Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas
State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) released a statement Wednesday afternoon alleging that state Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.), who was stripped of his committee assignments Tuesday without explanation, committed domestic violence.
“The unfortunate reality is that many people in our society have experienced domestic abuse, which often comes from someone we would never expect,” Manoogian said Wednesday in a statement responding to Marino’s removal from his committee assignments.
“None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, regardless of our career. It can happen right here in our legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public shaming, can be used to intimidate fellow members of the legislature.”
House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) sent Marino a letter Tuesday notifying him that he was stripped of serving on both the Commerce and Tourism Committee and the Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee, but did not specify the reason at that time.
A woman from Marino’s office, who would not identify herself, said she was unaware of the situation when the Advance called Wednesday afternoon.
“I have no comment because I don’t know anything,” the woman said, declining to give her name.
Wentworth said the Michigan State Police is undergoing an investigation and more details will be provided “at the appropriate time.”
“I will always prioritize the safety of state legislators and those who are serving their community at the State Capitol. Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. Going forward, the House is honoring Rep. Manoogian’s request for privacy while others look into the allegations,” Wentworth said in a statement Wednesday.
Manoogian, who served on the Commerce and Tourism Committee Marino formerly chaired, did not respond to a request for further comment on the MSP investigation.
Michigan House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) echoed Wentworth’s statement about protecting Manoogian’s privacy.
“Our caucus is acutely aware of the challenges that come with being a female elected official and will not tolerate any threats of abuse, retribution and public embarrassment that are used to intimidate women,” Lasinski said.
Lawmakers are rarely removed from committees.
Last term, GOP House leaders removed state Rep. Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit) from her committee assignments after she posted a video about violent and racist threats she received from Trump supporters, claiming she was making threats herself. State Rep. Gary Eisen (R-Port Huron) was also removed from his committee assignments last term after he said he couldn’t rule out violence when Republicans sought to disrupt the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote in Michigan and submit an illegal slate of GOP electors.
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