In this Jan. 14, 2015 photo, Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, and Rep Todd Courser, R-Lapeer wave to reporters in the House of Representatives in Lansing.
Photo by Dale G. Young/Detroit News/AP

Sex scandal leads to resignation, expulsion in Michigan

We’ve been keeping an eye on a bizarre sex scandal in Michigan’s legislature, and MLive Media reported overnight that the investigation has led to the departure of both of the Republican lawmakers involved in the sordid affair.
Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, embattled lawmakers accused of misconduct and misusing taxpayer resources to hide their extra-marital affair, are no longer representatives in the Michigan House.
 
Courser, R-Lapeer, resigned at 3:12 a.m. on Friday as the House prepared for a third vote on a resolution to expel him from office. One hour later, the House voted 91-12 to expel Gamrat, R-Plainwell, making her just the fourth lawmaker ever to be removed from the Michigan Legislature by her peers.
Courser had said in recent weeks that he had no intention of giving up his seat voluntarily, but the writing was clearly on the wall and the far-right lawmaker realized that he could either quit or be forced out.
 
As the MLive Media report noted, the House Business Office, which oversaw the investigation, had accused both Courser and Gamrat of “deceptive, deceitful, and outright dishonest conduct.”
 
Expulsion in Michigan’s legislature requires a two-thirds super-majority, but given the severity of Courser’s and Gamrat’s misdeeds, it was a fairly easy threshold to clear.
 
If you’ve missed our earlier coverage, as sex scandals go, this one’s a doozy. Let’s recap.
 
We know that Courser and Gamrat had an extra-marital affair, which would itself be noteworthy since Courser and Gamrat are “among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of ‘traditional marriage’ in the state legislature.”
 
But as the Detroit News reported in early August, the real trouble came when these two allegedly “used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship.”
 
As we discussed, Courser allegedly pressed an aide to leak a rumor – making it seem as if it had come from one of his enemies – telling state GOP activists that Courser had been “caught behind a Lansing nightclub” having sex with a man.
 
The scheme, apparently, was based on the idea that the leak of a bogus claim would become a distraction for a while, but once it was discredited, it would be harder to then accuse Courser of his actual extra-marital affair. As Courser put it, the plan was designed to “inoculate the herd.”
 
But when his aide didn’t want to participate in the scheme, the staffer was demoted and soon after fired without explanation.
 
Courser is a married father of four; Gamrat is a married mother of three. The Detroit News added that the two Tea Party lawmakers “often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage.”
 
Or rather, they did. Now they’re out of a job.
 
 

Michigan and Scandals

Sex scandal leads to resignation, expulsion in Michigan