‘Redact’: Email Shows Now-U.S. Attorney Using Private Email During Schuette Tenure

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan

August 2, 2019

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org

‘Redact’: Email Shows Now-U.S. Attorney Using Private Email During Schuette Tenure

Matthew Schneider used private email account to communicate with GOP during 2016 recount

MICHIGAN — Scrawled at the top of a 2016 email header with the email addresses of Republican Party operatives and Secretary of State staff is the word “Redact” with arrows pointing to the private email account of now-U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who worked under Bill Schuette as a Chief Deputy Attorney General.

The email is further proof that during Bill Schuette’s tenure as Attorney General, even his top staff were improperly using private email accounts to conduct state business. The email was discovered through a post-2016 presidential recount FOIA request and has been added to a brief filed before the Michigan Supreme Court by Progress Michigan, seeking such emails from Schuette’s former office. 

“From the beginning, Bill Schuette said in FOIA responses and court filings that no such emails existed and yet we continue to find examples of Schuette and his staff dodging transparency by using private email accounts to conduct the public’s business,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “We’ve been told over and over that this wasn’t happening, and yet we continue to find examples of this behavior. We think the people included in this email should be asked about what was going on and why private emails were being used by public employees.”

The email header, dated December 3, 2016 can be seen below and features communications between political operatives with the Michigan Republican Party, including then-chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and attorney Eric Doster, Secretary of State staff, and Schneider, regarding the 2016 recount. Progress Michigan obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act request. 

The brief filed by Progress Michigan with the Michigan Supreme Court states: 

“This email header illustrates why the Attorney General has been fighting so desperately — resorting to every procedural trick and fallacious defense — to avoid the disclosure of the personal emails sought in this FOIA lawsuit. In 2016, the Attorney General claimed that emails such as this didn’t exist…triggering the lawsuit. That claim is clearly untrue.

Why was then-Chief Deputy Attorney General Matthew Schneider using his private email account to secretly communicate about the 2016 Presidential recount with Republican Party officials, one of their lawyers, and 2 senior political appointees in the Secretary of State’s office? Why were there efforts to redact his private email? What is going on here? What is being hidden?” 

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