Bill Schuette hasn’t filed paperwork to run for governor in Michigan yet but there are plenty of signs that he’s going to. For instance, he has already raised nearly $1.6 million.
But the clearest evidence is that the man who has spent millions upon millions of our tax dollars to promote his extremist conservative views has finally started doing his damn job. He’s spent the past 7 years fighting marriage equality and trying to stop environmental clean ups in other states and supporting Arizona’s racist “Papers, please” law and fighting against adoption rights for LGBTQ couples and trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act and working to kneecap workers’ unions and working to keep our odious and anti-democratic Emergency Manager law in place and supporting Hobby Lobby when they tried to prevent their employees from getting contraception paid for by their health insurance and shielding big pharmaceutical companies from the harm their drugs do by supporting an drug maker immunity law. (I documented this all HERE.)
But now – NOW! – our AG has actually started to do what the voters of Michigan elected him to do: protect citizens against crime and negligence. First it was going after members of Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration in the Flint Water Crisis, a crass exploitation of a human-caused catastrophe to distance himself from Snyder’s political toxicity.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced criminal charges Monday against 11 former caregivers at the state-run Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, alleging they falsified records to cover up neglect at the facility.
Schuette’s office also investigated several complaints of alleged resident mistreatment but said there was not sufficient evidence to pursue more serious vulnerable adult abuse charges against any workers at the veterans home.
The attorney general launched the probe in May 2016 following a scathing state audit that revealed “a troubling pattern of mismanagement” at the Grand Rapids facility, which prompted a state government overhaul of how nursing care is provided to Michigan veterans.
It’s good that he’s doing this. VERY good. It’s also many years too late. Here’s Democratic House Rep. Winnie Brinks:
Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette have known about the appalling conditions at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans since 2013. I implored the governor to open an investigation then, but he wouldn’t take action, and so our veterans needlessly suffered for four years, which is inexcusable.
And here’s Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel:
Bill Schuette did absolutely nothing until apparently he wants to run for governor, and now all of a sudden he wants to grandstand on the issue.
Schuette stood by why these men and women suffered, doing nothing to stop it or to punish those responsible. Now that it’s politically expedient, he’s “Schuette on Duty”.
And let us not forget, this is the classic example of how privatizing essential government services to a for-profit corporation harms people, in this case vulnerable elderly heroes. Here’s what I wrote in 2016 in a piece titled “Mistreatment of elderly veterans result of privatizing government services to for-profit group with no background in healthcare”:
The fact is that the Snyder administration attempted to carve $4 million of annual costs out of a single healthcare facility for military veterans and, in the process of awarding the work to a company with no background in providing healthcare, the veterans suffered. Not surprisingly, J2S Group has high turnover and trouble maintaining a full staff. That’s what happens when you pay people poorly and overwork them, all in the name of corporate profits.
J2S Group claims they “never run short staffed” and are passionate about not only supplying the right number of staff but providing a quality of staff that result in an exceptional work environment”. They may be passionate about that but they have clearly proven to be incapable of achieving it.
The real question here is how J2S Group secured the contract in the first place. How did a company founded by two college drop outs with no background whatsoever in providing healthcare services end up with a lucrative state government contract to care for elderly, disable military veterans? And how is it that, after years and years of proven malfeasance and inadequacy, they have kept their contract and continue to profit from taxpayer dollars?
If you think that Bill Schuette would reverse the Republican agenda that includes privatizing every government service that isn’t nailed down, you are sadly mistaken. He is a tea partiers tea partier and a corporate shill to boot. If he becomes governor of Michigan. It won’t just be bad.
It will be worse.