Michigan Lt. Gov. Calley and AG Schuette are in a two-sided firing squad

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Michigan’s two top Republican candidates for governor have begun sniping at each other, and a prominent progressive group is encouraging the crossfire.

Even though Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has not yet submitted campaign finance documents to the Secretary of State, he and Attorney General Bill Schuette are by far the most prominent Republican candidates to replace Governor Rick Snyder in 2018.

Schuette has faced legal troubles since he announced his run for governor back in 2017. A group called Progress Michigan has filed suit against Schuette for failing to comply with FOIA requests, and Calley has joined opposition groups statewide in criticizing the AG for making what seem to be political appointments to his government staff.

At the same time, however, Progress Michigan has also called on Schuette to investigate the Lieutenant Governor’s regular absences from office to pursue a Master’s degree from Harvard University.

On January 3, Progress Michigan filed a Hatch Act complaint with the Office of the Special Counsel in DC over Schuette’s sketchy staffing practices. Two days later, when Progress Michigan issued a press release about the complaint, Lt. Gov. Calley called on Schuette to fire the staffers, saying that “Forcing taxpayers to subsidize any officeholder’s political ambition is a clear and disturbing breach of the public’s trust.”

This is the second time Calley has levelled a serious accusation against the AG. Back in November, he alleged that Schuette was using his prosecutorial role in the Flint Water investigation to back his run for governor.

Meanwhile, Calley himself is facing complaints that he missed a third of his session days as President of the State Senate to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Calley has said that he financed the degree himself, but Progress Michigan is now asking whether the Lt. Governor, whose annual salary is $111,510, reimbursed the state for the day per week that he travelled to Massachusetts to study.

Schuette has not yet made any statements about the Lt. Governor’s educational travel — but it may be hard to resist as Calley comes after him for staffing issues.

The Free Press, when originally reporting on the Calley absences, noted that other prominent Michiganders have avoided the absence issue by pursuing their education in-state.