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Bill Schuette

There is a saying in politics that three-quarters of what you do in a campaign doesn’t matter -- you just don’t know which three quarters until after the campaign is over.

That’s because there are so many variables that can make a difference once the voting starts, so candidates, campaigns, and political parties do all they can to gain every marginal advantage.

A report says as many as 15 people sent complaints to the Attorney General Bill Schuette's office more than a year before an investigation into the water crisis was launched.
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) reported this week that Flint residents contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office long before he launched an investigation into what became known as the Flint Water Crisis.

Democrats have accused the Republican of ignoring those complaints, and only beginning an investigation after news media coverage became so prominent.

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas join Stateside for their weekly political roundup to talk about the issue.

A person marking a ballot.
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals court has declined to stay a lower court ruling that declared Michigan's ban on straight-ticket voting unconstitutional.

Barring a successful emergency appeal by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the decision means straight-ticket voting will remain available to Michigan voters in November's general election. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge has agreed to consolidate the criminal cases against eight defendants related to the Flint water crisis.

Genesee District Judge Tracy Collier-Nix agreed to consolidate the criminal cases.  The cases involve current and former employees with the departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services. The ruling only applies through the preliminary exam phase.

A spokeswoman with the Michigan Attorney General’s office calls the move “procedural”.  AG office spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says, ”All cases were consolidated for judicial economy.”

Traffic lights
Thomas Hawk / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Sit at enough stoplights, and chances are you will eventually have a person walk up to your car and ask for money. Firefighters do it for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Knights of Columbus does it. Sometimes they give you little paper flowers or Tootsie Rolls.

But Attorney General Bill Schuette says this violates the Motor Vehicle Code. Schuette says unless money is exchanged for goods or services, the person soliciting is committing a civil infraction.

Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is charging six more state employees in connection with the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

  Michigan delegates to the Republican National Convention are focused on picking a presidential nominee.  

But some of them are also thinking about the Michigan governor’s race in 2018.

The house band at the House of Blues played oldies Sunday night while Michigan delegates mixed and mingled.  

The event was one of many during the lead-up to the four-day Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It was hosted by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s drinking water crisis took center stage at the Republican National Convention today, if only for a moment.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is the only Michigander scheduled to speak from the podium during the convention’s four-day run at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Joe Ross / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 / cropped

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says he's slated to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

In a message on his Facebook page, Schuette says Cleveland is an exciting opportunity to "build a unified team" and "take back the presidency."

“We simply will not turn the keys to the White House over to Hillary Clinton. And Cleveland is where it all starts,” Schutte said.

The post doesn't mention presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Once upon a time there was a Republican politician who took office at a time when the nation was bitterly divided over social issues.

He knew this was not the way things should be.

“We are not enemies, but friends,” he pleaded with his people. He told them he was optimistic that America would do better, and that our hearts would be touched by “the better angels of our nature.”

GOP schism deepens after Flint water crisis

Jul 9, 2016
The Detroit News

Credit good ol’ politics for the widening split separating Michigan’s top two Republicans.

The legal jeopardy posed by the Flint water crisis—and controversial decisions affecting special interests—are exposing Attorney General Bill Schuette’s unmistakable desire to succeed Rick Snyder as governor come 2018.

Not that the AG will say so. The growing record of disagreements between Schuette and Snyder is producing a special kind of political fallout: It’s positioning the AG for the state’s top office, and sometimes doing it at the expense of the sitting governor.

Left courtesy of michigan.gov/Right courtesty of Michigan Attorney General's office

This week, State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision regarding teacher pay, he'll have to hire his own attorney.

The AG is sitting this one out.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the ever-widening split between Michigan's two top Republicans. 

Earth First

A group of Earth First activists held a rowdy protest at the Midland home of State Attorney General Bill Schuette to demand the immediate shutdown of an aging oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. 

A statement by Earth First issued after the protest says until Schuette shuts down Enbridge Line 5, he can expect more protests at his home.

Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says protesters violently beat on the door and windows while Schuette's wife was home alone, and they defaced the property. 

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision over teacher pay, he's on his own.

Many in Michigan are viewing the announcement as a sign that the relationship between the AG and the governor, once icy, has now all but frozen over.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it will be up to Governor Rick Snyder to hire his own attorney if the administration pursues an appeal of a court decision. It says the state owes roughly $550 million dollars to teachers for illegally withholding 3% of their paychecks to fund retirement health benefits.

  

Schuette’s spokeswoman, Andrea Bitely, says the attorney general doesn’t think the state can win the case. 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says lawyers hired by Governor Rick Snyder won't turn over documents demanded by his Flint investigation team. 

As of now, taxpayers are paying for both the AG's special investigation as well as Governor Snyder's attorneys, which, at least from the AG's special investigator Todd Flood's point of view, are not cooperating fully with the investigation. 

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With just 14 days left to charge former Detroit Police Commander James Tolbert for perjury, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office is “watching the case, and we’ll see what decision [Wayne County Prosecutor] Kym [Worthy] makes.”

Schuette declined to say whether he’d step in to press charges against Tolbert if Worthy doesn’t.

“I’m not going to speculate on what I might do,” Schuette said Tuesday. “The point is, we’re watching the case.”

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has been in the news a lot lately. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the climbing price tag on Schuette's Flint water investigation, his appeal to Michigan voters, and whether it's likely he'll run for governor in 2018.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says lawyers hired by Governor Rick Snyder at public expense are delaying progress in the criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.

VW showed off their Gold TDI Clean Diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The company has since admitted to evading emissions standards for the last seven years.
wikimedia user Mariordo / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says more than 10,000 Volkswagen diesel car owners in Michigan will get payments as part of a settlement with the German company over major emissions violations.

Volkswagen installed software in 500,000 cars sold across the U.S. that concealed the cars' true emissions from regulators.  Those emissions were up to 40 times the allowable standard of nitrogen oxides (NOx),  harmful pollutants linked to asthma and heart attacks.

Attorney General Bill Schuette faces legal complexities in his civil lawsuit to acquire damages for Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today he's suing companies that he says allowed the Flint water disaster to, in his words, "occur, continue and worsen."

an e-reader on top of a stack of books
Tina Franklin / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you’re an e-book fan, you should check your online accounts for new credits this week:  Apple might owe you a refund as part of a price-fixing settlement.

Thirty-three states, including Michigan, sued Apple and five e-book publishers in 2012 for federal anti-trust violations.

They were accused of fixing e-book prices between 2010 and 2012.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
(Courtesy of the Michigan Attorney General's office)

The U.S. Supreme Court has stymied the Michigan Attorney General’s second bid to put some new air pollution rules on hold.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette spearheaded a case, Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that challenged the EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Those rules limit mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

In 2015, the Supreme Court handed Schuette a victory when it narrowly ruled the EPA didn’t properly consider the cost to polluters when making the rule.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General is making what his office is calling a “significant” announcement in his Flint water investigation Wednesday

It's expected criminal charges will be announced.

Attorney General Bill Schuette launched the investigation three months ago into whether any state laws were broken in the Flint water crisis.

A series of decisions designed to save money by switching Flint’s drinking water source resulted in the city’s pipes being damaged. The pipes continue to leach lead into the city of 100 thousand’s drinking water. 

Shayan Sanyal / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

That’s what a case coming before the Michigan Supreme Court this week will decide.

The defendant here is Lorinda Swain, who was convicted in 2002 for sexually abusing her adopted son.

But her son later told the court he’d lied about the abuse. After more than seven years in prison, Swain was let out on bond when a judge ruled she deserved a new trial.

But the Court of Appeals overruled that decision two separate times. Now the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case.

Yet  there’s a lot more at stake here than just whether one woman will get a new trial.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“Disheartening,” says Michigan’s attorney general.

“A betrayal,” says the Ingham County sheriff.

They are talking about a laundry list of criminal charges filed today against a long-time county prosecutor.

Stuart Dunnings lll has been Ingham County’s prosecutor for nearly 20 years.

He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Dunnings was arrested at a Lansing-area coffee shop this morning. He’s been charged with multiple prostitution-related charges, including soliciting and pandering. He’s also charged with neglect of office.

Gov. Snyder at a press conference in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder hired two outside lawyers to assist him with representation in a number of ongoing legal investigations related to the Flint water crisis.

The contracts are with Eugene Driker, a civil defense attorney, and Brian Lennon, a criminal defense attorney.

Ari Adler, spokesman for the Governor, told Crain's Detroit Business and the Detroit Free Press that the outside council will help Gov. Snyder with civil representation and to search and process emails and other records connected to the crisis.

Courser-Gamrat websites

  LAPEER, Mich. (AP) - A former state lawmaker forced out of office in a sex scandal says criminal charges against are him are "nonsensical" and "political."

  Todd Courser responded Saturday on Facebook, a day after Attorney General Bill Schuette charged him with perjury and misconduct in office.

  Courser, a Republican from Lapeer County, resigned in September as his House colleagues were poised to kick him out. He had an affair with another lawmaker, Cindy Gamrat, but their legal troubles are tied to their attempt to cover it up.

Cobb power plant in Muskegon, which shut down in April 2016
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined a 20-state effort to halt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of its Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, which is aimed at limiting mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants.

The application for a stay alleges that the rule has already caused utilities to spend $9.6 billion, for only $4 billion to $6 billion in health benefits.

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