LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan lawmakers who admitted to misconduct in covering up their extramarital affair should be expelled from the Legislature, a state House panel recommended Thursday.
A House disciplinary committee voted Thursday to urge the rare action of expelling tea party Republicans Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Just three legislators have been expelled in Michigan history.
The recommendation now goes to the full House where a two-thirds vote is needed to remove the pair from office. The House could consider it later Thursday.
Courser, 43, and Gamrat, 42, had apologized and asked for censure during two days of testimony this week. A censure would limit their work while letting them stay in office.
Courser sent a phony email claiming he was caught with a male prostitute. It was an effort to make the affair less believable if it were exposed by an anonymous blackmailer who had demanded his resignation.
Gamrat told the committee she discussed the plot with Courser but did not know the email’s content before it was sent.
The scandal unfolded last month after a staffer for Courser and Gamrat was fired in July. He gave The Detroit News a secret audio recording of Courser demanding that he send the email to “inoculate the herd,” an apparent reference to Courser’s supporters. While the aide refused and the email was likely legal, the plot was unethical, according to a House Business Office investigation that alleged dishonesty and wrongdoing.
The committee listened Wednesday to the 80-minute recording, in which Courser discussed his marital problems, the extortion and his reasoning for sending the email. The reluctant staffer, Ben Graham, told him, “this isn’t going to work.”
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