Michigan Republicans — July 28, 2015 at 9:12 am

Bill Schuette: Poster child for wasting Michigan taxpayer money to pursue a regressive conservative agenda


Bill Schuette has been raising campaign funds since last year’s election even though he is term-limited making it quite clear that he plans to run for governor in 2018. What he’s counting on, apparently, is that Michigan voters will overlook the millions upon millions of tax dollars that he has spent in his crusade to deny civil rights to LGBTQ people, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to end regulations of corporate polluters who despoil our fine state and country.

In the interest of making sure that people don’t forget, let’s take a look at some of the epic failures Schuette has wasted our money on over the past few years.

First, there was his effort to spare drug makers from being responsible for drugs that hurt people. Back in 1995, Bill Schuette co-sponsored a bill that later became law that made Michigan the only state in the country that prevents lawsuits against drug companies whose drugs were found to harm or kill people who used them if they had been approved by the FDA. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, he made sure the bill made it to the full Senate where it was passed. This bill is little more than a wet kiss to the pharmaceutical industry but has had little impact with major pharmaceutical companies pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere anyway.

Not only that, Schuette’s law resulted in Michigan losing out on $20 million settlement when the drug Vioxx was pulled from the market. Schuette was still defending the law during his last reelection campaign. Then he had the hypocritical gall to pretend to show leadership when a drug compounder’s error resulted in meningitis deaths in Michigan, calling himself a “voice” for the victims, angering many of them.

Next, when the Environmental Protection Agency took steps to clean up pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, Bill Schuette took it upon himself as AG of Michigan to file an amicus brief opposing the EPA’s clean-up plan, using staff time to do so even though the area in question isn’t even in Michigan.

Schuette also led a coalition of state AGs trying to overturn EPA rules about mercury emissions from power plants. A federal appeals court smacked down Schuette and his corporatist AG pals for this move:

A federal appeals court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever limits on air toxins, including emissions of mercury, arsenic and acid gases, preserving a far-reaching rule that the White House had touted as central to President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda.

In a 2-1 decision yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the rule “was substantively and procedurally valid,” turning aside challenges brought by Republican-led states that had argued it was onerous and environmental groups that had contended it did not go far enough.

The EPA called the decision “a victory for public health and the environment.”

Third, we have his relentless crusade to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Bill Schuette hates the ACA so much that he joined a federal lawsuit, Halbig v. Sebelius, that would have blocked the tax credits qualifying citizens would receive to purchase health insurance. In our state, this would have cost our nearly a half million Michigan residents as much as $5,000 a year in additional taxes. From the very beginning, Schuette has vowed to “repeal Obamacare” and said so on the state of Michigan website. Obviously, this has been an epic failure and another enormous waste of taxpayer dollars as Schuette pursued his conservative, anti-Obama agenda, totally willing to toss poor Michiganders under the bus in the process.

Finally, we have his endless attacks on LGBTQ people in our state. In 2013, Schuette attempted to strike down a provision in the contract state workers have with the state of Michigan that allows for domestic partners benefits. He was sent packing by the Michigan Court of Appeals, another waste of taxpayer funds.

Schuette fought the 2013 injunction, of course, using more state resources. The judge in that case said that Schuette’s argument had the “force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish.” In November of 2014, the law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, another blow to Schuette’s homophobic agenda and more tax dollars wasted.

More recently, of course, Schuette pursued a case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States to keep Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage in place. In the course of this ultimately failed legal crusade, he spent years of staff time, losing at nearly every step until the SCOTUS finally issued their landmark decision this summer. In this case, not only did Schuette waste our money by diverting staff time to tilt at this windmill, he actually hired an outside attorney to fight the course before the SCOTUS, despite the fact that he has over 100 full-time attorneys on his staff. Clearly he didn’t want his fingerprints on this catastrophic defeat but the blame lays directly on him.

The final blow came this week when the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the SCOTUS same-sex marriage case filed paperwork asking for their court costs to be paid by the state of Michigan. They are asking for nearly $2 million which will be paid for by, you guessed it, Michigan taxpayers. They are quite likely to win this, too. Courts typically grant these types of requests in situations where civil rights are involved to encourage attorneys to take the cases on.

Since he’s been in elected office, Bill Schuette has used the state’s coffers to finance his pursuit of his conservative agenda. In 2018, he’ll go before the voters to ask them to vote him into the state’s highest office. Given how much of our money he has flushed down the proverbial toilet over the years, imagine what he’d do if given the keys to the governor’s mansion.

But don’t worry, we won’t let people forget. Bill Schuette is not only not fit to be governor, he owes the taxpayers of Michigan an enormous sum of money.