Michigan Democrats, Michigan Republicans — August 18, 2014 at 9:30 am

VIDEO: Mark Totten launches general election campaign against AG Bill Schuette, Michigan’s version of Ken Cuccinelli


Michigan Democratic Attorney General candidate Mark Totten

Mark Totten started his campaign to be Michigan’s next Attorney General in 2013. He’s been one of the hardest working candidates I’ve seen in this election cycle, consistently making the case that our current AG, Bill Schuette, is an extremist that is hurting our state and, through a variety of actions taken on the Michigan taxpayers’ dime, the entire country.

Totten is a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law. He holds a law degree and a PhD in ethics from Yale University. He’s also previously served as an attorney in the United States Department of Justice and as a clerk on a federal court of appeals.

Now that Totten is the clear front runner for the AG nomination at next weekend’s Michigan Democratic Party Nominating Convention, he is releasing his first campaign ad for the general election race. It slams Schuette for his long history of using his position to promote a radical, right-wing agenda:


The video highlights several groups impacted by Bill Schuette’s radical agenda:

  • WOMEN by denying women coverage for contraceptives
  • VICTIMS by passing Michigan’s outrageous drug immunity law and losing millions as Attorney General
  • KIDS by denying some of Michigan’s most vulnerable children loving homes
  • FAMILIES by raising taxes on families with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act

Along with the video, Totten released this statement:

This race is about giving Michigan families an advocate who keeps them safe and never lets politics get in the way. But it’s also about stopping a politician who is the most extreme, far-right Attorney General in the nation – a crusader who needs to be stopped now, before he does even more harm later.

In conjunction with the video, Totten also unveiled a new website, StopSchuette.com, where he details some of Schuette’s more egregious actions, all funded by Michigan taxpayers.

As I’ve written about before, Schuette is Michigan’s version of former Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, an outrageous conservative ideologue who was sent packing by Virginia voters during the last election:

  • Cuccinelli fought to overturn Obamacare in the courts and lost – So did Bill Schuette.
  • Cuccinelli signed on to an amicus brief opposing the federal government’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s racist immigration law – So did Bill Schuette.
  • Cuccinelli is a raging homophobe who used his office to fight marriage equality and adoption rights for LGBT couples every step of the way – So did Bill Schuette.
  • Cuccinelli sided with Big Business to fight regulations to protect our environment – So did Bill Schuette.

The similarities are actually a bit creepy.

Schuette is so extreme that he even thinks marriage has one purpose: to “regulate sexual relationships” so that people make babies.

According to Schuette’s distorted world view, if you are having sex that doesn’t result in impregnating a woman, you are “harming society”. If you’ve had a vasectomy or tubal ligation or are past child-bearing years, you are one of the offenders, according to Bill Schuette.

More recently, Schuette has been wasting taxpayer money fighting marriage equality in our state by appealing a federal court decision that found our state’s bigoted ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. He also played a crucial role in the Supreme Court case that upheld Hobby Lobby’s decision to not pay for certain types of contraception coverage for its female employees.

However, the most outrageous action he’s taken of late, one that even has his Republican colleagues calling for him to cut it out, was weighing in on the Halbig vs. Burwell case in federal court. In that decision anti-Obamacare zealots like Schuette are exploiting a mistake in the Affordable Care Act by preventing states that rely on the federal health care exchange from providing health insurance coverage under the ACA. The result is that nearly a half million Michigan residents who use the exchange for health insurance will face up to $5,000 in increased taxes because Schuette and his pals want to prevent them from receiving subsidies available in states that have their own exchanges.

Here’s what Totten had to say in a Detroit News op-ed at the time of the ruling:

This week, a federal court accepted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s argument that hundreds of thousands of Michigan families are ineligible for federal tax credits to purchase health insurance. If the ruling stands, Bill Schuette will have denied working Michigan families tax credits averaging $4,700.

The scope of families harmed if Schuette gets his way is staggering. Nearly 500,000 Michigan families are eligible for these credits, and several hundred thousand have already claimed them. The average value of these credits is $4,700 per family. For the average family in our state, that represents nearly two months of take-home pay. […]

Schuette has shown he won’t give a second thought to sacrificing people to score a few partisan points and curry favor with his national funders.

As if his effort to raise taxes on Michigan families wasn’t enough, Schuette led the successful fight against Gov. Rick Snyder’s effort to create a Michigan exchange. In response, the editorial page of this paper chastised Schuette for “letting his political stripes outshine his role as the state’s top legal adviser.” Having fought to ensure Michigan used the federal exchange, Schuette is now fighting to raise taxes on Michigan families because they use the very exchange he pushed.

You can learn more about Schuette’s role in the Halbig case at SchuetteTaxHike.com.

Bill Schuette is just as extreme as some of his better-known tea party colleagues like Ken Cuccinelli, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, but gets much less attention. It is crucial for us to ensure that he is stopped NOW before he gets to act on his extremist views any further.

Stop by Totten’s website, MarkTotten.com to learn more about his vision for Michigan and how he will stop the spending of our tax dollars to support an ideological agenda most Michiganders don’t support. While you’re there, please make a donation to help make sure that we end Bill Schuette’s political career NOW before he can do any more harm.

Like Virginia voters, Michiganders have an opportunity to STOP SCHUETTE. We can’t let this opportunity escape us.

[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]