Rather than facing the music directly and holding a press conference to answer reporters’ questions, at 4 a.m. this morning Todd Courser issued a 27-minute response to what he called a “hit piece” by The Detroit News. In it, he acknowledges his long-term affair with Rep. Cindy Gamarat and issues an apology. He also admits to sending the “false flag” email. However, he claims it was done to “disrupt” a blackmailer rather than to “inoculate the herd” as he said in the tapes released by The Detroit News.
Courser claims that Ben Graham, the person who released the tapes that brought Courser down, was the blackmailer and that his “over the top” email was simply a way to smoke him out. According to Courser, Graham wanted him to resign as the cost of his silence but Courser wasn’t going to do that and instead chose to send the outrageous email.
Laughably, Courser defends his actions as being done to expose the corruption in Lansing. “The public must understand the political shenanigans played by their public officials when they don’t go along,” he says in the audio recording. “I chose and have chosen to stay and make them play their hand. I feel that it is absolutely essential for the cause of liberty to have these clandestine operations to control public officials exposed.”
There are three things to keep in mind here: (a) by Courser’s own admission, Graham was a long-time friend of Courser’s, (b) Graham is a young staffer, only 25 years old, and (c) the only thing Graham wanted was for Courser to resign after he disgraced his office and position. Graham wasn’t trying to obtain anything for himself. He wasn’t working to get legislation passed that Courser wouldn’t normally have worked for. He simply told Courser, in essence, “resign or I’ll bring you down.” This is what Courser is characterizing as “controlling public officials”. He describes Graham and two other staffers who Courser fired, Josh Cline and Keith Allard, as a “political operatives” who turned their malicious politicking on him as revenge for being fired for being inept and incompetent.
In an addendum to the audio, Courser jumps back on to give the phone number of “the blackmailer”.
The irony of Courser’s claim of corruption and political gamesmanship in Lansing is that he himself is in office because of his own “political shenanigans”. Further reporting by The Detroit News shows that Courser’s Democratic opponent in 2014, Margaret Guerrero DeLuca, faced a fake Democrat in her primary, Immanuel “Ike” Eickholdt, who was a longtime friend of Courser’s. DeLuca noted that during the campaign Eickholdt had made a political donation to Courser even while running to be his Democratic opponent. What is seems clear now is that, despite Eickholdt’s denials, he was working with up-to-then failed politician Courser to game the election to help Courser win. In other words, Courser couldn’t win fairly so he turned to unethical political games, the same thing he castigates House leadership – who he calls “the Lansing mafia” – for in his insulting audio recording.
I suppose that Courser thinks this is going to help him and that it’s justification for not resigning in disgrace. However, he also thought the “false flag” email would help him. Neither is true and the sooner he resigns and departs from elected office, the sooner we can all put this pathetic and sad chapter of Michigan politics behind us.