The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 14, 2019

GOP rebukes Rep. Inman calls for his resignation after extortion charge

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

LANSING - State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is still a Michigan lawmaker, but he apparently has little support from his peers to keep his job, and indeed, is getting quite a bit of heat to resign.

A resolution introduced June 4 by the state House's Republican leaders said Inman "has drawn ridicule and disgrace to the state of Michigan and the Michigan House of Representatives, shaking the public trust and confidence in this legislative body, staining the honor, dignity, and integrity of the House."

Inman was charged by a federal grand jury last month "with attempted extortion under color of official right, solicitation of a bribe, and lying to the FBI," says the resolution, for allegedly attempting to solicit more money from the Michigan Regional Carpenters Council and Millwrights to sway his vote on the Michigan Prevailing Wage Act. 

The Grand Traverse County Republican eventually voted "yes" last year to abolish the state's Prevailing Wage Law, after unsuccessfully asking the Carpenters union, via text messages, to up their political contribution to him and other GOP lawmakers from $5,000 to $30,000 in order to gain a "no" vote on repeal. 

Court documents show that on June 3, 2018, Inman sent separate text messages to a Carpenters union representative and a union lobbyist, pointing out that they "only have 12 people to block it." Presumably those 12 were state lawmakers. Further, he wrote: "You said all 12 will get $30,000 each to help there (sic) campaigns. That did not happen . . I have heard most got $5,000, not $30,000 . . . I am not sure you can hold 12 people for the only help of $5,000."

He ended one text with “We never had this discussion.”

The prevailing wage law was repealed on June 6, 2018, easily passing the Republican-dominated Senate and barely passing the state House, by a 56-53 vote. 

Inman has so far declared his innocence and has refused calls to resign from his House seat - a call which was reiterated by Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield in the June 4 resolution.

"Whereas, public trust and confidence in government are prerequisites  to the functioning of a democratic society; now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives, that it is in the best interest of the state and this institution that Representative Larry Inman resign from his position as representative of the 104th House District, state of Michigan," House Resolution 115 says.  

A spokesman for Chatfield said there is no timetable for calling for a vote on the resolution, and the speaker has not yet begun expulsion proceedings, which are rare.  But the resolution says the House "reserves the right to take further disciplinary action permitted by Article IV, Section 16 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 and the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives in the event that Representative Larry Inman does not immediately resign from his position as representative."

Not surprisingly, the call for Inman to resign was bipartisan. House Minority Leader Christine Greig, a Democrat, told MIRS news service that the resolution will "let Rep. Inman know that we really feel like he's not fulfilling his duties as a representative and he should consider resigning. It has the full weight of all the members."

The last time that the House held expulsion hearings was in 2015, during a public saga in which state Reps. Reps. Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) had an affair and were accused of abusing their offices. Courser resigned and Gamrat was expelled.