Tom Leonard Statement on Dana Nessel’s Slow Response to Redistricting Panel
DeWitt, MI – Former prosecutor and assistant attorney general Tom Leonard today criticized Attorney General Dana Nessel’s slow response to the illegal closed door hearing held by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
“It was clear from the outset that the commission had no authority to hold a closed door hearing,” said Leonard. “Nearly a month ago, I called on the attorney general to hold this commission accountable for its blatant disregard for our Constitution. I’m glad she finally got around to it, but I must ask why today is the first time we are hearing from her on this critical and time-sensitive issue?”
Shortly after the closed door meeting occurred in October, Leonard and other concerned citizens called on Attorney General Nessel to step in. Today, almost a month later, she issued a formal opinion along with her first comments on the issue. Nessel chose not to weigh in with specificity on whether the commission could meet behind closed doors under other circumstances, nor did she offer any specific remedy for the actions already taken by the commission.
“This opinion isn’t just late, it also falls short in many ways,” said Leonard. “I have to wonder whether it was issued to hold the commissioners accountable or just to ensure a political liability doesn’t exist for Dana Nessel. Her slow and vague response raises concerns as to whether the commission will truly be held accountable for other future violations. How long can we expect a response from Dana Nessel to take if the commission votes by secret ballot?”
Additional concerns have been raised in recent days after the group Voters Not Politicians suggested that the commission use a secret ballot when voting on the final maps. Leonard feels this is another issue for Michiganders to watch closely.
“What was sold to Michigan voters was a transparent, fair, accountable commission to draw lines. What we have gotten isn’t even close, and Dana Nessel’s half hearted effort is a shame.”
Contact: Phil Goodrich