UPDATE: House speaker asks lawmaker to resign
State Representative Larry Inman of Grand Traverse County has been charged with extortion, bribery and lying to the FBI.
And now, he has been asked to resign.
The leader of the Michigan House has asked a lawmaker to resign from office after he was charged with seeking campaign contributions in exchange for opposition to anti-union legislation.
Republican Speaker Lee Chatfield said Tuesday that his request to Rep. Larry Inman "is under consideration."
Chatfield did not say if he would pursue an expulsion if the Traverse City-area Republicans refuses to resign.
Inman has already been removed from his legislative committees, and his office has been taken over by nonpartisan staff.
Chatfield says he stripped Inman of his committee assignments and directed the House Business Office to take control of his office to ensure consistent services are available for people living in Inman's Traverse City-area district.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Grand Rapids says Inman solicited a bribe from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights in exchange for voting "no" on a bill repealing Michigan's prevailing wage law. The union did not pay the money and Inman voted "yes" on the bill. It passed the House by a 56-53 vote.
Prosecutors say Inman committed extortion and bribery by using his position to offer to exchange a vote for money. They also say Inman lied when questioned about it by an FBI agent.
Inman says he will "vigorously" fight charges that he sought campaign contributions in exchange for opposition to anti-union legislation.
He released a statement Wednesday, saying he's innocent.
"I am innocent of these charges. I have never comprised the integrity of my vote. I have always represented my constituency honestly and legally. I intend on vigorously fighting these charges and defending my reputation."
The Republican from the Traverse City area says he's "never compromised the integrity of my vote on any issue."
Inman faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights released this statement:
"Our members deserve elected officials who vote on the merits of a bill, and how it will affect us as taxpayers and hardworking people. We’re glad that Larry Inman is being brought to justice."
Samantha Hart, Communications Director for the Michigan House Democrats released the following statement:
“The accusations in the federal grand jury’s indictment of Representative Inman are deeply concerning. While the Representative is innocent until proven guilty, the House has a responsibility to the people of Michigan to closely monitor the legal process as it unfolds.”
The Michigan Democratic Party issued the following statement on behalf of MDP Chair Lavora Barnes regarding the federal grand jury indictment of state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) for bribery and attempted extortion:
"The charges against Rep. Inman are 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. This is a stark reminder that elections have consequences. 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. It is now up to Speaker Lee Chatfield to put party politics aside and do what is right for the 104th District and our state by demanding Inman's immediate resignation."
Inman is scheduled to be arraigned on May 23 in Grand Rapids.