Michigan State Rep. Todd Courser allegedly called it a “controlled burn.”
“In a controlled burn, you do a little bit of truth mixed in with a lot of lies,” Courser allegedly told former House aide Ben Graham while in his law office in Lapeer on May 19. Courser told Graham that he wanted help distributing an email which would propagate an elaborate fictional story claiming that Courser had sex with a male prostitute. Graham claims that Courser devised a plan that would seem like a legitimate “smear campaign” involving Courser and a male prostitute. It would consist of false claims, so that if true news broke about him, that truth would seem “mild by comparison.”
The truth, according to the House aide, was that Todd Courser and fellow lawmaker Rep. Cindy Gamrat were having an affair.
— Holly Fournier (@HollyPFournier) August 7, 2015
Not only did Gamrat and Courser have an affair, according to interviews and even recordings of Courser, but the two lawmakers allegedly used their offices, funded by tax-payers, to cover up their affair. Both Courser and Gamrat, according to the Detroit News, fought Republican lawmakers for their house seats last year. Both lawmakers “rose from the ranks of tea party activism.”
— Will Carr (@WillCarrFNC) August 7, 2015
The email was supposed to look like it was coming from an anonymous political enemy. The only problem with Courser’s plan is that Graham wanted nothing to do with it and actually recorded some of Courser’s requests.
Now that news of the attempted controlled burn has been broken by Graham, Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter has called for an investigation into the House aide’s allegations. Ben Graham was fired in July, at the same time as Gamrat stopped working with one of her top aides, MLIVE reported. Incidentally, both Graham and Gamrat’s aide, Keith Allard, received pay raises earlier this year.
“The office will review the matter and determine whether there was a violation of House rules or any evidence of illegal behavior, and will follow-up with any and all appropriate measures, including disciplinary steps,” Cotter said. “We will not stand for any violation of House rules or law, and we will not let anyone’s actions tarnish this institution or take away from the work we do every day to improve the lives of the hard-working men and women of this great state.”
Rep. Todd Courser and fellow lawmaker Rep. Cindy Gamrat are staunch social conservatives.
— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) August 7, 2015
[Photo by CedarBendDrive/Flickr]