I haven’t been following too closely the soap opera between political rivals Republican Mike Cox, the current attorney general for Michigan, and Democrat Geoffrey Fieger, the obnoxious trial lawyer gunning to unseat Cox in the next year’s election. I’m not one to pompously dismiss fistfights like this by drawing a moral equivalence between the combatants. The fact is, even in a very ugly dispute, usually one side is right and the other is wrong – and so the distinction should be acknowledged. However, this is the unusual case in which it’s safe to say both Cox and Fieger are reprobates.
Earlier this year Cox launched an investigation of Fieger to determine whether or not the politicking attorney had secretly dumped nearly a half million into an ad campaign last year to stop the re-election of Stephen Markham to the Michigan Supreme Court. In turn, an associate of Fieger’s allegedly attempted to blackmail Cox into dropping the investigation by threatening to expose the attorney general’s extramarital affair. Cox foiled the scheme a few weeks ago by publicly admitting to cheating on his wife. Now last week, out of the blue, the feds have raided Fieger’s law offices apparently as part of a public corruption case.
Sure, it’s good that the attorney general’s office finally has public corruption in its sites, but then it’s curious that Cox is hammering a Democratic rival for his office while he has done nothing to clean up the sewer of bank fraud, environmental crimes, and official malfeasance in River City that has benefited area Republicans. But then, how principled can a man be who breaks his vow of fidelity to his wife? I’m no prude. I just can’t get around the fact that a person cannot compartmentalize integrity. If he’ll cheat here, he’ll cheat there. So good riddance to Cox in next year’s election.
That’s no welcome to Fieger. He is a self-aggrandizing egotist who hungers for the respectability of high office. He has had enough scrapes with the law and professional ethics to give plausibility to the current accusations against him. If Cox is abusing his office to settle political scores, his target Fieger is not the man of law and order to replace him. After four decades under the control of that hack Frank Kelley, the Michigan Department of Attorney General shriveled into an office of cheap political stunts too impotent to fight the sophisticated white-collar and organized crimes that are beyond the ken of local law enforcement. Neither Kelley’s successor, a man who can’t keep his pants zipped, nor his rival, a rich trial lawyer who thinks public offices exist to be bought, are the lawman to make the attorney general’s office into the crime-fighting institution it ought to be.
A pox on both these reprobates of the law.