County Commissioner thinks he was set up

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - An Ingham County Commissioner thinks he was set-up for a violation after he responded to a campaign e-mail from his Ingham County account.

He told News 10's Alani Letang how it happened.
Commissioner Dennis Louney told me it was just an honest mistake

He said he's new to the political world and will have a closer eye on his campaign activity.

"Looked at my phone, I've got four different email accounts that I get sent to my phone," said Dennis Louney, Ingham County Commissioner, District 10.

And because of that Dennis Louney said he made a simple mistake when he responded to a campaign e-mail from his taxpayer-funded account

"On Monday I had a complaint against me, when I found out about it, I said 'yea I did respond' it was wrong," said Louney.

"Completely unacceptable to use county resources, in this case, a county email address for the purposes of campaigning. That's what the allegation is, that's what I found he did. He campaigned using county resources," said Barb Byrum, Ingham County Clerk.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum was made aware of the incident and sent the complaint to Louney and the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections.

Louney said that quick reaction from county officials makes it feel like a setup.

"So I'm not saying my opponents did it or anything but it just seemed interesting that right away there was a complaint on it. Kind of like someone was testing me," said Louney.

Louney tells me he unknowingly did it before, that time through snail mail.

"I put a mailing out and it included my Ingham address on it, and that was my mistake I didn't catch that, those have since been corrected. Anything I get related to the campaign it comes to my county account I send it to my personal account to make sure I'm not going to be using county resources for it," said Louney.

Bryum said this disciplinary action would likely get a fine, but nothing too drastic.

Byrum told Letang, "but this is not what would result in being taken off the ballot."

Byrum offers a class on campaign financing training at least three times a year.

Louney told Letang he's going to take it and make himself more aware.

"If it's campaign-related I have to be very careful and make sure there is no perception or issue, that I would be looking at county resources that could assist in my campaign," said Louney.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Elections said they have received the complaint. Staff will review it for up to five business days before deciding whether to investigate the complaint or dismiss it.

We were tipped off about the election complaint by Thomas Morgan. He's one of two candidates running against Louney in the Democratic primary for the tenth-district seat on the county board.