Tea Party Lawmaker Faked Gay Sex Scandal To Hide Affair With Female Rep

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Secret audio recordings made public Friday by the Detroit News revealed a tea party lawmaker in Michigan tried to fake a gay sex scandal with a male prostitute in order to cover up his affair with a married, female tea party state lawmaker.

The newspaper reported that state Rep. Todd Courser (R) asked an aide to send an anonymous email to GOP activists alleging that Courser had been spotted having sex with a male prostitute “behind a Lansing night club.”

The ruse was reportedly designed to create false accusations that were so over the top that Courser’s affair with fellow freshman lawmaker Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R) would seem “mild by comparison,” according to the paper.

The whole thing was blown up, however, by secret audio recordings created by Courser’s then-aide, Ben Graham, and obtained by the Detroit News. Graham reportedly refused to send the email and was later fired. (The newspaper noted that Gamrat also recently fired an aide, who was unwilling to help hide the relationship between the two legislators.)

In the recordings, according to the Detroit News, Courser could be heard asking Graham to send the anonymous email and get “nasty about it” with accusations that the lawmaker was addicted to porn and was a “sexual deviant.”

Courser reportedly suggested in one recording that he would release the email so that “anything else that comes out after that” would seem tame in comparison and that he needed a “controlled burn.”

An email was eventually sent and was “received by Republicans,” according to the newspaper, but it wasn’t clear who sent the email.

Gamrat declined to comment to the newspaper. Courser confirmed to the publication that it was his voice on the recording, but told a reporter and photographer to leave his office when he was asked whether he wrote the email to “get ahead of revelations of an affair,” according to the report.

The Detroit News reported that both lawmakers are married with children. They are also allies who have pushed legislation that would have required religious leaders sign off on marriage certificates, a move that would have potentially created a road block for same-sex couples in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, according to the newspaper.

Special thanks to TPM Reader CM for flagging this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jerde is a newswriter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Columbus Dispatch. She graduated from Ohio University. Send emails to sara@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow her @SaraJerde.

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