Mayor Bing breaks election law by using tax-funded city workers, office to organize campaign announcement

Mayor Bing reelectionDozens of reporters received a cryptic e-mail from Mayor Dave Bing’s office at noon Thursday.

At 1:30 p.m., Bing would be available for photos, followed by a press conference in his office. No other information.

When reporters arrived, Bing was pulling petitions to seek his second full term in office. That was followed by a press conference organized by his tax-funded staff.

Michigan law bars the use of public resources, including employees, for election activities for two important reasons: Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for campaign work, and public employees should be focused on city business.

“It’s not a good way to start a campaign,” said former state Rep. Leon Drolet, who has run and helped run numerous elections. “You don’t want to make these kinds of mistakes when you make your first public statement about running for reelection.”

In the past, Bing’s public relations team directed campaign questions to the mayor’s campaign volunteers.

His team did not immediately respond to questions for this report.

At the press conference today, Bing said his next term would be fruitful because of the work he’s doing with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.