Courser resigns, House votes to expel Gamrat - WNEM TV 5

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Courser resigns, House votes to expel Gamrat

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

The fate is now known for two Michigan lawmakers embattled in a sex scandal.

The Michigan House of Representatives voted 91 to 12 to remove Rep. Cindy Gamrat from office. The vote took place early Friday morning.

Rep. Todd Courser announced his resignation shortly before the House voted to expel Gamrat.

The embattled Republican representative attempted to call the House to a prayer as he spoke on the House floor for what could be the last time ever.

After a select committee voted to expel both him and fellow state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, the decision went to the full House for a vote.

"I would just ask for your grace and forgiveness in this," Courser said. "And you have my most heartfelt apology. It has been my privilege to serve here."

Shortly before the vote, Gamrat told reporters that, by admitting guilt, House leadership had promised her a less severe censure as opposed to expulsion.

The chairman of the select committee that recommended her expulsion called it an outright lie. 

The only Republicans voting to prevent Courser's expulsion was Rep. Martin Howrylack and Gamrat. The other 12 dissenting votes were from Democrats. Eight Democrats voted in favor of removing Courser.

Democrats have questions about how a House panel conducted its investigation. As a result, 28 Democrats are refusing to vote.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, one of those refusing to vote, released a statement to explain: 

“My fellow Democrats are simply asking for a full, accountable and transparent investigation before we take an action that has only occurred a few times in the history of this state. We believe it is not too much to ask for the select committee to exercise due diligence, follow due process and have a complete picture of what happened, and who knew about it and when, before taking such an extreme step as expulsion. The actions of the two representatives were indeed egregious, and removing them from office may be warranted. However, the purpose of the investigation, and whatever action the committee deemed appropriate, was supposed to restore the faith and trust of the public to this body. When the committee members struck relevant testimony from the record, disallowed the subpoena of material witnesses and refused to initiate an independent investigation, they are leaving questions unanswered raising doubt in the outcome. We cannot vote for expulsion until we have a full picture of the issue at hand.”

Rep. Sheldon Neeley, Flint, also released a statement, calling for a deeper investigation into the two Tea Party Republicans:

“While I do not endorse the alleged professional and personal behavior and misconduct by the two representatives in question, at this time I cannot vote either way on these House Resolutions due to the lack of conclusion on this investigation. This process has not been allowed to work to its conclusion, and it appears there has been a rush to move the vote forward. The evidence that has been presented thus far is inconclusive and therefore there is a lack of substantial content to make a credible decision on this matter. I stand with many of my colleagues to call for a deeper investigation into Reps. Courser and Gamrat.”

Gamrat became the fourth Michigan lawmaker in state history to be expelled by her peers.

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