February 10, 2011
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has created a new Public Integrity Unit in the Attorney General's office to ratchet up the fight against corruption in state and local government, protect tax dollars and restore the public's trust in government.
"Corruption scandals have damaged the public's trust in government and left Michigan with a national reputation as a place where businesses wonder who they have to pay off before creating a job," said Schuette. "Today, we are turning up the heat on corruption in Michigan. There will be no more Kwames."
Schuette noted that current Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has done a solid job restoring public trust. However, the ongoing fallout from the Detroit corruption scandals and other issues statewide have damaged Michigan's reputation as a place to create jobs. Furthermore, as residents struggle to maintain employment in Michigan's poor economy, it is vital to ensure their hard-earned tax dollars are not being lost to corruption.
Acknowledging Michigan's tough budget situation, Schuette said the unit is being created without additional spending by reallocating existing resources in the Attorney General's office. The Public Integrity Unit will allow the office to put an increased focus on public corruption cases currently handled by the office's Criminal Division, a priority Schuette identified upon taking office last month.
Schuette expects the unit to work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement to uncover and prosecute crimes at all levels of state and local government.