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Topic: Male war against Gretchen Whitmer?

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El Supremo

Pam Faris

This is from MIRS News and came out of a discussion I had with Tim Skubick:
Rep. Faris Asks: Where Were the Women?
Rep. Pam FARIS (D-Clio) has been watching the heightened media attention about organized labor and other Michigan Democratic Party operatives approaching U.S. Sen. Gary PETERS (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Rep. Dan KILDEE (D-Flint Twp.) about giving the 2018 governor's race a look or second look.

Her reaction?

"Very disappointing," she said. "It's disappointing that they had all males in a room without any female input on who they want to be the next gubernatorial nominee for the Democratic Party."

The Genesee County House member reflected that women will play a major role in this election and "will make a difference (by) heavily voting" and "it's bothersome that all men would be in a room to make that kind of a decision."

MIRS reported two weeks ago that Peters was approached about running for governor and said no (See "Peters Not Interested In Governor '18," 1/3/1Cool and four weeks ago that Kildee turned down a request to reconsider his decision not to get into the race (See "Kildee Not Reconsidering," 12/18/17).

Bridge Magazine elaborated on the developments in a report earlier this week, which would appear to be a slight to Democratic front runner Gretchen WHITMER, who, ironically, was approached in 2014 to get into that race because of concerns with then front-runner MDP Mark SCHAUER (See "UAW Prez Asks Whitmer To Reconsider Gov's Race," 1/13/14).

Whitmer said she is not bothered by all the chatter over the apparent hunt for somebody else to run, but Faris said she thinks the media reports hang Whitmer out to dry and forces her to comment on the headlines that people don't want her.

"It's very disappointing when you get down to that kind of nitty gritty and let it go out publicly, we're eating our own," Faris said.

Instead of holding meetings about how Whitmer isn't well-known in metro Detroit, the third-term House member said the men should be helping the former Senate Minority Leader.

"She can still connect in Southeast Michigan," Faris said. "Quite frankly, if they were helping her make that connection in any area of the state and they had women in that room helping to make that connection, I think it'd be a lot different."

Remember, the UAW wasn't among the first organized labor groups on the bus for Attorney General Jennifer GRANHOLM in 2002 when she won the nomination.

In the end, UAW President Dennis WILLIAMS, Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN and Rev. Wendell ANTHONY will promote the Democratic nominee, presuming it's Whitmer, as the best leader for Michigan.

Until then, sources lament that the party's biggest supporters are looking for a "magical," "perfect" candidate that doesn't exist because they're "scared to death" about the prospect of another four years of a Republican governor.
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:13 am 
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El Supremo

Gretchen Whitmer
Fighter for Michigan. Former prosecutor and Senate Democratic leader. Proud mom.

I’m ready — are you?

I’m no stranger to fights. As Ingham County Prosecutor and as Democratic leader in the Senate, I’ve led a lot of tough ones. Fights to protect workers’ rights, fights to level the playing field for everyone, fights to protect kids and to hold government accountable.

No matter the outcome, the fight was always worth it for what it said to the people we were fighting for. To the men and women who don’t know if they can count on their paycheck, to the students and their families taking on frightening amounts of college debt, to the women whose access to health care is threatened, to the brick and mortar business owner competing with the world on an unlevel playing field.

And it was worth it because it reinforced why I fight.

I love the state of Michigan. I love the people of Michigan. And when I was growing up, the opportunities in Michigan were the best in the world.

Opportunities to find and keep a good paying job, to build a business, to enjoy our land and drink pure, clean water, to create a future for our children. People moved to Michigan because we offered the best quality of life.

I remember when Michigan was bold. When we didn’t just face challenges — we beat them. That’s why I know we can build a Michigan with opportunities that rival those from our past. A state where opportunities are available to every Michigander — regardless of gender or race or religion or who you love or where you were born — if you work hard and play by the rules.

And that’s why, today, I filed the paperwork to run for Governor.

Together we can build the Michigan we believe in, because we still have what we need most — the strength, the talent, the vision and the grit of the incredible people of this state.

For too long, our leaders have been content to manage our decline. We went from leading the nation to lagging. If we want change, we can’t wait for Washington to solve our problems. And we can’t elect the same old politicians, on the same old platforms and expect a different result. We can do better. We deserve better.

And we can’t wait. Too many people in Michigan need good-paying jobs, today. Right now, too many small business owners know the deck is stacked against them. Too many families can’t trust that their government is looking out for their health and safety. Too many children aren’t prepared for their futures. And too many Michiganders face the threat of discrimination.

It’s never been more critical to join the fight. I’m ready — are you? Forward this email to five friends and find out how you can get involved at gretchenwhitmer.com.

Join me and we’ll win this fight for Michigan.

Gretchen Whitmer to file for 2018 Michigan governor's race
Kathleen Gray , Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau 2:48 p.m. EST January 3,
(Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

Former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer will be the first candidate to officially jump into the 2018 election pool, by filing paperwork with the Secretary of State later today to set up a committee to run for governor.

It wasn’t a big announcement or the beginning of a speaking tour around the state. Rather, filing the paperwork is a prerequisite for Whitmer if she wants to begin accepting contributions to her campaign.

A formal announcement by the East Lansing Democrat will come later this month, according to sources close to Whitmer.

2018 Michigan governor's election bubbles below surface at Mackinac

The filing is not a surprise. Whitmer has been saying for months that she plans to run to succeed Gov. Rick Snyder, an Ann Arbor Republican who can’t run again because of term limits.

But she becomes the first of what will surely be a crowded field of candidates to fill an open gubernatorial seat. Other potential candidates are U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Republicans Attorney General Bill Schuette, of Midland, and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley of Portland. All have said they’re contemplating a run for the seat.

Kildee will make a decision about the race in the coming months, said his spokesman Mitch Rivard.

"Congressman Kildee appreciates the encouragement he is getting from across the state to run for Governor. Right now, he is focused on representing his constituents in Congress, and in the coming months he will make a decision about where he can do the most good for Michigan families," he said in a statement.

Although she’s been out of state office since 2015, after leaving the Senate because of term limits, Whitmer was appointed to fill the vacant Ingham County Prosecutor’s spot in May of 2016 through the end of the year after then Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings announced his resignation after being charged and ultimately convicted of soliciting prostitutes.

Whitmer also contemplated a run for Attorney General in 2009 and for Governor in 2013, but dropped those plans because of family concerns at the time.

She’s also been a fixture on the Democratic club circuit around the state, making appearances to Democratic Party and other progressive organizations across Michigan and speaking out consistently on social media.

The day after the Nov. 8 election, she wrote on Facebook, “Today, I'm angry. But tomorrow, I am moving forward because I am more determined than ever to fight for a better Michigan that respects one another, that celebrates our differences while valuing our shared strengths, and believes that each and every one of us deserves the opportunity to succeed.”

Whitmer is a former state Representative, serving from 2001-2006 when she ran to fill a vacancy created by then Sen. Virg Bernero, who left his seat to become Mayor of Lansing. She served in the Senate from 2006-2014, where she became a frequent and loud voice of opposition to Republican policies.

When she told her personal story of being raped more than 20 years ago during a 2013 speech on the Senate floor to illustrate her opposition to a bill that would require people to buy an additional rider to their insurance to get an abortion covered, Whitmer got national attention and a stronger voice on issues surrounding women’s health concerns.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, kgray99@freepress.com or on Twitter @michpoligal
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:18 am 
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El Supremo

Detroit Dems seek alternative to Gretchen Whitmer ... - Bridge Magazine
5 days ago - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and union allies are trying to woo another Democrat to campaign for Michigan governor amid concerns about the viability of front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, Bridge Magazine has learned. This month, Duggan reached out to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield ...
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:20 am 
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El Supremo

Home Bridge Magazine
News and analysis from The Center for Michigan

Public Sector
Detroit Dems seek alternative to Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan governor race

Gretchen Whitmer speaks to supporters on Monday after receiving the Michigan Education Association endorsement. (Bridge photo by Joel Kurth)

Posted on: January 15, 2018 Written by: Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson Topic: Public Sector

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and union allies are trying to woo another Democrat to campaign for Michigan governor amid concerns about the viability of front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, Bridge Magazine has learned.

This month, Duggan reached out to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, Bridge learned from six sources with knowledge of the effort, including three party officials. In a January meeting described by one observer as a “full court press,” Duggan, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, other union leaders, and powerful Detroit pastor the Rev. Wendell Anthony tried to persuade Peters to enter the campaign, promising substantial help with fundraising, the sources said.

Peters turned them down. It’s the latest in a series of backdoor overtures to recruit another Democrat into the race. Separately, sources also confirmed to Bridge on Monday that U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, was approached within the past 10 days by Democratic operatives in southeast Michigan about entering the race.

RELATED STORY: Why Democratic candidates need Detroit to become governor

“People do, from time to time, try to get me to change my mind,” Kildee told Bridge on Monday. “But that’s not going to happen. I’m full-steam ahead doing what I’m doing in Congress.”

Kildee declined further comment. Peters, a first-term U.S Senator, issued a statement late Monday through his communications director that did not specifically address his recruitment for the governor's race.

"Senator Peters is focused on his job as a United States Senator for the people of Michigan and will not be running for Governor," Amber Moon, his spokeswoman, said in an email.

Williams, whose union represents 400,000 active auto workers, confirmed through a spokesman he attended the meeting with Duggan and Peters.

“It was a great meeting. We talked about issues that affect Michigan and the United States,” Williams said, declining further comment.

Duggan also wouldn’t discuss the substance of the meeting, issuing a statement through his chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, saying the mayor “believes it is essential for Michigan to elect a Democratic governor … and has had positive meetings with Gretchen Whitmer as well as other potential candidates as part of the process.”

The existence of the recruiting campaign, described by one as “the worst-kept secret in town,” highlights growing concern among Democrats with Whitmer, and shifting currents within the state party less than 10 months before the election. Last year, a string of high-profile Democrats opted out of the race for governor, hoping the party would unite around Whitmer of East Lansing, the state’s former Senate minority leader.

RELATED: You asked. We listened. Bridge boosts Lansing watchdog team.

Since last year, however, anxiety has increased about her campaign momentum, fundraising and name recognition, particularly in southeast Michigan, which is home to about half the state’s voters.

“The bottom line is, because of polling numbers, Gretchen is (perceived as) not very strong in southeast Michigan, and the fear is if you can’t win in Macomb County or Detroit, you can’t win,” said pollster Ed Sarpolus, executive director of the Target-Insyght firm in Lansing.

The worry among some Democrats is that, even if Whitmer were to prevail, it would be a low turnout election and hurt the party’s chances in other state races in November, Sarpolus said.

Speaking Monday to Bridge after receiving the endorsement of the state’s largest teachers union, the Michigan Education Association, Whitmer said she’s heard “all sorts of things” and will “keep doing the work that I’m doing.”

“We have broken every record of any campaign at this point in Michigan’s history. If there’s some sort of conversation going on in an echo chamber, we don’t see it on the front line and that’s all that matters.” ‒ Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer, on concerns about her campaign

“We have seen an enormous level of excitement across the state: unprecedented fundraising; volunteer signups; I’ve been to 50 out of the (state’s) 83 counties,” Whitmer said following an event in Center Line in Macomb County.

“We have broken every record of any campaign at this point in Michigan’s history. If there’s some sort of conversation going on in an echo chamber, we don’t see it on the front line and that’s all that matters.”

Michigan Democratic Party chairman Brandon Dillon did not return a message seeking comment Monday.

Whitmer isn’t the only Democrat in the race. Also campaigning are Abdul El-Sayed, Detroit’s former health department director; Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar and businessman Bill Cobbs.

Republican candidates include Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, and several others.

Supporters cheer Democratic governor candidate Gretchen Whitmer during a Michigan Education Association event on Monday in Center Line in Macomb County. (Bridge photo by Joel Kurth)

‘A lot of hand-wringing’
For Democrats, the upheaval isn’t exactly new. Similar, behind-the-scenes recruitment efforts preceded campaigns of Jennifer Granholm in 2002 (she won), and then-Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in 2010 (he lost).

But several high-profile Democrats told Bridge they’d hoped for smoother sailing this year, considering Republican President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings and outgoing, term-limited Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, whose second term and overall popularity were battered by the Flint Water Crisis.

“It’s a mess right now. Honestly,” said one Democratic leader from southeast Michigan. Like others in this article, he has participated in party discussions concerning Whitmer but spoke to Bridge only on background, citing the sensitive nature of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

“The stakes are so high for Democrats, but there’s a lot of tensions. There’s well-intentioned institutional Democrats, insurgent Berniecrats (who supported Bernie Sanders in his bid for president in 2016) and other traditional stakeholders. And it’s all colliding with fears of gender bias in getting someone (other than Whitmer) to enter this race. There’s a lot of hand-wringing right now.”

At least three Democratic leaders who spoke to Bridge used the same phrase in discussing Whitmer’s campaign: “It hasn’t gained traction.” Two others described a “lack of enthusiasm” they fear would depress turnout.

“The feeling among Democrats with Whitmer is ‘I’m going to fall in line. I’m not going to fall in love,’” one high-ranking Democrat from suburban Detroit told Bridge.

Another high-ranking Democrat bemoaned “we should have a clear advantage this year. Now the race is a jump ball, and it shouldn’t have been.”

Steve Hood, a Detroit political consultant, said the discussions reveal overall frustrations with what he called Whitmer’s “lackluster” campaign.

“When Whitmer is Whitmer, and not a programmed robot by her people, she is awesome,” said Hood. “But she’s not firing up her base because she seems too programmed.”

Whitmer, a former member of both the Michigan House and Senate, is running on traditional Democratic causes – expanding jobs, women’s rights, protecting the environment and improving infrastructure. During the Monday event, she described herself as a fighter and strong advocate of teachers.

Heaster Wheeler, the former director of the Detroit NAACP, said any jockeying and “robust debate” within the primary may sharpen Whitmer’s performance for a bruising general election.

“There’s going to be a lot of conversation as to who is going to be the (nominee) and it’s far from a foregone conclusion,” Wheeler said.

Indeed, election history shows that Democrats from outside the Detroit region have difficulty in governor’s races in Michigan. The last one without Metro Detroit roots: William Comstock of Alpena in 1932.

RELATED STORY: Why Democratic candidates need Detroit to become governor

In the past half-century, Michigan has elected only two Democratic governors, Jim Blanchard of southern Oakland County and Jennifer Granholm, who was general counsel to Duggan’s former boss, the late Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara.

Blanchard lost-reelection in 1990 to Republican challenger John Engler in large part because of depressed turnout in Detroit, stemming largely from then-Mayor Coleman A. Young’s dissatisfaction with Blanchard.

Democratic governor candidate Gretchen Whitmer holds a baby after a campaign stop Monday in Macomb County. (Bridge photo by Joel Kurth)

Sexism at play?
Others in the party and political operatives said the movement not only reflects divisions between southeast Michigan and outstate, but whether women candidates are still being held to an unfair standard.

Whitmer told Bridge she’s happy with polling numbers and is “going toe-to-toe with a Republican who has been running since 1984,” referring to Schuette, a former congressman. A December poll by EPIC-MRA showed Schuette with a 3 percentage point lead, a statistical dead heat.

“Name ID is going to be built quickly, and we have a lot of exciting things in the works,” Whitmer said.

Several polls show Whitmer has a double-digit lead over others in the Democratic primary, and November poll from Target-Insyght showed she had a sizable advantage over hypothetical candidates including Duggan and Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

Whitmer also has a fundraising edge, raising $3 million through 2017, compared with Schuette, who took in $2.3 million.

Pollster Richard Czuba said he senses sexism is at the heart of any talk of finding new candidates.

"She’s dead even with someone (Schuette) who's been in office for 30 years,” said Czuba, president and owner of the Glengariff Group, a polling firm based in Chicago and Lansing. “That's a good thing; she has room to grow.”

Czuba said any man entering the race now could backfire because of growing enthusiasm “amongst women who are wildly moving toward the Democratic side” nationally since Trump took office. Independent voters are “re-engaged and energized” by the Women’s March in January 2017 and scandals involving Trump, Czuba said.

He pointed out that, at this stage in 2014, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer was trailing by a wider margin and there was “no conversation … of replacing” him,” Czuba said.

Whitmer laughed when Bridge asked if she thought sexism was at play, saying she’s “not going to guess” about the motives of any possible opponents.

One Democratic-friendly political consultant told Bridge that efforts by Duggan to reshape the race are too little, too late. Tired of questions about his own ambitions for governor, Duggan irritably told a reporter in 2015 that he would not be a candidate, adding, “Don’t ask me again.”

“He was the guy who could have played king-maker earlier,” the consultant said, "but he didn’t do it.”
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:22 am 
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El Supremo

Bridge magazine
Why Democratic candidates need Detroit to become governor

Gretchen Whitmer, the current Democratic frontrunner for Michigan governor in 2018, faces some geographic headwinds to a successful race.

Posted on: January 15, 2018 Written by: John Bebow Topic: Public Sector
Southeastern Michigan – Detroit and Wayne County, in particular – have long been crucial to Democrats’ fortunes in gubernatorial elections.

That’s why reported efforts of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other Democratic leaders to seek alternatives to party front-runner Gretchen Whitmer raise big questions about Dems’ chances to win the governor’s race later this year.

If Detroit support is tepid, so are Democrats’ chances.

“We should have had a clear advantage this year” in a Donald Trump backlash, a Michigan Democratic Party insider theorized to Bridge on Monday. “Now the race is a jump ball and it shouldn’t have been.”

You have to go all the way back to the 1932 election of Alpena’s William Comstock to find a Democrat governor without strong Metro Detroit roots. For decades, Detroit and inner-ring suburbs have voted overwhelmingly Democratic.

MORE COVERAGE: Some Dems seek alternative to Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan governor race

Michigan has elected only two Democratic governors in the past half-century: Jim Blanchard of southern Oakland County and Jennifer Granholm of western Wayne County.

In 1990, Blanchard, a former congressman from Ferndale just north of Detroit, sought a third term as governor. After polling well ahead for much of the race, Blanchard lost at the wire to John Engler, the Republican majority leader of the Michigan Senate.

“Democratic numbers were definitely down that year and Detroit was a significant part of that,” recalled Lansing public relations executive Roger Martin, who at that time was a Detroit News political correspondent and co-authored the book, “The Journey of John Engler,” about the 1990 race.

Detroit Mayor “Coleman Young was not enthusiastic about another Blanchard term,” Martin said. “He didn’t think Blanchard did enough for Detroit.”

In 2002, Wayne County Democrat Jennifer Granholm garnered nearly 30 percent more statewide gubernatorial votes than Blanchard did in losing 12 years earlier.

Riding initially on the strength of the Ed McNamara-Mike Duggan Wayne County political machine, Granholm served two terms as governor and is the last Democrat to win the office.

Granholm tallied more than 1.6 million votes in her first successful run for governor in 2002.

The Democratic Party’s next two general election gubernatorial candidates were both out-staters.

In 2010, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero collected 21 percent fewer votes statewide and 18 percent fewer voters in Wayne County than Granholm’s first run.

In 2014, former Battle Creek Congressman Mark Schauer collected nearly 10 percent fewer votes statewide and 16 percent fewer votes in Wayne County than Granholm’s first run.
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:25 am 
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El Supremo

Bridge Magazine
News and analysis from The Center for Michigan

Michigan Truth Squad
Michigan Truth Squad: Gretchen Whitmer’s role in Larry Nassar case
Posted on: January 18, 2018 Written by: Lindsay VanHulle, Mike Wilkinson Topic: Michigan Truth Squad

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer touts her record as Ingham County prosecutor in restoring integrity to an office that had been rocked by a sex scandal, and in her commitment to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

Fighting sexual assault is an issue critical to Whitmer, and a very personal one. In 2013, on the floor of the Michigan Senate, she shared a story of being raped while in college as lawmakers debated legislation that would require the purchase of an insurance rider to cover abortion services, even in cases of rape or incest.

But her tenure as county prosecutor has come under fire recently, with a law enforcement official alleging she was reluctant to prosecute a Michigan State University physician, Larry Nassar, who molested more than 100 girls and young women under the guise of performing sports treatments or examinations.

Former Michigan State University physician and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. He still faces sentencing for molesting more than 100 girls under the guise of performing treatment as a sports physician.

The Nassar case could follow Whitmer and Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette (also a candidate for governor) throughout this year’s campaign, should they win their respective primaries. Schuette’s office ultimately charged Nassar with criminal sexual conduct for incidents in Ingham and Eaton counties; sentencing is happening this week.

The claim
“As Ingham County Prosecutor,” Whitmer says on her campaign website, “I implemented a new domestic violence unit, and am committed to bringing together university officials, law enforcement, students, and legislators to end sexual assaults on college campuses.”

But her claim of being a protector of assault victims has been challenged by an account from Michigan State University Police Chief Jim Dunlap, who told The Detroit News in December that Whitmer wanted to focus on the child pornography charges against Nassar — which ultimately were charged at the federal level — instead of also pursuing sexual assault cases against Nassar, because child porn would be “relatively easy to convict on.”

Whitmer strongly denies she waffled on pursuing the assault claims.

The facts
After a lengthy career in the Michigan Legislature, including as Senate Minority Leader, Whitmer served as Ingham County prosecutor for six months in 2016 following the resignation of longtime prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III. Dunnings pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges after investigators found he’d paid multiple women for sex over several years.

She created a domestic violence unit within the prosecutor’s office and assigned an assistant prosecutor to work on those cases, according to Ingham County.

And she became involved in the Nassar case. Nassar, a former MSU physician and USA Gymnastics team doctor, recently was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. He faces sentencing this week on state charges for sexually molesting more than 100 girls or young women during sports examinations.

Whitmer has called for an independent investigation into MSU’s handling of the Nassar case, as well as for MSU President Lou Anna Simon to resign.

Then, in December, Dunlap, the MSU police chief, suggested in media reports that Whitmer was willing to take the easier road to prosecuting Nassar, by charging him with child porn and avoiding the more difficult-to-prove allegations of sexual abuse collected by police investigators.

“She told us in a meeting that her decision was to move forward on the child sexually abusive material and not the criminal sexual assaults,” Dunlap told The Detroit News. “The big issue is we wanted to move forward on the (assault) cases and not settle for the (pornography) case.”

Dunlap did not respond to multiple messages from Truth Squad about his characterization of that meeting. An MSU spokesman declined to comment, referring questions to Dunlap.

Whitmer told Truth Squad in an interview that police provided enough information to gain her office's support for the search warrant of Nassar's home, which led to the discovery of the child pornography.

But she said the department never provided more detailed police reports that would support the issuance of an arrest warrant for assault. She said the police never requested such a warrant, which she said is a necessity before a prosecutor can proceed.

"Before any prosecutor can bring charges, the police have to bring police reports and make a warrant request, an arrest warrant request," Whitmer said. "(The) Michigan State police department never brought police reports to the Ingham County prosecutor's office, nor did they make an arrest warrant request. They decided to go to the attorney general for that because (of) the fact the crimes took place in multiple counties."

Whitmer said it was after her October 2016 meeting with Dunlap that Dunlap went to the state attorney general's office.

"We were talking about jurisdiction and strategy, and the decision to go to the attorney general came as a result of that," she said.

The state attorney general, not the county prosecutor, was the right office to pursue charges because the alleged assault incidents took place in more than one county, she said.

Lisa McCormick, chief assistant prosecutor for Ingham County, confirmed Whitmer’s account of events to Truth Squad.

“I just absolutely disagree” with Dunlap’s characterization, McCormick said. “I don’t know how we could ever be reluctant to charge anyone when he never provided us with the police reports.”

McCormick said the office never received police reports, warrant requests or witness lists from MSU’s police department that would have allowed county prosecutors to determine appropriate charges.

“There is no way for a prosecutor to charge someone without the warrant request, the witness list and the police report,” she said, adding: “It would be unethical to do otherwise.”

In a 2016 email exchange between Whitmer and Dunlap, first requested under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act by Gongwer News Service, and provided to Truth Squad, Whitmer told the chief her office was “eager to read any and all police reports you send our way.”

“I believe we share the dual goals of protecting the victim and ensuring we are successful in getting the maximum penalty for the defendant,” she wrote on Oct. 5, 2016. “And while I understand your desire to make an arrest as soon as possible, I hope you understand that we think it is important to flesh out the issues in the case now that the (U.S. attorney’s office) is involved.”

Dunlap responded the next day: “As we discussed, I wanted to have the opportunity to look at the best approach regarding these cases including the Office of Attorney General. I met with their office this morning and we discussed the issues of continuity and multiple jurisdictions. They felt and I agreed that given the issues of multiple venues and the fact that we were asked to take the lead on other cases, the best decision would be for their office to handle the review of these cases. It is our intent to have the federal issues remain with the US Attorney.”

According to Gongwer, and emails provided to Truth Squad by Schuette’s office, Dunlap had emailed Schuette on Oct. 4, 2016, writing of victims in the case: “I am hopeful now they will get an advocate.”

Schuette wrote in response: “I am your advocate. Look forward to working with you.”

Schuette ultimately would lead the state criminal case against Nassar that resulted in convictions on criminal sexual conduct charges.

“It quickly became clear that Dr. Nassar committed crimes in multiple jurisdictions, including communities outside of Ingham County, and therefore engaging state and federal prosecutors was in the best interest of the victims,” Whitmer wrote in an essay published on Medium.

“I’m certainly no fan of our politically-driven Attorney General, but when a case grows beyond the jurisdiction of a county prosecutor, justice is best served by handing the case over to the statewide Attorney General’s office to prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law,” she wrote. “It was without question the right thing to do in the best interest of victims seeking justice, first and foremost. Further, consolidation of these cases into the Attorney General’s office was the right move for the victims of Dr. Nassar because it only required these courageous young women to relive and retell their horrifying experiences once, rather than in multiple courtrooms across multiple counties.”

Whitmer said in the essay that she disagrees with people who say she should have filed the sexual assault charges while in county office because it would have been a good political maneuver.

“To those, I would ask that you stand in front of Dr. Nassar’s victims and tell them that,” she wrote.

The rating: ACCURATE
Gretchen Whitmer is running for governor in no small part on her background as an advocate for sexual assault victims. The allegations by the MSU police chief raised questions about the fierceness of that advocacy in the day-to-day workings of the prosecutor’s office.

The publicly available emails and interviews with those close to the Nassar investigation seem to support Whitmer’s version of events. Dunlap made the explosive allegations; the burden remains with him to support them. He did not respond to requests for comment from Truth Squad about his email exchanges or statements to The Detroit News.

Both Whitmer and Schuette have said publicly that because the sex crimes were committed in multiple jurisdictions, the state Attorney General’s Office was the right office to handle their prosecution.

Clearly, there is always the possibility that more emails or other evidence will emerge that cast doubt on Whitmer’s version of events. We can only go on the documents that have emerged to date.

While Dunlap appears to portray Whitmer as a dithering bureaucrat, the available evidence suggests something else entirely: a prosecutor who put the interests of justice and sexual assault victims ahead of her own political ambitions by allowing the attorney general to spearhead the cases rather than seeking to prosecute through her own office.

Whitmer’s mantle as an advocate for sexual assault victims remains intact.
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:29 am 
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El Supremo

News and analysis from The Center for Michigan

Michigan Truth Squad
Michigan Truth Squad: Bill Schuette’s track record as attorney general
Posted on: January 18, 2018 Written by: Ted Roelofs Topic: Michigan Truth Squad

With less than nine months to election day, two-term GOP Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is taking aim at a job that political observers say he’s had eyes on for years. His party’s presumed frontrunner for governor, Schuette has cast himself as a champion of the people and unafraid to defy big government ‒ from the EPA under President Obama, to fellow Michigan Republican and the outgoing governor, Rick Snyder.

The claim
Schuette’s campaign touts that as state attorney general he “successfully fought” a state $1.7 billion road fix plan championed by Snyder to save money for taxpayers.

Screenshot from Schuette's website

Schuette’s campaign website also says he “successfully sued to stop the Obama Administration from imposing job-killing regulations.” As one example of that, a Schuette spokesperson referred Truth Squad to his lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s coal power plant pollution limits for mercury and other toxins. The spokesperson also pointed to a separate lawsuit challenging the EPA’s authority to curb greenhouse gases from power plants and other sources.

The facts
In 2011, the EPA issued new limits on coal plant pollutants, including mercury, arsenic and other toxins, which the agency said would prevent premature deaths and other health ailments, including asthma.

In 2014, after a federal court upheld the standards, Schuette petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Michigan and 20 other states, seeking to block nationwide costs the EPA estimated at more than $9 billion a year. The costs of implementing the rule, Schuette warned, “would be borne by consumers of electricity” in exchange for “relatively little public health impact” (EPA calculated health benefits at $37 billion to $90 billion a year).

A year later, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision on Schuette’s suit that ordered a reconsideration of the rule, arguing that the EPA had failed to weigh the costs of the measure versus its benefits.

But in 2016, the high court weighed in again, this time declining to intervene in a lower court ruling in the case that upheld EPA standards.

By this time, Michigan’s utilities were already shutting down coal plants as they turned to cleaner sources of energy. In 2014, Consumers Energy in a settlement with the EPA agreed to close seven of its coal-fired plants by 2016 and spend more than $2 billion upgrading pollution equipment at other plants. DTE Energy planned to retire at least two coal-fired plants and said all its remaining plants would meet new EPA standards by April 2016.

Snyder took his name off Schuette’s lawsuit in 2016. A spokesperson for Snyder said at the time: “If an appeal were successful, it wouldn’t have any practical implication because these mercury requirements were already in place.”

Schuette maintains his opposition to the EPA pollution limits in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Before Schuette was elected attorney general in 2010, his GOP predecessor Mike Cox joined other states contesting the EPA’s authority to limit greenhouse gases from power plants and other sources. In 2014, the Supreme Court issued a split decision. It ruled 7-2 that EPA did have authority to regulate emissions from major sources like power plants and refineries. But it also ruled 5-4 that smaller facilities like landfills and chemical plants should be exempt.

“It bears mention that EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” the late Justice Antonin Scalia said in announcing the opinion from the bench.

Apart from his EPA fight, his website hails Schuette as “a fiscal conservative who has successfully fought against tax increases and to allow Michigan families to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

Schuette’s campaign pointed Truth Squad to Schuette’s opposition in March 2015 to a $1.7 billion road funding proposal backed by Snyder.

The proposal – which required voter approval – would have increased the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, removed the sales tax from fuel sales, launched a new wholesale fuel tax and raised registration fees. It would have generated $1.2 billion a year for road and bridge repairs, $300 million for K-12 schools, $100 million for transit, and about $95 million for local governments.

Legislators crafted the complex package after years of wrangling over how to improve Michigan’s deteriorating road network that one study estimated cost individual motorists nearly $700 a year in repair bills.

“Proposal 1 has a lot of potholes,” Schuette said in a statement. “I am positive there are other solutions.”

His public opposition to a measure that had little to do with the duties of his office was unusual – and fueled speculation he would run for governor in 2018.

In May 2015, voters rejected the proposal by a 4-to-1 margin.

The rating: Mostly inaccurate
Schuette is blowing smoke when he says he “successfully sued” the EPA to stop its mercury standards. Those Iimits are in fact now in place, as Michigan utilities have invested billions of dollars upgrading coal plants while closing others.

Schuette won a temporary victory when the Supreme Court ordered another look at the cost of the EPA’s new standards. But the high court ultimately declined to revisit a lower court ruling upholding them. Put another way: He lost.

As for the lawsuit opposing the EPA’s greenhouse gas limits, it’s hard to justify Schuette’s claim he “successfully sued” on this case. He didn’t file to join the suit - that was his predecessor. The Supreme Court affirmed the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions from large power plants. While the court decision limited its authority over smaller emission sources, as Scalia noted, its broader ruling gave the EPA “almost everything it wanted.”

The assertion that he “successfully fought” Proposal 1 is a stretch. The statement implies his opposition was somehow instrumental in its defeat. Those who voted no told reporters it was too complicated, too costly – and didn’t devote all funds raised by the new taxes to roads. The evidence suggests the cumbersome measure fell of its own weight, and not because a high-ranking public official issued a press release against it.
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:32 am 
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News and analysis from The Center for Michigan

Michigan Truth Squad
Michigan Truth Squad: Brian Calley’s claims on state’s economic gains
Posted on: January 18, 2018 Written by: Lindsay VanHulle Topic: Michigan Truth Squad

Then-Rep. Brian Calley attended when Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the divisive Michigan Business Tax into law in 2007.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is running for governor to continue the economic comeback that he says Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration started.

The Republican from Ionia County is running on the Snyder administration’s record to appeal to voters who have supported the governor’s tax and economic growth policies. Calley’s website touts his accomplishments, citing several instances where he said he played a leading role in tax reform.

Snyder is backing his No. 2 over the generally acknowledged GOP front-runner, state Attorney General Bill Schuette — who has had a contentious relationship with the governor. But how much credit can a lieutenant governor rightfully claim for a governor’s political wins?

The claims
“Brian was the driving force behind two historic tax cuts, which has (sic) resulted in increased prosperity and substantial job growth. These reforms took Michigan’s business climate ranking from 40th to 12th and the corporate tax ranking from 49th to 8th. He was the deciding vote to balance the budget, creating more stability for every Michigander.”

That influence extended to his role in“(r)eplacing the job-killing Michigan Business Tax with the simple, fair and efficient Corporate Income Tax…”

The facts
Michigan does rank 12th in overall business tax climate and eighth for corporate taxes on this year’s State Business Tax Climate Index from the Tax Foundation, a right-of-center Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

The Tax Foundation ranked Michigan 49th for corporate taxes in its 2012 ranking — which covered the 2011 tax year, after the state’s business tax changes were adopted but before they went into effect, a Tax Foundation senior policy analyst told Truth Squad via email. However, the state’s overall business tax climate ranking in 2012 was 18th, not 40th, according to the Tax Foundation.

The organization said it could not find a record of a year in which Michigan ranked 40th in overall business tax climate.

When asked to provide an explanation for the 40th ranking, the Calley campaign shared a link to a 2008 CNBC ranking of states on business metrics, in which Michigan was 40th.

When Truth Squad pointed out the campaign compared two different data sources, a spokesman responded: “By any measurement it is indisputable that Michigan's business climate has improved dramatically.”

On the tax reform issue, as lieutenant governor Calley is president of the Michigan Senate and is able to vote in the event of a tie. He did just that in May 2011, when the Senate deadlocked, 19-19, on a bill that included creating a new flat corporate income tax.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley stands alongside Gov. Rick Snyder in May 2011 after he signed legislation to repeal the Michigan Business Tax and replace it with a flat corporate income tax.

The Calley campaign told Truth Squad in an email he “cast the deciding vote on the budget and tax reform in 2011. He was the administration's point person on tax reform (including its development presentation to the legislature) and cutting regulations to make Michigan's economy (more) competitive and kickstart the state's economic comeback. Later he was the administration lead on developing and passing the phase out of the Industrial Personal Property Tax.”

What Calley and his campaign do not mention, however, is that he was for the MBT before he was against it.

Calley was among lawmakers who helped write the business tax in 2007 when he was a first-term state representative. He was named to a conference committee of six legislators that crafted the version of the MBT language that ultimately was adopted. He even attended the bill signing with then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.

Calley told Truth Squad that his role in the legislation that created the MBT was to lower an alternative rate to the MBT paid by small businesses, and increase the number of small businesses that qualified for the alternative rate. In other words, he says his participation helped keep a bad bill from being worse.

“Democrats controlled two-thirds of government at that time, and I was a minority member in the House of Representatives,” Calley told Truth Squad. “Once (Republicans) got control of the Legislature … we could take it a lot further and scrap the old tax code and put something more competitive in.”

The rating: HALF ACCURATE.
Quantifying the influence that a No. 2 public official has on the policy wins of the top dog is inherently difficult. Calley seeks to ride the victories of the Snyder administration and the outgoing governor is happy to abet that effort to help boost Calley’s campaign.

But in latching onto the state’s very real economic recovery since Snyder took office, Calley offers truths interspersed with mistruths, while leaving out important details that could easily mislead voters who didn’t know the full story of Calley’s work in Lansing.

His campaign’s use of different data sources to show improvement in the state’s business climate is deceptive and also puzzling, given Michigan’s very real gains on this metric. And in latching onto whatever role he played in eliminating the MBT, he failed to note his own role in helping to create the despised tax, a history that voters are entitled to consider when picking the next governor.
Post Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:36 am 
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