Mike Cox

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:15, 30 June 2011 by Bailey Ludlam (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Mike Cox
Former Attorney General of Michigan
Term in office began
Term in office ended
Political party Republican
Mike Cox (born 1961) is the former Republican Attorney General of Michigan, having served in the position from January 2003 until late-2010. He is the first Republican in forty-eight years to hold the office. Cox announced on May 27, 2009, that he would be campaigning for the Republican nomination in the state's gubernatorial race in 2010. [1] Cox lost the Republican nomination after placing third with twenty-three percent of the vote in the gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. [2]


  • Attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
  • Juris Doctorate degree, University of Michigan Law School (1989)

Political career

Within days of taking office in January 2003, Cox created the Child Support Division, a first-of-its-kind program to collect child support. By combining public awareness with targeted prosecutions, the division collected more than $35.3 million on behalf of more than 3,500 Michigan children in its first four years. In 2004, Cox reorganized the Child and Public Protection Unit, making Michigan one of the most aggressive states in the nation to tackle the growing problem of Internet predators. Since taking office, Cox's unit continues to arrest more Internet predators than any state save for Texas.

From 2003-2006, Cox's Consumer Protection Division returned a record $43.4 million to the citizens and the State of Michigan. During the same period, he prevented $1.78 billion in utility rate increases that would have come directly out of the pockets of Michigan's consumers and businesses. It was also in 2003 that Cox formed the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to uncover public corruption and solve cold case homicides. Cox has collected more money (more than $70 million) than was collected by the Health Care Fraud Division in their first 24 years of existence (less than $20 million). He drafted, the Medicaid Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation against Medicaid fraud, which provides financial incentives to those who assist in the investigation or prosecution of a violator of the Medicaid False Claims Act. Cox spearheaded the drafting and passage of legislation requiring mandatory criminal background checks of employees in residential care facilities, including nursing homes, to safeguard Michigan seniors.

Cox has also fought to protect the Great Lakes from aquatic nuisance species and biological pollutants by challenging the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ballast water discharges. In 2009, faced with the threat of an invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, an event that would have far-reaching consequences for the ecosystem, Cox sued the State of Illinois, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago seeking the closure of the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works. He is also demanding that Illinois take action to permanently separate the waterways from the Great Lakes in the future and conduct an investigative study in order to determine how best to eradicate the carp from the waterways. [3]

Cox has also been accused of aggressively prosecuting deadbeat parents, including a public relations campaign which called attention to the issue of unpaid child support. "Billboards boasting of jail time for fathers struggling with child support obligations dot the Michigan landscape, as a politically savvy Attorney General seeks to boost his career the way so many have over the past two decades--by beating up on divorced dads."

2010 gubernatorial campaign

See also: Michigan gubernatorial election, 2010

Cox announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the state of Michigan's gubernatorial race in 2010 on May 27, 2009. [1] A survey conducted by Mitchell Research & Communications in November 2009 showed Cox with a slight, but increasing, lead over United States Representative Pete Hoekstra in the Republican primary contest. [4] A Rasmussen poll less then a month later, however, showed that of the top three Republican gubernatorial nominees, Cox had the least likely chance of success, though he still held a five-point lead over the potential Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor John Cherry. [5] Ultimately, he lost the Republican nomination after placing third with twenty-three percent of the vote in the gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. [2]



In November 2005, Cox admitted to having an affair outside of his marriage. At the same time, he accused Oakland County lawyer Geoffrey Fieger of blackmail, claiming that he threatened to reveal the affair if Cox did not drop an investigation into Fieger's alleged campaign finance violations. Cox said his personal conduct was "inexcusable" and had reconciled with his wife. He stated, "I will not let a bully prevent me from doing the job the people of Michigan elected me to do." [6]

Cox's infidelity received wider national attention in 2007 when the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that adultery could, at least in theory, be prosecuted as first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a resulting life in prison sentence. This unanimous decision was reached as a result of an appeal sought by Cox's office on a drug case that touched in part on this strange loophole in the law. [7] Cox's spokesman and communications director Rusty Hills defended the Michigan Attorney General over whether Cox himself could be prosecuted. "To even ask about this borders on the nutty," Hills told Detroit Free Press Columnist, Brian Dickerson. "Nobody connects the attorney general with this —N-O-B-O-D-Y —and anybody who thinks otherwise is hallucinogenic."

Andrew Shirvell

Cox has received national attention for a controversy surrounding an assistant in his state attorney general office, Andrew Shirvell. Shirvell began a blog in April 2010 called "Chris Armstrong Watch" that sought to discredit Chris Armstrong, the new President of the University of Michigan's Student Assembly. The blog operated by the Assistant AG "persistently refers to Armstrong as a radical homosexual activist" and resorts to lengthy gratuitous insults including referring to Armstrong both as “Satan’s representative on the Student Assembly" as well as "a "Nazi-like" recruiter for "the cult that is homosexuality"," complete with a picture of Armstrong and a swastika. [8] [9] [10] Additionally, Shirvell has been accused of openly stalking Armstrong, showing up at various events he has attended and protesting him.

On September 13, 2010, Armstrong filed a personal protection order against Shirvell believing him to be a threat to his own personal safety. The next day Shirvell was read a trespass warning that "prohibited [him] from stepping foot on the U-M campus." [11] And while Judge Nancy Francis denied Armstrong's request for an immediate issuance of the order, she did set a hearing date for Monday, October 4.

Cox has waivered in his position towards Shirvell's comments and actions. Initially, he argued that while he viewed Shirvell's posts as "offensive," he defended his right to express his opinion as constituted by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Political issues

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against Obamacare

In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Cox was one of thirteen Republican Attorneys General questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well. The stipulation in question was the back room deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to recruit him as the 60th vote needed to pass the measure, an arrangement "dubbed the "Nebraska Compromise" or the "Cornhusker Kickback" by Republican critics." The agreement gives Nebraska exemption from its share of the Medicaid expansion, "a carve out that is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years." Cox noted that "Michigan families should not also be forced to subsidize a sweetheart deal for Nebraska," especially in light of the state's 14.7 percent unemployment rate, the worst in the nation. [12]

On the same morning President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform bill, the one that narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days before, Cox and twelves other Republican Attorneys General filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional." [13] [14]

Illegal immigration

Nearly a week after the United States Justice Department filed suit against the state of Arizona over its anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), contending that it "interferes with federal immigration responsibilities," Cox and five other Republican state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of the measure. [15] The Michigan Attorney General argued that the suit seeks to further remove power from the states and advocated not cooperative efforts, "but [rather] only a one-way street where states lose control over their borders and are left to guess at the reality of the law." [16]

Campaign contributions

2006 Race for Attorney General - Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $1,755,963
Total Raised by Primary Opponent N/A
Total Raised by Gen. Election Opponent $670,683
Top 5 Contributors Michigan Republican Party $67,880 (3.87% of Total)
Republican State Leadership Committee $34,000 (1.94%)
Michigan Auto Dealers Association $34,000 (1.94%)
Cox 5200 Club $30,000 (1.71%)
Michigan Association of Realtors $25,100 (1.43%)
Individuals v. Institutions $1,164,312 (66.3%)
$433,798 (24.7%)
In v. Outside State $1,588,803 (90.5%)
$166,460 (9.5%)



  • 2002 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
  • Mike Cox ran unopposed in this contest
2009 Race for Attorney General - General Election [17]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Mike Cox 48.9%
     Democratic Party Gary Peters 48.7%
     Green Party Jerry Kaufman 1.6%
     U.S. Taxpayers Gerald Van Sickle 0.9%
Total Votes 3,068,012


  • 2006 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
  • Mike Cox ran unopposed in this contest
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [18]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Mike Cox 53.8%
     Democratic Party Amos Williams 43.5%
     Libertarian Party Bill Hall 1.7%
     U.S. Taxpayers Charles Conces 1.0%
Total Votes 3,690,415


See also: Michigan gubernatorial election, 2010
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary [19]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Rick Snyder 36.4%
     Republican Party Pete Hoekstra 26.8%
     Republican Party Mike Cox 23.0%
     Republican Party Mike Bouchard 12.2%
     Republican Party Tom George 1.6%
Total Votes 1,047,048


  • Golden Hearts Award (2004) from the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michigan Live "Press exclusive: Mike Cox joins governor's race saying he plans to cut $2 billion in taxes" 27 May, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Observer & Eccentric "Livonia's Mike Cox falls short in gubernatorial bid" 4 Aug. 2010
  3. Michigan Live "Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox sues Chicago, Illinois, Corps of Engineers for Asian 'carp-infested waters'" 21 Dec. 2009
  4. Legal Newsline "Poll: Cox leads Michigan governor's race" 30 Nov. 2009
  5. Rasmussen Reports "2010 Michigan Governor: Cherry Trails Three GOP Hopefuls" 18 Dec. 2009
  6. Washington Post "Mich. Attorney General Acknowledges Affair" 9 Nov. 2005
  7. Short News "Adultery in Michigan Punishable by Life in Prison" 16 Jan. 2007
  8. Associated Content "Andrew Shirvell Still Not Fired? Shame on Michigan AG Mike Cox!" 1 Oct. 2010
  9. WXYZ "Action News investigation makes national news on Anderson Cooper" 15 Sept. 2010
  10. Advocate "State Official Bullies College Student" 16 Sept. 2010
  11. Ann Arbor "University of Michigan student body president seeks restraining order against assistant state attorney general" 30 Sept. 2010
  12. Crain's Detroit Business "Attorney General Mike Cox joins effort to remove so-called "Cornhusker Kickback"" 30 Dec. 2009
  13. Associated Press "13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul" 23 March, 2010
  14. YouTube "Mike Cox plays Hardball with Chris Matthews on Healthcare" 23 March, 2010
  15. FOX News "Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law" 6 July, 2010
  16. Detroit Free Press "Cox's brief to support Arizona immigration law" 12 July, 2010
  17. Virginia State Board of Elections - 2009 General Election Results
  18. Department of State - 2006 General Election Results
  19. Michigan Department of State - Unofficial 2010 Governor Primary Election Results

Political offices
Preceded by
Jennifer M. Granholm
Michigan Attorney General
Succeeded by
Bill Schuette