NOTE: This post has been updated HERE.
The Courser/Gamrat scandal continues to
unfold unravel this week, sucking all of the oxygen out of Lansing and ensuring that our Do-Nothing Republican-led legislature continues to get nothing done. The hearings being held by the “Select Committee to Examine the Qualifications of Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser” continued this week with both Courser and Gamrat apologizing and begging to be censured and not tossed out of the legislature. Courser has hired new attorneys, Dareth Wilson and Dan Randazzo of Rochester Hills, who clearly helped him write his apology letter which was an uncharacteristically short one-pager and didn’t try to blame everyone else for his self-inflicted problems.
Gamrat actually finally came out and admitted she’s been lying all along about her involvement with the herd-inoculating controlled burn letter sent out by Courser. She’s now hoping everyone will ignore her continued deceptions.
The legal counsel for the House of Representatives, Brock Swartzle, suggested that Gamrat be censured and Courser be expelled. Apparently Gamrat’s ongoing lies didn’t rise to the level of the insanity that Courser has been engaged in.
Gamrat also met with constituents yesterday and that went about as well as you would have expected. She dragged her 18-year old son along to provide cover for the abuse she clearly expected to get, much like the military veterans she had surrounding her at her first press conference.
If you’re interested in the full report on the Gamrat/Courser investigation by the House Business Office, you can read that HERE. Better make a pot of coffee. It’s 833 pages long.
The biggest bombshell this week, though, came from reporting by Chad Livengood The Detroit News. In it, we learn that Joe Gamrat, Cindy’s husband, had planted listening devices to catch the two in their affair:
State Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat met in Lansing over the Fourth of July weekend to hatch a plan to fire aides Ben Graham and Keith Allard, according to statements in a House investigation of the two freshman legislators’ misconduct.
Allard told investigators Gamrat’s husband, Joe, called him on July 4 to tip him off about the planned July 7 firing.
The internal House report suggests Joe Gamrat eavesdropped on Courser and his wife and overheard their plan to fire the aides during a parking lot rendezvous inside Cindy Gamrat’s vehicle.
“Joe told Keith he had a recording device in Rep. Gamrat’s car,” according to Allard’s statement. “July 4th — Joe also told Keith that Rep. Gamrat and Rep. Courser met in Lansing to plan how to fire Keith and Ben.”
Considering the lengths to which Joe Gamrat went to expose the two – it seems clear that he was feeding information to blogger Brandon Hall at West Michigan Politics and may have been behind the “blackmail” texts to Courser and others – it’s odd that he was standing by his wife’s side during her first press conference.
Finally, after penning an epic op-ed excoriating Todd Courser and promising to recall him, former 10th Congressional Committee Chair and current Oregon Township Planning Commissioner & Zoning Board of Appeals member Randy St. Laurent has given up on his effort to recall Courser. At the time, St. Laurent wrote, “I have no reason to believe I will not have enough signatures [within two days].” However, once he got a look at just how difficult the Republicans have made it to recall a sitting legislator and just how expensive it would be, he abandoned the effort. “I don’t have the guts to release a $250,000 bill on my county just to get somebody in office for seven months,” he told the Detroit Free Press.
Democracy isn’t a pretty thing sometimes but, once the current cohort of Michigan Republicans got their hands on it, it became a perversion of what the concept of democracy really means.