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todd courser

I once saw former State Representative Todd Courser expound on how the welfare state was bad and people needed to take personal responsibility for their lives. Cindy Gamrat, his fellow representative, political soulmate and secret mistress, was nodding vigorously.

Complaining about mythical welfare queens and other so-called predatory poor people is pretty much standard fare for the right wing, and has been, to a greater or lesser degree, since the New Deal.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan House has approved legislation to prohibit a lawmaker who resigns or who has been expelled from office from running in the special election to fill the seat.

The bill passed 72-36 Thursday is a response to former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat running in special elections to finish the remainder of their terms in 2015. He had resigned and she had been expelled after being accused of misusing state resources to try to cover up their extramarital affair.

Former state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
images from Courser/Gamrat offices

If you’re expelled or resign from your seat in the legislature, you shouldn’t get to run for the seat you vacated.

That’s the idea behind a bill making progress in Lansing.

The legislation – which failed to make it through last year’s session – was crafted in the wake of a sex and cover-up scandal.

Explaining the partial inspiration for the bill, sponsor Republican Aaron Miller said, “You learn from things that happen today what legislation needs to be changed for tomorrow.”

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at Todd Courser's $160 million civil lawsuit, a rejected challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law and a push to stop local communities from regulating plastic grocery bags. Lessenberry and Tribou also talk about a WWE wrestler turned Republican nominee who's looking to pin down a seat in the Michigan House this November.


Former lawmaker Todd Courser
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Todd Courser’s 182-page lawsuit is “like a bad dream that won’t go away,” says State House Speaker Kevin Cotter.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Courser hasn’t moved on with his life,” Cotter said Monday on Stateside. “But as we saw last week, with the filing of this ridiculous lawsuit, apparently he hasn’t. Unfortunately, additional taxpayer resources will be spent to defend against a very frivolous lawsuit.

Former state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
images from Courser/Gamrat offices

Former state Representative Todd Courser will face trial on perjury and misconduct charges. At the same time, a judge dismissed criminal charges against former state Representative Cindy Gamrat.

The judge said the state’s case against Gamrat was simply too weak to go to trial.

The state has 21 days to appeal the decision, but Gamrat says she hopes this is the final word on the matter.

“I think I have a lot of mixed emotions,” Gamrat said after the hearing. “It’s been a really hard journey.”

Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING – Two Michigan lawmakers who were forced from office in a sex scandal face a key hearing on charges that they committed felony misconduct in office.

The preliminary exam scheduled to begin Wednesday in a Lansing courtroom will determine if there is probable cause to go to trial. Todd Courser resigned last September and Cindy Gamrat became the fourth legislator to ever be expelled.

The conservative Republicans had an extramarital affair.

Courser announces run for Lapeer County prosecutor

Apr 19, 2016
Courser web site

The Lapeer County Clerk's Office confirmed today that former representative Todd Courser is one of three candidates who've filed to run in the Republican primary. One of his opponents is incumbent Prosecutor Timothy Turkelson. 

Courser resigned his House seat in September as his colleagues were about to vote on expelling him. 

Courser and fellow lawmaker Cindy Gamrat were involved in a sex and cover-up scandal that rocked the state Capitol for weeks. 

Courser tried to regain his House seat in a special election and lost.

Courser-Gamrat websites

  LAPEER, Mich. (AP) - A former state lawmaker forced out of office in a sex scandal says criminal charges against are him are "nonsensical" and "political."

  Todd Courser responded Saturday on Facebook, a day after Attorney General Bill Schuette charged him with perjury and misconduct in office.

  Courser, a Republican from Lapeer County, resigned in September as his House colleagues were poised to kick him out. He had an affair with another lawmaker, Cindy Gamrat, but their legal troubles are tied to their attempt to cover it up.

Inside the Michigan House of Representatives.
user - CedarBendDrive / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Keith Allard and Ben Graham, the two ex-staffers of former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the Michigan House of Representatives.

In their lawsuit, the ex-staffers allege that House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s office ignored their reports that Gamrat and Courser were engaging in an extra-marital affair, and that the two representatives were misusing their office by forcing the staffers to do political work with taxpayer money.

They say they first reported the problems in February 2015. They were later fired in July.

Two things happened yesterday that starkly illustrate what’s right and what’s wrong with politics and government in this state. First, we had an election – or, more accurately, a whole flock of elections. Turnout wasn’t great, despite the beautiful weather.

But the vast majority of the voters behaved reasonably and responsibly.


Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry says he wasn't surprised to see that former state representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser didn't regain their seats after their sex and cover up scandal. Lessenberry says Flint's water crisis was a big reason why political newcomer Karen Weaver will now take over Dayne Walling's position as Flint mayor. Lessenberry also explains the road funding plan, which is now on it's way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk. Lessenberry says the roads plan won't actually fix the roads. 


Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

Former state Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat both lost bids to regain their seats after being forced out of the state House.

The two ex-lawmakers were very well known, but for the wrong reasons. Their efforts to cover up an extra-marital affair with wild rumors became the topic of national headlines and late-night jokes.

Gamrat lost to Mary Whiteford in her Republican primary. Courser lost his Republican primary to Gary Howell. Both seats are considered safely in the GOP column. The general election will be in March.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s not much on the ballot in Michigan tomorrow, but what is there is sparking controversy.

There are primaries for three state house seats.

The vacancies came as a result of a retirement, a resignation, and an expulsion. 

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING, Mich. - Two conservative ex-lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and attempted to conceal it have been sued by former aides. 

The Detroit News and MLive.com report former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were sued Friday by Keith Allard and Ben Graham in Ingham County Circuit Court. 

Courser website

Fourteen candidates to fill an open Michigan House seat are scheduled to appear at a debate Friday evening in Lapeer County, including the man who resigned the seat.

Todd Courser stepped down near the end of a marathon session as House members debated expelling him over allegations he used his office to cover up a romantic affair with another state lawmaker. An hour later, the House voted to expel State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, with whom Courser had a romantic relationship.

When the Michigan House of Representatives finally got rid of its two disgraced members earlier this month, we thought that was that.

Nobody imagined there was much of a chance of them reclaiming their jobs.

Well, think again. 

Will the Legislature finally take action on the roads?

Sep 24, 2015
Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Jennifer White was joined by Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, to take a look at Michigan politics.

This week, they discussed whether there were any lingering effects of the scandal involving former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. They also took a look at the issues the legislature is likely to tackle this session, including funding for roads.

Here's their conversation:

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

State elections officials say there’s nothing in the law that says former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat can’t run for their old seats in the upcoming special election.

Both filed after Gamrat was expelled by a two-thirds vote of the state House, and Courser quit as he was about to be removed. The two tea party lawmakers were embroiled in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

Richard Nixon is remembered today largely for all the bad things he did while President. He lied, engaged in a massive cover-up of criminal activities, obstructed justice, bugged even himself – you name it. 

In the end he resigned.

Todd Courser did the same 10 days ago, so that he wouldn’t be thrown out of the Michigan Legislature, as Cindy Gamrat in fact was.

Courser web site

Update 5:44 pm:

Former state Rep. Todd Courser is running again for the state House seat he resigned last week. Courser filed shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday to run in a special election for the seat.

Courser admitted to trying to cover up an affair with former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, who was expelled for her part in the scandal. Gamrat filed to run for her former seat on Thursday.

In an interview on Friday with CNN, Courser, R-Lapeer, said the decision came after discussions with his wife.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

Cindy Gamrat says she will run in the special election for the seat she was expelled from six days ago. The Allegan County Clerk’s office confirmed she filed for the special election. The primary for the seat will be held Nov. 3.

Gamrat was removed last week by a two-thirds vote of the House over her role in a sex-and-cover-up scandal. She says that decision was not fair to her voters.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

New bills in the state House would add restrictions on abortions and protections for religious leaders who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

But the future of the bills could be hampered by the representative who introduced them. Now-former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, was expelled from the House last week after a sex-and-cover up scandal. She introduced the legislation just two days before her expulsion vote.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

In a turn of events that surprised many, Rep. Todd Courser resigned his position on Friday, while Rep. Cindy Gamrat became the fourth state legislator in Michigan’s history to be expelled.

John Lidstrom was one of the veteran Lansing political observers watching that expulsion vote, and based on the editorial he wrote about the episode, it’s clear he did so with a sense of dismay.

“The Establishment Strikes Back” could be a very apropos title for the latest episode of the Todd Courser-Cindy Gamrat saga.

That’s the one where Republican leaders (with some help from Democrats) succeeded in booting the prominent and troublesome Tea Partiers from the state Legislature.

Orange construction barrels
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state House returns this week with two fewer members.

The House expelled Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser resigned late last week due to a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

Speaker Kevin Cotter says lawmakers can focus on roads now that the scandal is no longer a distraction.

People living in 80th and 82nd districts in Michigan are currently without a state representative.
Gamrat and Courser websites

The State House lost two members this morning when one resigned and the other was expelled.

(More on that here.)

To fill the gap, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley just announced plans to fill the two vacated seats. He made the call since Gov. Snyder is in Japan on an investment mission.

The state House of Representatives remained in session into the wee hours today, with Democrats defiantly refusing for a long time to provide the votes to expel Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, because they thought Republicans cut off the investigation into their activities too soon.

Finally, when it was clear that some kind of deal had been cut, Courser suddenly resigned, after vowing he never would. But Gamrat, who had repeatedly said she might resign, refused in the end. 

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, resigned early this morning as the House was about to vote on expelling him. That capped a 15-hour session with three earlier efforts that were thwarted. Courser says he called it quits because he could see how it would wind up.

Politics, scandals, and extreme partisanship

Sep 10, 2015
Former lawmaker Todd Courser
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Each week,  Jennifer White talks to Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. Today they discussed the disciplinary hearings for state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. 

Sikkema and Demas say  the hearings highlight a new level of hyperpartisanship in state  politics. 

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