In keeping with American political tradition, Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney who oversaw the federal corruption investigation of the United Auto Workers, has resigned.
Schneider, who was appointed to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan by President Donald Trump, submitted his resignation Jan. 21, President Joe Biden’s first day in office. Schneider’s resignation is effective Feb. 1.
U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and customarily resign or are asked to resign when a new administration takes office.
Schneider, a Republican who previously worked for GOP officeholders in Michigan, avoided making the prosecution of the of corrupt officials from the UAW overtly political. The UAW has long supported Democrats, including Gretchen Whitmer, who handily defeated Schneider’s former boss, former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, in the race for Michigan’s governorship in 2018.
However, he left the investigation of the UAW in the hands of career prosecutors from the Department of Justice’s Public Corruption unit, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor, which had been fielding complaints about illegal conduct inside the union for years.
In fact, court records indicate that the U.S. Department of Justice actually began a broader investigation of the union during the administration of President Barack Obama, who was a friend of then UAW President Dennis Williams, who claimed he could get Obama on the phone if needed.
The investigation of the UAW, though, was so thorough and so complete several corrupt union officials offered testimony against their colleagues under prodding by government attorneys.
In all, more than a dozen UAW officers and officials, among them two former UAW presidents, Williams and Gary Jones, pleaded guilty to various criminal charges without testing the government’s case in a preliminary hearing or a trial. The sentencing of Jones and Williams have been postponed due to the general concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in federal prisons.
Even after Biden’s election in November, the UAW executive board agreed to a settlement with the DOJ.
The settlement does not include the one-man-one vote of the election of top UAW officers Schneider advocated.
But the UAW’s settlement with the DOJ does include provisions establishing a referendum on rewriting the union’s constitution to allow for direct election of key officers. It also requires the UAW executive board to recruit an independent monitor to ensure the organization’s internal elections are fair and expenditures are not diverted to enrich union officers.
One piece of unfinished business, however, involves the role of the late Sergio Marchionne and Fiat Chrysler in the scandal. The FCA issue is still unresolved, Schneider said during a press conference last month.
After leaving his role as U.S. Attorney, Schneider will join a private law firm based in Detroit, the DOJ announcement said.
Upon Schneider’s departure, Saima Moshin will serve as acting as acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. Mohsin will be the first “woman, immigrant Muslim” in American history to serve in the role of U.S., according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.