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Conservative group's inquiry may have sparked AG Dana Nessel's apology on drinking incident

Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 11, 2021

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — "She's the state's top law enforcement officer and, as an elected official, she needs to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us," said Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director of Michigan Rising Action, a conservative group that has been looking into a tip they recently received that a wheelchair had to be utilized for Michigan's Attorney General because she'd been drinking too much while tailgating before the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game in East Lansing on October 30.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Dana Nessel apologized for the incident on her Facebook page.

"Before the big game, I attended a tailgate on an empty stomach. Much to my surprise, MSU tailgates tend to have more alcohol than food, so I thought it seemed like a good idea to eat 2 Bloody Mary’s since as long as you put enough vegetables in them, it’s practically a salad," Nessel wrote.

Nessel said she started to feel ill, writing, ".. my friends recommended that I leave so as to prevent me from vomiting on any of my constituents (polling consistently shows “Roman showers” to be unpopular among most demographics)."

Ventimiglia is certain that Nessel was tipped off to the requests they made to police officials on Monday for documentation or emails surrounding the incident under the Freedom of Information Act.

Around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, two days after Michigan Rising Action filed the requests for information, is when Nessel took to social media to reveal details about the incident that took place 11 days earlier.

"I think it's typical politician behavior to get out in front of a story that you think is going to reflect you in a negative light," Ventimiglia said. "I think that her statement leaves a lot more questions than answers."

Top Michigan Republicans also criticized Nessel for the incident as well as the humorous tone of her apology.

"I have a glass of wine now and then, nobody has ever had to carry me or cart me out of anything at 53, let alone when I was 23," said Meshawn Maddock, Co-Chairman of the Michigan GOP, who added that Nessel's apology was written like a "ninth-grade school girl."

"I don't wish ill on anyone," Maddock said. "Alcohol abuse in Michigan is up 40% right now because of COVID. This is a serious issue."

Political consultant Mario Morrow believes Nessel's detailed apology was "brilliant."

"She got ahead of the problem. She was very honest, she was open," Morrow said. "And I thought for her to do what she did was admirable, especially when her staff was advising her to hire a crisis manager when she just handled herself. It was a good move."

On Thursday, Nessel and her staff did not respond to multiple requests made by 7 Action News to talk to her about the incident and her apology.