Michigan GOP Senate candidate John James has frequently spouted the campaign tagline “we don’t need more millionaires in Washington.” But according to a review by American Ledger, James is a millionaire who inherited his wealth from his father’s company and trust fund, suggesting the talking point he frequently uses on the campaign trail is far from genuine.

During his losing campaign for the Senate in 2018, James criticized Senator Debbie Stabenow for owning a million-dollar home, questioning if she, “knows that it’s like to live in the dirt here in Detroit.” However, according to his financial filings obtained by American Ledger, James’ average net worth as of May 2020 totaled a whopping $3.8 million. According to public records, much of James’ net worth derived from a position handed to him at his father’s supply chain company, James Group International, where over the past four years he earned at least $1 million. James is also a beneficiary of his family’s trust fund, and earned up to $2 million in dividend income alone from 2016 to 2019.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income of Michigan families from 2014 to 2018 was approximately $54,000 – placing James clearly in the top 1% of income earners in the state.

James’ attempt to mislead Michigan voters about his background doesn’t just stop at devaluing his wealth. Just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that James labeled himself as an “Army Ranger” in a campaign advertisement despite never actually obtaining the rank of Army Ranger.

As Election Day draws closer amidst a worsening pandemic and deepening financial crisis, it is likely that James, whose poll numbers against opponent Gary Peters are plummeting, will continue attempting to frame himself as a working class American despite being an ultra-wealthy millionaire and trust-fund beneficiary.

Note: there are several instances of John James criticizing wealthy politicians including on 6/26/18, 7/6/18, 7/2/18, 7/2/18, 8/30/18, 10/7/18, 10/26/18, and 11/2/18.

Contact Chai Karve at ckarve@americanbridge.org