Thursday, September 12, 2019

AG Nessel backs bills to help prosecutors fight public corruption

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 2:19 PM

  • Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative Commons
  • Michigan State Capitol.

Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday endorsed a legislative push to extend the statute of limitations for charging corrupt public officials.

State and local prosecutors are barred from charging crooked bureaucrats and politicians if the crime occurred six or more years ago. Under two recent bills in the Michigan House and Senate, prosecutors would be given up to a decade to file public corruption or misconduct charges.

Nessel, a first-term Democrat, said the bills “would raise the standard of ethical conduct in office and ensure that individuals who violate their sworn oath can be held accountable.”

"Currently, public officials can serve terms that exceed the six-year statute of limitations for misconduct, and the public has no legal avenue to criminally prosecute abuses of power that surface after those officials leave office,” Nessel added. “Public service is a sacred responsibility, and those who wield their vast powers unlawfully should not find refuge or charity in the statute of limitations."

Sen. Jim Ananich and Rep. John Cherry, both Democrats, introduced the bills on Aug. 28.

By the number of corruption cases a year, Michigan is the most crooked state in the nation, according to U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. In June, Metro Times reported that more than 40 southeast Michigan officials are under federal investigation. The number continues to increase.

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