We've all seen politicians get caught up in sex scandals. We've even seen the occasional controversy involving a politician in a sex scandal with another politician.
But the Detroit News reported late last week on a story that appears to break new ground.
State Rep. Todd Courser planned the distribution of a fictional email alleging he had sex with a male prostitute in a bid to conceal his relationship with Rep. Cindy Gamrat, according to audio recordings obtained by The Detroit News. Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create "a complete smear campaign" of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators' relationship would seem "mild by comparison."
The Detroit News reported that that the right-wing state lawmakers "used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship."
But the truly amazing part of the story is what the two Republicans intended to do in order to conceal their adulterous affair. Apparently, Todd Courser expected 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 idea, apparently, was 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.
Care to guess what these two Republican lawmakers think of marriage equality?
Right Wing Watch noted that Courser and Gamrat are "among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of 'traditional marriage' in the state legislature."
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."
As of this morning, state House officials have "seized computers and paper records" from both members' offices.
Also this morning, MLive reported that Courser now believes "establishment" Republicans "conspired to bug his office and blackmail him" over the affair. Courser added that his cover-up scheme "was really put in motion to try to disrupt the blackmailer and to give me some clues as to what their ability was as far as surveillance over my life and the threats they were making."
At this point, no evidence has emerged to suggest there was a blackmailer. Michigan's Republican state House Speaker, Kevin Cotter, said this morning that Courser's new allegations are "completely ridiculous."
The Tea Partiers, at least for now, insist they will not resign.