House creates special committee to look into Courser, Gamrat expulsion
August 25, 2015
A select committee charged with determining whether Rep. Todd COURSER (R-Lapeer) and Rep. Cindy GAMRAT (R-Plainwell) should remain in office was created Wednesday moments before the House adjourned for the week.
SR 129, sponsored by House Speaker Kevin COTTER (R-Mt. Pleasant), was adopted by a voice vote at about 9 p.m., with some audible opposition speaking up against the measure.
It creates the formal body that may begin expulsion proceedings against the conservative Courser and Gamrat, who were revealed to be having an affair, concocting a false email connecting Courser to gay sex to draw attention away from the affair and then potentially using state resources to cover it up.
By approving the resolution Wednesdayh, Cotter said, it reserves “the opportunity to allow that committee to meet sooner than after Labor Day.”
That’s because the House likely won’t meet again until Sept. 9, after Labor Day.
House Business Manager Tim BOWLIN’s investigation into the matter is likely to wrap up early next week.
In the meantime, the House created the select committee to consist of four Republicans and two Democrats to “examine the qualification of Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser and determine their fitness to continue holding the high office to which they were elected.”
The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the full House. It may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and examine records and call upon the services of any state agency for help if necessary.
Gamrat and Courser will be given an opportunity to appear before the House committee and be represented by counsel if they want.
Courser left the House floor without commenting Wednesday. As for Gamrat, she couldn’t be located on the floor after session ended.
About an hour later, Gamrat exited the Capitol with House sergeants standing nearby in the parking lot.
House Minority Leader Tim GREIMEL (D-Auburn Hills) said he thought starting the committee made sense.
“Taxpayers of this state have a right to know exactly what occurred,” Greimel said. He added, “We need to do our due diligence to investigate whether or not public resources were misused.”
In other news from the Gamrat-Courser saga, Courser channeled Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger on his Facebook page Wednesday. He wrote that “when you fail, you acknowledge your failure, you put safe guards in place to guard your heart as unto the Lord, then you work to repair all those relationships that you have let down.
“Then you have to decide to either shrink back or lean on God’s promises and just get up in humility and in the fear of the Lord and return to fight for those things that matter and go out and do the job you were hired to do.”
Gamrat posted her first Facebook comment since the controversy Wednesday by writing about her views on a road funding package. She wrote her three priorities in regards to road funding: Quality, no higher taxes and how road money should be distributed. None of the 40-some commenters spoke of the current controversy.
Schuette Declines Comment On Courser-Gamrat Affair
He’s been asked to look into the Gamrat and Courser matter, but Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE declined to go there when asked today during a conference call.
“As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I can’t comment on that. I can say that I view this thing with a great sadness in regards to the families and children involved,” Schuette said.
10th Congressional GOP Committee Calls For Courser Resignation
Meanwhile, the 10th Congressional Republican Executive Committee unanimously approved a letter calling for Courser’s resignation.
The letter was signed by Stan GROT, chair of the executive committee, who said he sent it to Courser’s office.
“Through your deceptive actions you have squandered the opportunity to represent the people with decency and integrity and instead humiliated our community,” the letter read in part. “Through your own actions you have brought dishonor and embarrassment to the people of Lapeer County and Michigan’s 10th Congressional District.”
Howell Throws Hat Into Ring
Courser also was asked to resign today by Gary HOWELL, president of the Lapeer County Intermediate School District board, who added that he would make another run at state House next year or earlier if Courser leaves office early.
Howell, 67, said Courser’s decision to skip a House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on May 21 so he could talk with his staff about his bogus prostitute email proves to him, as a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea, that Courser has “lost the confidence and respect of his constituents.”
“It is time to put an end to the Courser soap opera and elect a capable legislator who is interesting in representing the needs of Lapeer County,” Howell said.
Howell is a retired township attorney who farmed in the North Branch area for 33 years. He’s also served on the Lapeer County Road Commission. He finished 450 votes behind former Rep. Kevin DALEY in the Republican primary in 2008, the same race in which Courser finished third, 2,085 votes behind Daley.
Randy ST. LAURENT, who finished fourth in that race, has taken out recall paperwork on Courser.
Jake DAVISON had previously announced the Lapeer County-based 82nd District.