Lack of action on investigations amounts to willful disregard for transparency
LANSING, Mich., Oct. 11, 2022 — House Democrats alleged widespread corruption within the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, citing zero action on many accountability and investigative measures pursued by Democrats and buried in the legislature by Republican leadership. The allegations Democrats have urged the House to investigate range from undermining the 2020 election process, working to overturn the votes of Michiganders, intertwining campaign and government staff and payrolls, involvement in the events at the federal Capitol on Jan 6, and election equipment tampering. Every attempt to procure a bipartisan investigation within the House of Representatives has been buried in various committees, and Republican leadership has refused to allow a single investigation to proceed, only fueling a culture of corruption and misdeeds in office.
“The Republican majority hasn’t allowed a single investigation to begin despite numerous credible allegations that lawmakers misused their office, worked to undermine the votes of Michiganders, and participated in schemes to undermine our democracy,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “This is what corruption looks like — increasingly credible allegations about Representatives violating their oath and breaking the law, and knowing full well that there won’t be any investigation into their actions. This is the corruption the current Republican leadership has fostered, and it’s dangerous for Michigan and destructive for our democracy.”
“It has been over 200 days now since we demanded a House investigation into former Speaker Lee Chatfield,” said state Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit). “His alleged actions are totally unethical and strike directly at the House of Representatives, and we get Republican leadership that refuses to let anyone take a look at what he did while he led the chamber. It is precisely what we warned would happen, and this absurd instinct to bury every scandal involving their members must be met with urgency.”
Spanning back to the beginning of the legislative term in January 2021, Democrats have pursued the following bipartisan investigations of alleged misconduct or abuse of office by over a dozen Republican lawmakers:
- House Resolution 260, sponsored by Tyrone Carter and introduced in March 2022, would create a select committee to investigate former Speaker Lee Chatfield.
- HR 10, sponsored by state Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) and introduced in January 2021, seeks accountability for state Rep. Matt Maddock over his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- HR 333, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) and introduced in September 2022, asks the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate 11 Republican representatives for the alleged crime of seditious conspiracy.
- HR 334, also sponsored by Tate and introduced last month, seeks accountability for state Rep. Daire Rendon over allegations that she used her office to illegally obtain sensitive voting equipment.
“We have offered numerous resolutions to create bipartisan investigative bodies, and the answer is always the same,” said state Representative Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac). “Even our resolution to create an ethics review committee has been shut down with zero consideration. Our demand to investigate Representative Rendon for her alleged election equipment tampering scheme is the same story — only silence from Republican leadership as they attempt to run out the clock.”
“It’s our duty to protect the people of Michigan from lawmakers who have abused their office, and not a single investigation has even been considered,” Tate said. “There have been so many demands for investigations because there have been so many outrageous alleged abuses from within the Republican caucus this term. Some of these have been buried in committees for nearly two years, some are in response to allegations we only learned about in the last two months, but they all meet the same end under this Republican leadership.”
During the Tuesday press conference, Democrats shared a video outlining the timeline of investigation demands and the mounting silence and inaction of Republican Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth. The video presentation can be found here.