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Progress Michigan Takes Email Lawsuit Against Schuette To Michigan Supreme Court

Progress Michigan
Progress Michigan

A liberal advocacy group wants to take Attorney General Bill Schuette to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Progress Michigan’s lawsuit alleges that Schuette and his staff are using their private emails for state business.  Members of the group said that while looking into Schuette’s interactions with lobbyists they saw multiple instances of emails about state business being sent and received by personal email accounts.  

The group filed a Freedom of Information request to get any other emails sent via personal accounts, but Schuette’s office said there aren’t any.

Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely said, “I’m declining comment on Progress Michigan’s continued politically motivated law suit against the Attorney General, he is focused on the important work of his office: protecting families and standing up for survivors of crime and violence.”

Executive director of Progress Michigan Lonnie Scott said they already have examples of the private email practice and they believe there are more.   

“We are concerned that there is some undue influence happening in Michigan politics that we would never know because these emails have been concealed,” he said.

Progress Michigan wants the Michigan Supreme Court to order the Attorney General’s office do a review of all personal emails and turn over any that involve state business.  The case has been going on since 2017. 

Most recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Schuette, but Progress Michigan said that court ruled based on a filing technicality and they want the Michigan Supreme Court to decide the case on its merits.

Progress Michigan attorney Mark Brewer questions why Schuette doesn’t just hand over the emails, though Schuette’s office has said the emails don’t exist.

Brewer said, “If the public can’t get access to emails of a government official, or worse if they are hiding their business by using private email, then the whole concept of the Freedom of Information Act is gutted.”

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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