GOP lawmaker indicted for trying to trade his vote for cash...........
The text message, which allegedly offered up a lawmaker’s vote in exchange for cash, ended with a famous five-word phrase: “We never had this discussion.”
But a federal grand jury has accused a Michigan lawmaker of doing just that, charging state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) with attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an FBI agent. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.
The indictment, made public on Wednesday, set off bipartisan calls for Inman’s resignation — demands he has forcefully resisted — as well as a possible intraparty showdown in the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Inman is alleged to have solicited money via text messages from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, a union that previously contributed to Inman’s campaign, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Michigan.
Court records show the messages were sent in June, days before lawmakers considered the repeal of a 1965 law guaranteeing higher pay and better benefits for workers on state construction projects. Inman allegedly offered to vote “no” on the repeal effort for the right price.
“We will get a ton of pressure on this vote,” Inman is alleged to have said in a text message to a union representative that encouraged the union to increase its contributions. “Its not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000. . . . My suggestion is you need to get people maxed out.”
The message referred to 12 legislators who would consider blocking the repeal in exchange for sizable campaign contributions.
It is unclear whether union officials responded to the messages. Court records show they did not make additional campaign contributions after the texts were received. When asked about the exchanges by an FBI agent, Inman “denied having any such communications,” according to the indictment.
Inman voted in favor of the law’s repeal, which passed in the Michigan House of Representatives by three votes.
In a statement, the leader of the Michigan Democratic Party, Lavora Barnes, said the charges against Inman were “incredibly disappointing and concerning.”
“Not only is Inman accused of violating the trust of his constituents, the oath of his office, and the law, but his actions, if true, show a deeply troubling pattern of Republican disdain for the working people of our state,” she said. “The citizens of Michigan deserve representatives that put the people of our state first and do not abuse the trust of the public or the power of their position.”