#3 - Would you be more concerned with consumer protection or the prosecution of fraud and corruption in the public sector or something else?
Mike Bishop: The responsibilities of the office of Attorney General are not specific to any one area of the law. The key is effective management of state resources to properly address the multitude of issues within the jurisdiction of the Attorney General's office. Violations of the public trust are unacceptable and require swift and decisive action by your Attorney General.
In addition, the Attorney General must be prepared to answer the call and stand up for the consumer who has been victimized or the job provider that is being unfairly treated. In the end, the Attorney General's wise management of state resources and stern enforcement of the law will serve as a deterrent to abhorrent behavior by predators from both the public and private sectors.
Bill Schuette: Balancing Responsibilities. As our next Attorney General, I will be an aggressive leader to prosecute those who violate the public trust and misuse public offices. Further I will ensure that consumer protection laws are adhered to properly. Our next Attorney General needs to be a part of a new approach to realign Michigan as to lower taxes, reduce spending and direct a more efficient, leaner state government. We will need to do more with fewer people and fewer resources.
Bruce Patterson: The priority of my concern would lie in the facts and circumstances of each issue confronted, not some certain preconceived notion. Thus, my final determination would rest with enforcement and defense of rights.
#4 - Is it mandatory or common practice for legislation to be screened by the office of the Attorney General for possible legal problems? If not, why not and or in your opinion should it be?
Mike Bishop: It is neither mandatory nor common practice to have the Attorney General's office screen legislation. In fact, each chamber of the legislature has its own legal counsel assisting in the drafting of all legislation. While the Attorney General's office may serve as a resource in the legislative process, as a practical matter the legislature assumes its independent, constitutional role without the intervention of other political bodies and offices.
Bill Schuette: As a former Michigan State Senator and United States Congressman, I thoroughly understand the legislative process. As Attorney General, I will review legislative initiatives and effectively communicate with legislators on how the initiatives will impact the citizens of the State consistent with my role as Attorney General. I will also issue opinions regarding legal issues associated with legislative initiatives as requested from time to time by legislators. I commit to having an open door to members of both political parties to assist on legislative matters.
Bruce Pattrson: The Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) is a non-partisan operation of state government. In pertinent part, its staff is made up of professionals. Thus, when a request is made to draft a bill/resolution/legislation there is an eye to basic legality. Beyond that, there is not a "screening process." Proactive, initiated micro-management of Legislative activities would seem inappropriate interjection/interference by the Executive Branch. Only if a request were sought by an interested Legislator officially seeking/requesting an opinion would it seem appropriate.
And there we have Day Two - and that sigh you hear is me thinking that it would sure be nice if we had a U.S. Attorney General of the caliber of any one of our Michigan candidates.