Tribal police official who pleaded guilty to fraud can’t run for office

Oct 24, 2017
Originally published on October 23, 2017 9:08 pm

A former tribal official plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court after lower courts ruled he’s not eligible to run for a local city council.

At issue is a provision in the state constitution. It says public officials convicted of fraud and other crimes cannot seek another office.

The Michigan Constitution says public officials who violate the “public trust” are barred from holding an elected or appointed government office for 20 years.

Fred Paquin was the police chief and an elected board member for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He pleaded guilty seven years ago to federal fraud charges. He was accused of mismanaging federal grants. He tried twice to run for the Saint Ignace City Council, but was told he can’t. 

Paquin says he was a sovereign tribal official, so the state constitution doesn’t apply here. The state appeals court said tribes in Michigan are essentially local governments, and, Paquin is subject to the same rules as other. 

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