House creates committee to consider expelling lawmakers
The state House has taken an initial step toward disciplining two lawmakers caught up in a sex-and-cover-up scandal. The House adopted a resolution to create a special committee to “examine the qualifications” of state Representatives Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.
The tea party-affiliated lawmakers face questions over whether they used public resources in a plot to cover up their extra-marital affair.
“This is something that we’re giving a lot of thought to,” says House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant. “We want to be very thoughtful about it. This is very serious, and I do not take it lightly at all.”
Cotter says teeing up the committee now will allow the House to act quickly on the results of an internal investigation once lawmakers return to Lansing in September after a summer break.
“So for the purpose of keeping all options open, the committee was just formed,” he says. “Members have not yet been assigned to it, but we will by doing so, reserve the opportunity to have that committee meet sooner than after Labor Day.”
The internal House business office investigation is expected to wrap up next week. Cotter says the special committee may look at options including censure or even expulsion once the report is released. Removing either or both lawmakers would require a two-thirds vote of the House.
The House adjourned Wednesday night after it became clear a deal was not coming together to come up with a $1.2 billion plan to fund road repairs.