LANSING – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley Friday called for reforms to the way special prosecutors are determined under Michigan statute to ensure truly unbiased investigations occur free from the influence of politics.
“Our state institutions need to make regaining the public’s trust a top priority. The tragic abuse and lack of accountability at Michigan State University is shining a spotlight on the need to reform the special prosecutor process in our state,” Calley said. “By changing the law, we can instill confidence in the public that our investigations are truly independent and do not have conflicts or even an appearance of conflicts. Our current process is weak and needs to be freed from outside influences.”
Michigan currently does not have a true independent counsel statute. The recent appointment of what was called an “independent special prosecutor” to investigate Michigan State University does not have any actual or legal independence or autonomy from the Attorney General. In recent weeks, numerous potential or actual conflicts of interest have been identified.
The main reason for an independent counsel statute is to ensure that sensitive investigations of government officials can be conducted without interference of those being investigated.
Michiganders deserve to know that investigations of government officials will be thorough and free from any real or perceived influence from politicians or donors.
The proposed Michigan Independent Counsel Statute would operate within the following framework:
1. Activation of this statutory action would occur when a conflict of interest or a strong potential of a conflict of interest exists in an investigation of or related to a governmental entity or official.
2. Independent Counsels will operate with the same prosecutorial and investigatorial authority of the Attorney General.
3. Independent Counsels will operate free from oversight or interference of the Attorney General’s office and other executive branch officials.
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