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Democrats: AG not fit to investigate prisoner escape

Official portrait
House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel

State House Democrats are calling for an independent investigation into a recent prison escape in Ionia.

The state’s Republican attorney general is looking into the escape, including whether recent state budget cuts played a role. But Democrats say Bill Schuette cannot conduct an impartial inquiry because his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature voted for those budget cuts, and citing them as a factor would make Republicans look bad.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, says the attorney general’s office “does a lot of good work.” But he says it cannot be objective in this case.

“At the end of the day, it’s headed by a Republican politician, who is very unlikely to call out his Republican colleagues who voted for budget cuts that may have led to the prison break,” said Greimel.

Governor Rick Snyder says he asked the attorney general’s office to conduct the review because it is independent from his administration.

“The attorney general’s made his goals very clear here, and that is that he intends to follow the facts and to find out why this escape happened and how it happened,” said Schuette’s spokesperson, Joy Yearout.  “And that’s the purpose of this investigation – nothing more, nothing less.”

The state Department of Corrections is wrapping up its own inquiry into the escape.

House Democrats did not say who they would like to spearhead a new, independent investigation.