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Howes: Convictions or not, charges in Flint water investigation are a political boon for AG Schuette

Jun 15, 2017

Those involuntary manslaughter charges against state health director Nick Lyon and four others in the Flint water disaster push things right into Governor Snyder's inner circle.

As he spoke to Stateside about the charges, Attorney General Bill Schuette said he wants to continue to hold those responsible for the Flint water crisis accountable.

Schuette is delivering a message that one would expect to hear from a state attorney general, but Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says there's also a healthy dose of politics in the mix.

That's due in large part to the fact that he is widely expected to announce his candidacy for governor soon.

“Schuette is in a difficult spot here,” Howes said. “If he doesn’t move ahead and do his job…people are going to say he’s a Republican covering for a Republican governor and a Republican administration. If he does move ahead in the way he is, people are going to criticize him and say he’s positioning himself for a run for governor.”

Howes said he doesn’t think Schuette has a choice other than to continue the investigation into the Flint water crisis. That includes investigating members of Governor Snyder’s inner circle and, potentially, the governor himself. Schuette has said his attempts to interview Governor Snyder have failed.

Even if Schuette doesn’t get convictions in the charges related to the Flint water crisis investigation, Howes said, there’s still a political benefit to aggressively pursuing the case.

The chief opponent Schuette will face if he attempts to claim the Republican nomination for Michigan’s next governor will be current Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, whose name is inextricably tied to the Snyder administration and the Flint water crisis.

Listen to the entire conversation with Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, above.

Daniel Howes is a columnist with the Detroit News. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan. 

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