosures, officials were required to list their assets, liabilities, income sources, future employment agreements, gifts, travel reimbursements and more.

But lawmakers who finalized the disclosure rules last fall left what critics called gaping "loopholes" allowing them to obscure monetary values and shield assets held by a spouse.


Inaugural filings, due Monday for sitting public officials, showed little about how much money officials make, even though their state government salaries are public information. Under the law, they were only required to disclose the name of any employers that pay them at least $1,000 per year.

A form created by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office gave officials an "optional" choice to disclose their incomes, but many declined that option. 

Even Benson, who makes $112,410 a year in her government role, did not initially disclose her salary, but she amended her report late Monday to include that optional information. 

Officials also had to list any assets or real property worth at least $1,000, along with any liabilities of $10,000 or more, and any positions they hold in other organizations.


Additionally, officials had to list their spouses' employer but not their spouses' income, assets or liabilities. They were only required to disclose gifts from registered lobbyists, not business officials or anyone else.

Whitmer reportedly worth over $2M 

Whitmer, who earns $159,000 a year as governor, declined to voluntarily disclose her salary. 

But the governor did voluntarily list the value of stocks, investment funds and other securities she holds, which she was not required to do, including roughly $1 million in Admiral shares within a Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.

Altogether, she disclosed more than $2.3 million in investments, up from the roughly $2 million she voluntarily disclosed in 2022.

Among the other things Whitmer disclosed:

  • $50,237 in unearned income, mostly from stock dividends or tax-exempt interest
  • Full ownership of a cottage in Elk Rapids worth an estimated $418,200
  • A lobbyist interaction with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, where $127 worth of food and drinks were consumed.
  • A lobbyist interaction with Battle Creek Unlimited inc. during the Make it in Michigan Airport tour. The value of the meal is not listed, other than to note it was worth less than $76.

Whitmer, who earlier this month announced that Simon & Schuster will publish her memoir, did not disclose any related income, including her $159,300 salary as governor. She did not list any income from her husband, who is a retired dentist, or any blind trusts, future employment agreements or liabilities. 

She did, however, disclose that she has an ownership interest in Super Deluxe LLC, a Detroit-based firm created in November by attorney Christopher Trebilcock, according to separate state records.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on that new company or Whitmer’s role. 

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist voluntarily disclosed that his condo in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood is worth $1.1 million. He also reported about $271,000 in investments, the value of which he was not required to disclose. 

Few new details for statewide officials

The Whitmer and Gilchrist disclosures were more detailed than many others, including a filing by Attorney General Dana Nessel, who only provided required information.

As part of Nessel’s disclosure, she indicates her own employment with the state, as well as her wife’s employment as a senior accountant with RINA Consulting Incorporated and position on the Plymouth City Commission. 

No salary was listed for any of these roles, despite public records indicating Nessel takes home $112,410 in her role as attorney general.


Nessel also declined to list the value of her home in Plymouth, as well as any money associated with her state retirement account, additional securities and investments.

She did, however, indicate her position as a trustee for the Plymouth Democratic Club and ownership of a 2017 Ford Escape.

A request for comment was left with Nessel’s office.

Benson initially provided only required information but amended her filing late Monday to include optional disclosures. Asked why, a spokesperson simply said the second-term Democrat “wanted to add more detail.”

Benson’s updated form included salaries for her ($112,400) and her husband ($400,000), Ryan Fredrichs, who is a registered lobbyist for The Related Companies, a real estate firm headquartered in New York. Separate state records show he registered in 2022

Benson also reported she is a director of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality and remains on a leave of absence from her position as a professor at Wayne State University.

How lawmakers are reporting

As disclosures trickled in Monday, lawmakers varied widely on how much they chose to include in their reports. Some voluntarily disclosed optional information, while others did much less. 

  • Rep. Tom Kunse, a Clare Republican whose family last year sold $3.5 million in land to a former legislative staffer's nonprofit that is now under investigation, reported earning "1/3 of net proceeds" from an undisclosed property sale but did not specify the value. 
  • House Appropriations Chair Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, reported unearned income — though not the value — from what she called a 2022 "promissory note" with Edge Partnerships. Edge, a public relations firm she co-founded, reportedly contracts with the state health department. But Witwer, who has said she no longer plays an active role in the company, did not disclose any "interests in state contracts.” 
  • Sen. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, did not list his own employment with the state in an initial filing, disclosing only his wife Kellie’s role as a supervisor with St. Clair County’s Council on Aging. A Senate GOP staffer said that was a mistake, and Lauwers filed an updated disclosure report later Monday.
  • House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, did not disclose his $95,985 salary through the state. He also listed no financial values for his personal car loan, state retirement account or for a private residence in Detroit. Tate did, however, list more than $3,200 in gifts from lobbyists, all of which were food and drink related. 
  • Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, reported that his only lobbyist interaction was getting a “bottle of cheap champagne” worth $46.25. He reported having assets including jewelry, paintings and prints, vehicles and cryptocurrency, though declined to list how much those were worth. 
  • Sen. Sarah Anthony, a Lansing Democrat who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, did not disclose either her salary as a lawmaker nor the amount she earned as a consultant for the Progressive Turnout Project, a Chicago-based company focused on rallying Democrats to vote. 
  • Rep. John Roth, R-Interlochen, reported at least $737 in lobbyist gifts, though not all of what he received was given a monetary value. Items include a handful of dinners and lunches, a rental house, lodging and tickets to see the Lansing Lugnuts, a minor league baseball team.

Financial disclosure statements for all sitting lawmakers and other elected officials were due by 5 p.m. on Monday. Candidates for office will need to file their own disclosure reports by May 15.

Editor's note: This story was updated twice: Once, on April 16, to include information from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's amended disclosure filing. She made those changes after initial publication. It was corrected on April 17 to reflect that Dana Nessel owns one home, not two.

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