Whitmer files paperwork for AG candidacy

Michigan Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) made her bid for the state attorney general’s office official by filing candidacy paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office on Friday, reports The Grand Rapids Press.

According to a report in Friday’s Capitol Capsule from Michigan Information and Research Service,

Whitmer plans on continuing to run for her state Senate seat and if selected as the Democratic nominee in August of next year, the Ingham County Democratic party would pick a replacement candidate. Reps. Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing), Joan Bauer (D-Lansing), Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) and former State Rep. Paul DeWeese of Williamston would be considered likely candidates for the open seat.

The Michigan Republican Party was quick to go on the offensive.

“One has to ask, does Gretchen Whitmer want to be attorney general or does she just want to boost her ego,” said Greg McNeilly, Interim Executive Director.

“In her tenure in the state Legislature — whether the House or Senate — Whitmer has done more to add to partisan politics than she has to help benefit residents of the state. She’s a liberal elitist who prefers to build her resume at the expense of hard-working families. Michigan doesn’t need another Jennifer Granholm clone seeking fame and glory over the best interests of residents.”

Meanwhile, The Detroit News reports that former Court of Appeals Judge Bill Schuette was the favorite choice of GOPers’ attending the every-other-year Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island this past weekend.

Schuette led the attorney general’s race with 697 votes, or 57.51 percent. Mike Bishop got 446, and State Sen. Bruce Patterson got 69.

Legislating against Santa Cox

“Political,” “misguided” and “malevolent” fumed Michigan Attorney General and 2010 Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mike Cox last week at a Michigan House Judiciary hearing.

The object of Cox’s wrath? Legislation sponsored by committee chair Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing) that would prevent the AG from handing out settlement money as he chooses when there is no aggrieved party to receive the funds.

Last March, Cox wanted to shower two Grand Rapids-area parks with $250,000 each. The money was part of a settlement Cox obtained from Countrywide Finance, a large mortgage lender that Cox accused of predatory lending practices.

This did not sit well with some politicos, who were upset that Cox had consulted with Peter Secchia, a Republican Party heavyweight who’s in charge of fundraising for the parks. A report in The Grand Rapids Press indicated that Democratic Kent County Commissioner Brandon Dillon felt that Cox’s proposed donation might have had as much to do with the AG’s political ambitions as it did with philanthropy.

Cox said his critics were the ones dragging politics into the matter but announced a last-minute change of plans and gave the money to Heart of West Michigan United Way.

It didn’t take Meadows long to introduce HB 4799, which, in a nutshell, would require left-over settlement money to be deposited into the state’s general fund to be disbursed through the appropriations process, instead of leaving it up to Cox to decide which charity or deserving institution should be favored.

Cox characterized the legislation as an attack on the power of his office. Meadows, according to a report in The Detroit News, says it’s not about curbing Cox, it’s about ensuring that money is disbursed transparently.

Otherwise, as the Detroit News quoted committee member Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield), Cox gets “to play Santa Claus almost. How do you decide who’s naughty and who’s nice?”

No one is questioning whether the money is winding up in deserving hands. It is, plain and simple.

But the proposed legislation prevents Cox from playing Santa Claus and would eliminate any suspicion, founded or unfounded, that there is any electioneering wrapped up with the gifts.