Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 11, 2010

Ad on Schuette stretches truth


---- — • Michigan Democratic Party

• "Bill Schuette on Duty…for Corrupt Politicians" Internet Ad


"Bill Schuette claims he'd stand up against political corruption. And there will be, no more Kwame Kilpatricks."

Schuette, a Republican, said in his Sept. 24 debate with Democrat David Leyton that he would have a "public corruption division" as attorney general to deal with public officials who allegedly break the law.

He used Kilpatrick, the former Detroit mayor, as an example.

Kilpatrick was involved in a text messaging scandal involving the firing of Detroit police officers.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice and pleaded no contest to a felony count of assault on a police officer.

He agreed to pay restitution to the city of $1 million, surrender his law license, forfeit his state pension to the city, be barred from elective office for five years and to serve 120 days in the Wayne County jail.

Kilpatrick is currently serving two to five years in prison for violating his probation.

"In fact Schuette sided with Kwame Kilpatrick against a whistle-blowing Detroit police officer. While on the Michigan court of appeals, Schuette protected Kwame Kilpatrick."

The ad cites the case of Bennett vs. Detroit Police Chief. Schuette was one of three judges on a Court of Appeals panel that heard the case in 2006.

The case dealt with a police officer who was fired for creating a website in which he advocated for the firing of then-Chief of Police Jerry Oliver.

Although the plaintiff included Kilpatrick in the suit, the Appeals Court panel agreed that Kilpatrick had nothing to do with the case.

The case had nothing to do with the text messaging scandal that cost Kilpatrick his job, although using the phrase "whistle-blowing Detroit police officer" is clearly thrown in to give viewers that impression.

"That's not standing up against political corruption. That's defending it. Bill Schuette on duty for corrupt politicians like Kwame Kilpatrick, not for us."

The ad claims Schuette condoned Kilpatrick's corruption.

In reality, he had nothing to do with the criminal cases against the former mayor.

The spot then implies Schuette would help all corrupt politicians while in office, not Michigan citizens.

That's a harsh charge that's not backed up with anything.


The Michigan Democratic State Central Committee has been running a series of ads as a takeoff on Schuette's campaign slogan, "Schuette on Duty," such as "Bill Schuette on Duty … for Big Oil," which earned a foul from the Truth Squad.

The state Democratic committee is playing the guilt-by-association game with Kwame Kilpatrick, something that proved to be effective against Attorney General Mike Cox in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

But the link between Schuette and Kilpatrick is even thinner than the one between Cox and the former mayor.

The case cited in which Schuette "sided" with Kilpatrick involved a website against a former police chief and had nothing to do with the felonies associated with the text-message scandal to which he pleaded guilty.


Foul for claiming Bill Schuette will champion corrupt politicians and implying the former judge sided with Kilpatrick in criminal cases he had nothing to do with.

The Center for Michigan is a centerist think-and-do tank founded by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power.