When you’re in the news this much, something is wrong
It’s not unusual for a state Attorney General to be in the news from time to time. If they are doing their job, that’s part of the job description. But Michigan AG Bill Schuette finds himself at the center of not one, but TWO big news stories. What his involvement in these two stories shows is that Bill Schuette is using his position as the Attorney General of Michigan to pursue a hardcore right wing, anti-labor agenda that benefits his political allies and harms his political foes.
The first news story to feature Schuette is the ongoing scandal regarding the corruption and fraud perpetrated by House Speaker Jase Bolger and fake Democrat Roy Schmidt. In a rational world where the checks and balances are not so far out of whack as they are in Michigan where everything is controlled by Republicans, Bolger and Schmidt would no longer be members of our state legislature, much less hold the top spot in the House as Bolger does. The election fraud perpetrated by these two men, election fraud that they both admit to, should be enough to permanently disqualify the two of them from ever holding elected office again. However, Republicans in Michigan are okay with their leadership and colleagues engaging in election fraud so nothing has been done.
As it turns out, however, the scandal appears to involve our Republican Attorney General as well. In a jaw-dropping sentence, buried in the last four sentences of a story about how Bolger and Schmidt may have actually committed a crime (conspiracy to commit perjury) despite the investigation being halted before it was complete, the Detroit Free Press reported this:
In another twist revealed in the records, among the many accusatory and laudatory text messages Schmidt received after the news broke about him jumping parties, was the following one on the morning of May 16:
“Roy. Bill Schuette here. Call when you can (phone number redacted). Thanks.”
Yearout, the spokeswoman for the attorney general, said Schuette “was reaching out to Rep. Schmidt to welcome him to the GOP and to introduce himself.
“A brief conversation to that effect did occur by telephone following Schmidt’s receipt of the message,” she said.
This is an astonishing revelation. In the middle of an election fraud scheme hatched by Schmidt and Speaker Bolger, Schmidt just happens to receive a phone call from the top law enforcement officer in the state. Not coincidentally, Schuette announced last week that he won’t be conducting any further investigations into the election fraud scandal.
In some ways, that’s a relief. Given his clear and obvious conflict of interest, Bill Schuette is about the last guy I would want investigating this crime. I’d suggest we need someone outside of the state, perhaps the U.S. Department of Justice, to come in and look at this issue impartially because there doesn’t appear to be ANY recourse in Michigan that doesn’t involve a Republican being in charge.
Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan, agrees with me, in part. Yesterday, he issued this statement:
It’s clear that Attorney General Schuette has been hiding his involvement in Speaker Bolger’s failed election fraud scheme for months. As Michigan’s top law enforcement official, he should immediately recuse himself and appoint an independent investigator to look into this case. Attorney General Schuette should come clean on his involvement in trying to protect Roy Schmidt and Speaker Bolger as they were trying to defraud voters by fixing the election.
The disgusting and frightening part about this whole story is how the entire Republican state caucus has circled the wagons to protect their corrupt leader and newest member. What they did is so clearly a perversion of our elections and so clearly unethical that there really shouldn’t be any discussion about whether or not Bolger and Schmidt remain in power. Don’t forget: they have both admitted trying to fix an election in our state.
It speaks volumes about Michigan Republicans that not one single GOP lawmaker is calling for Bolger to step down and there are not proceedings underway to remove them both from office.
The second story involving Bill Schuette broke last night it was reported that he and Governor Rick Snyder have filed court papers asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to block the Protect Our Jobs ballot initiative from being placed on the November ballot.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette filed court papers Monday to try to block a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to protect collective bargaining rights.
Snyder and Schuette are seeking to scuttle the Protect Our Jobs ballot proposal, whose position on the ballot will be decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The four-member Board of State Canvassers last week deadlocked on certifying the Protect Our Jobs petition. The two Republican members voted against placing the issue on the ballot, while the two Democrats voted to certify.
The state Court of Appeals will hold a hearing Wednesday on the ballot initiative.
Michigan Law says that the petitions carry a required 100-word description of the ballot measure. AG Schuette says that this ballot initiative is too complicated to be described in 100 words so it shouldn’t be allowed on the ballot at all. It’s breathtaking, really. The top law enforcement officer in the state is literally suggesting that we can only have simple, non-complicated ballot measures in our state. There is not a single thing in our state constitution that suggests this. There isn’t a law in our state that says anything at all about how complicated a ballot proposal can or cannot be. But our Attorney General and our Governor are decreeing this independently of any law or precedent.
Keep in mind that the ballot language was approved by the Board of State Canvassers that later decided not to certify the petitions.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say again (and again and again): Michigan Republicans have place their politicians at every single gate into our government and political systems. No matter what transpires in this state, if a decision is to be made, it is made by a Republican. The Governor. The Lt. Governor. The Secretary of State that oversees our elections. The Court of Appeals and Supreme Court that hear our cases. The Board of State Canvassers that decide on our ballot initiatives and candidates.
And, at the very end of the line, the one person that is supposed to be there to protect Michigan citizens from crime and fraud is the Attorney General. In Michigan, we have Bill Schuette in that position. Bill Schuette is using that power to ensure that his far-right political agenda moves forward, that Republicans are not held accountable for their actions and that nothing gets in the way of Republicans no matter what they try to do.
This is what happens when you vote Republican in a just over two months, we need to fix that in Michigan.
[CC photo credit: Corvair Owner | Flickr]