Michigan lawmakers push for ethics investigation into former Speaker Lee Chatfield

Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth opposes forming the panel
Michigan lawmakers push for ethics investigation into Lee Chatfield
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - House Democrats are calling for the creation of a committee to investigate whether former Speaker Lee Chatfield committed financial improprieties while in office.

Chatfield, a Republican who was Speaker before leaving due to term limits, has been under scrutiny since his sister-in-law alleged he began sexually assaulting her when she was a minor.

Democrats pointed Thursday to reports about his frequent travel and how his top aides -- Rob and Anne Minard -- also ran a consulting firm that was paid handsomely by campaign and political action committees.

Democrats said the House needs to do its own investigation to regain the trust of people across the state.

“When this legislature sits back and does nothing in the face of allegations such as these, we lose that trust outright,” said Rep. Terry Sabo, (D) Muskegon.

Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth opposes forming the panel and said the police are investigating. Democrats said it’s possible to have two investigations at the same time

“Obstructing the investigation is to say these questions don’t matter. Or the people of Michigan don’t deserve these answers,” said Rep. Joe Tate, (D) Detroit.

Since Chatfield is no longer in office because of term limits, there won’t be any sort of punishment if a House investigation found wrongdoing, but one representative said it’s an opportunity for future lawmakers.

“Maybe we’ll find this is an opportunity to put things in place to prevent things from happening if it did happen. Or if we didn’t happen we can start with the policy and procedure of which we are governed,” said Rep. Tyrone Carter, (D) Detroit.

Chatfield has admitted to having an affair with his sister-in-law but said it was consensual and she was an adult.

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