LANSING, Mich, April 17, 2024 — Attorney General Dana Nessel announced criminal charges yesterday in the investigation against former Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering). The charges include conducting a criminal enterprise and multiple allegations of embezzlement from nonprofit political funds. Following the announcement, state Rep. Erin Byrnes (D-Dearborn), chair of the House Ethics and Oversight Committee, issued the following statement:

“The alleged misuse of political nonprofit funds of former Speaker Chatfield have disgraced the Legislature and our government institutions. No one should abuse their position of authority for personal gain or to commit harm to others.

“As chair of the Ethics and Oversight Committee, I take my job very seriously in order to shine light on acts that some would prefer remain in the shadows. Democrats have shown that we are a party of openness and transparency. Under Democratic leadership, we have introduced legislation to illuminate the darkest corners of Michigan politics.”

Byrnes is one of the lead sponsors of the BRITE Act, a seven-bill package to improve standards for government ethics, transparency and accountability; curtail the influence of lobbying and financial interests; and increase enforcement of election/campaign finance law violations. Committee testimony on the bills will begin on Thursday.