House Speaker Lee Chatfield at the State of the State address, Jan. 29, 2020 | Andrew Roth
Michigan House Democrats are calling on the House Republican Campaign Committee and individual candidates to return more than $815,000 in campaign contributions they received from former Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering).
The call comes after the Detroit News reported additional details about the investigation into Chatfield from court documents that were temporarily made public. The News reported that he is being investigated in connection with an alleged “criminal enterprise” that “included embezzlement, campaign finance violations, bribery, the use, possession and delivery of controlled substances, misconduct in office and income tax evasion.”
The Michigan Advance reported last month that the Michigan State Police had completed its investigation into Chatfield and turned it over to the attorney general’s office. The investigation began after Chatfield’s sister-in-law, Rebekah Chatfield, alleged he had sexually abused her starting when she was 15 or 16. Lee Chatfield has denied the allegations, calling it a consensual affair.
“The allegations against the former GOP Speaker are truly shocking and a disturbing testament to the culture of corruption that Republican leadership has let fester unchecked in Lansing,” said House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.). “Republicans have refused to investigate their disgraced Leader for his growing list of abuses of office but are happy to continue using his tainted funds to hold onto power.”
The contributions that Democrats are calling for Republicans to return include $407,900 to the House Republican Campaign Committee, $138,500 to Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell), and $39,600 to Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron), who is now running for lieutenant governor alongside GOP nominee Tudor Dixon, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Reps. Sarah Lightner (R-Springport Twp.), Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.), Pamala Hornberger (R-Chesterfield), Matt Hall (R-Comstock Park), Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills), Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Twp.) and Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) also received funds from Chatfield.
The House Republican Campaign Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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