press release

News from Progress Michigan 

March 13, 2018

Contact: Sam Inglot,

Shady Schuette Disrespects Sunshine Week

Schuette’s hollow calls for transparency don’t match his record 

MICHIGAN — In honor of Sunshine Week, a time when issues of government transparency are brought to the forefront of public discussion, Progress Michigan is calling attention to its ongoing lawsuit with Attorney General Bill Schuette and his stonewalling of the Freedom of Information Act.

“Bill Schuette has been using social media to push a false narrative about where he stands on government transparency,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Schuette doesn’t stand for real transparency. If he did, we wouldn’t need to take him to court. He’s been fighting us for over a year and we wanted to bring it back to the public’s attention during Sunshine Week. This is a time when everyone should be pushing for real reform to make Michigan more transparent, not making empty promises like Schuette is doing.”

Progress Michigan filed a lawsuit in Michigan’s Court of Claims in 2017 over Schuette’s refusal to release emails obtained by Progress Michigan showing Schuette and his staff using private email accounts to conduct the public’s business.

A copy of the original lawsuit can be found here. A recap of the situation is below:

  • In 2016, Progress Michigan filed a FOIA request with Schuette’s office seeking emails between his staff and lobbyists that tend to focus on AG offices
  • Progress Michigan discovered emails where Schuette and his staff were using private email accounts to conduct the public’s business
  • In September 2016, Progress Michigan filed a FOIA seeking communications from the private email accounts
  • In October 2016, Schuette’s office denied the request saying that the office did not possess the records, despite Progress Michigan having over a dozen such records in hand
  • In November 2016, Progress Michigan appealed the denial, which was rejected by Schuette’s office saying “no such records exist,” which again, flies the face of Progress Michigan having numerous examples of such records
  • Progress Michigan filed a lawsuit in April 2017 to seek production of the requested emails or a declaration that their destruction was illegal
  • The lawsuit is ongoing, with Schuette’s office filing frivolous appeals

“Bill Schuette is either lying about possessing these records or his office illegally destroyed them,” Scott continued. “Either way this is the height of hypocrisy and Schuette’s claims about transparency need to be called out. We won’t allow Bill Schuette to bask in the glow of Sunshine Week after years of shady behavior. The public deserves better and during Sunshine Week we renew our call for real FOIA reform in Michigan.”


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