Preliminary probe finds misuse of resources by 2 Michgian lawmakers

By Corey Williams

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) - A preliminary investigation into two Michigan Republican lawmakers who had an affair found misconduct and misuse of taxpayer resources - a finding that could lead to their expulsion from the Legislature.

The draft report on the findings involving state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat was submitted to an outside counsel for review, House Business Office Director Tim Bowlin said Monday in a statement.

"Asking an outside counsel to review the report is a normal process to protect the privacy and confidentiality of affected individuals and ensure compliance with human resources regulations," Bowlin said. "The findings will be made public once the legal review has been completed."

Courser, of Lapeer, and Gamrat, of Plainwell, both are married to other people. The House Business Office conducted the probe to determine whether public resources were used to hide or divert attention from their affair and whether two aides who refused to help were wrongly fired.

"I have received a draft report to review, and there is troubling evidence of misconduct," House Speaker Kevin Cotter said in a statement. "I am directing my legal counsel to review the preliminary findings for the purposes of any further disciplinary actions."

Courser and Gamrat, both first-term representatives and social conservatives from the GOP's tea party wing, have apologized but said they didn't misuse resources. Courser has admitted to orchestrating a fictional email in May that said he was caught with a male prostitute to divert attention if the affair was revealed. They previously have said they won't resign.

But Gamrat said Monday in an emailed statement that she will review the House Business Office report.

"I will talk it over with my family before making any decisions on what steps might be next," she said. "As of this time, I have not ruled out any options and I am still listening carefully to input from the people of the 80th district because they are, after all, who I serve in this position."

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Courser.

The Michigan House voted last week to form a special committee of four Republicans and two Democrats to investigate and make a recommendation on what should happen to Courser and Gamrat.

The state constitution allows the 109-member House to expel a member with a two-thirds vote and gives the chamber broad discretion to decide grounds for expulsion. Cotter said the panel, which will have subpoena powers and be able to administer oaths, also could recommend another form of discipline or no discipline.

Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015


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