Last weekend, Democrat Mark Totten’s campaign for Attorney General called on television stations to stop airing an ad attacking him for claiming he is a federal prosecutor. The ad, they said, is a trumped up lie.
The Bridge Magazine Truth Squad agrees and has called a rare “flagrant foul” on the ad:
Both sides agree on certain facts about Totten’s recent experience with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids, the most pertinent of which is that Totten’s work was unpaid.
Totten, a lawyer and full-time professor at Michigan State University’s College of Law, volunteered from September 2011 to February 2013 under then-U.S. Attorney Donald Davis in the western Michigan office in Grand Rapids. Davis said in a statement quoted in the campaign’s demand letter and later confirmed in an interview that Totten held the title of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, “and as such was a federal prosecutor” during that term of service.
For good measure, Davis also provided a photograph of himself, administering the oath of office to Totten.
[…] McLellan offered a written defense of the Michigan Advocacy Trust ad, covering dictionary definitions of the term “prosecutor” and “special prosecutor” and contending that because Totten was a volunteer, worked on appeals rather than directly trying cases, and never left full-time employment with MSU, he cannot call himself a federal prosecutor. […]
To call Totten a liar – which the ad does, explicitly, both in its narration and in print – is directly contradicted by the person who ran the U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids. The ad flat-out states Totten willfully misrepresented his work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. To judge from his website, he does not. Prosecutors, like all lawyers, do specialized work, and not all will lead a prosecutorial team at trial; some will work on appeals, work that is just as critical to keeping communities safe as the work done by prosecutors at the trial court level. That doesn’t make them any less worthy of the title.
When you have to resort to “dictionary definitions of the term ‘prosecutor’ and ‘special prosecutor'”, you’ve already lost the argument.
Bill Schuette and his friends are liars. It’s the only way they can attack Mark Totten whose record speaks for itself. If you want a liar as Michigan’s top law enforcement agent, Bill Schuette is your man.
On the other hand, if you want someone who voluteered his time to put criminals behind bars and who has the toughness and integrity to be our state Attorney General – the “People’s Lawyer as Totten refers to it – then Mark Totten should get your support.