At this point, should we really be surprised?
Democrats will have the opportunity to run someone for an open seat for Michigan Attorney General in 2018 – an office that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since Granholm ran for Governor in 2002. Throughout his term, Michigan’s current Attorney General, Republican Bill Schuette, made Michigan citizens vulnerable to violators of consumer protection law and corporate criminals. A list of Schuette’s campaign contributors highlights the industries Schuette has refused to go after during his tenure as AG. Schuette is now term-limited out of the AG office and is running for Governor.
This should be a great opportunity to run a progressive champion to represent the people.
Unfortunately, one of the favorites among establishment Democrats is “Republican-lite” nominee Patrick Miles. A former federal prosecutor for the west side of Michigan, Miles recently announced his intention to run for AG. Miles should be familiar with our state’s needs, but his record bears remarkable resemblance to Schuette’s.
At the beginning of his career in the mid 1990s, Miles was noted for working to protect the interests of communities against phone and cable companies unlawfully raising rates and trying to skirt local regulations.
Fifteen years later, AT&T was paying him enough federal law required public disclosure of the relationship when he was appointed US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.
Between his failed congressional run in 2010 and his stint as a federal prosecutor, Miles worked as a corporate attorney representing big corporations. Federal financial disclosures reveal Miles provided legal services to a long list of disreputable corporate clients. Food conglomerate Sara Lee was found guilty of violating Fair Labor Laws at their Zeeland Michigan plant during the period Miles reports them as his client (page 10). Gainey Corporation was his client while the CEO, Mr. Gainey, was busy funnelling millions from the company to himself and other family members, among other shady activity during a contentious bankruptcy case (page 7). These are not isolated incidents.
Patrick Miles has spent a great deal of his professional life defending the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and being well paid for it. He’s going to need a lot of money to run for Attorney General. He knows a lot of people with a lot of money. For decades, he’s been working for them, protecting their interests.
Will they be donating to his campaign?
In his failed congressional run, donors included a CEO who used internal company memos to pressure his 2,300 employees to vote against re-electing President Obama. The company is also one of his clients. It’s likely many of his clients – or executives of his corporate clients and their relatives – will be donors to his campaign for Michigan Attorney General.
They know him. He’s been on their side even when they were in the wrong, represented them when they were violating workers rights, or scamming their own investors, or practicing racial discrimination (Mary Free Bed Hospital, page 10). It’s not just that his firm represented them. These are clients he served directly, clients federal law required he disclose because he personally did so much work for them.
Running for AG, Miles will be tapping their pocketbooks, both directly and through PACs and other channels; some of them dark money channels where the law doesn’t require disclosure. They’re going to be writing him checks again. They’re accustomed to getting their money’s worth.
Patrick Miles started out representing Michigan communities against telecom corporations. Then he changed. He started protecting corporate criminals and shady businessmen like Sara Lee and Gainey. AT&T bought his expertise in telecom law that he gained fighting telecom corporations like AT&T.
Now Miles says he’s changed again. Why should anyone believe him?
Our Attorney General’s responsibilities include safeguarding the public from violent criminals, helping victims of crime, preserving Michigan’s spectacular natural resources, protecting consumers and addressing illegal business practices.
Does Patrick Miles really sound like the right person for this job?
Does he sound like the kind of person Democrats should support?