Courser, Gamrat investigation: Misuse of taxpayer resources, ‘troubling’ misconduct

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LANSING, Mich. -- A source with knowledge of the investigation submitted to House Speaker Kevin Cotter's office Monday said the preliminary findings show evidence of misuse of taxpayer resources and misconduct on the part of embattled Reps. Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser.

A draft report on the findings has also been submitted to outside counsel for independent review, which is typical procedure for internal human resource personnel investigations.

“Asking an outside counsel to review the report is a normal process to protect the privacy and confidentiality of affected individuals and ensure compliance with Human Resources regulations," Tim Bowlin, director of the House Business Office, said in a statement.

The full report will not be released publicly until the independent review is completed.

The findings will also be submitted to 'proper authorities' to determine if any criminal charges will be pursued in the case.

"I have received a draft report to review, and there is troubling evidence of misconduct.  I am directing my legal counsel to review the preliminary findings for the purposes of any further disciplinary actions," Cotter said in a statement Monday.

The freshman lawmakers and conservative favorites have admitted to having an extramarital affair after the Detroit News obtained and released audio recordings of Courser trying to persuade an aide to take part in a bizarre coverup involving allegations that Courser had been caught with a male prostitute.

Courser has since claimed he was being blackmailed by powerful Lansing forces into sending out the cover up email.

Last week, House members passed a resolution ordering an investigation into whether Rep. Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat are fit to hold office.

Both have stated publicly they will not resign.

In a statement released through her spokesperson, Gamrat thanked her supporters and said she had yet to view the report.

"This job is a privilege and a duty and I owe it to the people in my life and in the 80th House District to review the report and study my options," the statement reads.

"I will talk it over with my family before making any decisions on what steps might be next. As of this time, I have not ruled out any options and I am still listening carefully to input from the people of the 80th District because they are, after all, who I serve in this position."

Attempts to reach Courser were unsuccessful.

Both Brandon Dillon, chairman for the Michigan Democratic Party, and Progress Michigan slammed Cotter for not immediately releasing the full report. Dillon questioned whether the House Speaker knew more about the affair before news broke, but failed to address it.

Lonnie Scott with Progress Michigan said an independent investigation is needed.

"The Michigan Constitution guarantees ‘fair treatment’ in legislative investigations which requires public disclosure of the entire report now, not simply the accusatory summary issued by Speaker Cotter," Scott said in a statement. "Cotter and Bowlin are paid by the taxpayers and the taxpayers deserve access to the report they funded so they can determine for themselves whether Courser and Gamrat did anything wrong."

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