Updates: Rep. Todd Courser Affair Involves Sex, Lies and Audiotape

August 07, 2015, 2:11 PM

Rep. State Rep. Todd Courser

Update -- Friday, 2:10 p.m.: U.S. Rep. Candice Miller on Friday called for the immediate resignation of state Rep. Todd Courser following The Detroit News report, the paper reports.

“Based on these revelations, under no circumstance can Todd Courser continue to represent the residents of Lapeer County, who are good, hard working community and faith-based folks,” said Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, in a statement. “This behavior is a slap in their face, especially from someone who presents himself as a moralist.”

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Update-- Friday, 10:54 a.m. : House Speaker Kevin Cotter has asked for an “open ended” investigation into the conduct of state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, The Detroit News reports. The News paper discloses today that the two tried to cover up their relationship with the help of an aide.

Cotter issued a statement:

“After seeing these allegations, I am immediately asking the non-partisan House Business Office to perform a thorough investigation into the matter. The office will review the matter and determine whether there was a violation of House rules or any evidence of illegal behavior, and will follow up with any and all appropriate measures, including disciplinary steps.”

Original article:

This strange scenario sounds like a plot twist from "House of Cards."

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News writes that State Rep. Todd Courser planned to distribute a fictional email alleging he had sex with a male prostitute -- a ploy aimed at hiding his affair with Rep. Cindy Gamrat, according to audio recordings obtained by The Detroit News.

Courser is married and the father of four children. Gamrate is married and has three children. Both conservative Republicans rose through the ranks of Tea Party activism.

An aide recorded conversations, Livengood reports:

Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create “a complete smear campaign” of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem “mild by comparison.”

Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship. Courser, 43, and Gamrat, 42, rose from the ranks of tea party activism, battled establishment Republicans to win seats in the House last year and formed their own legislative coalition.

A now-former House aide recorded Courser in mid-May directing him to send Republican activists and operatives an email that would appear to be from an anonymous political enemy that said Courser had been “caught behind a Lansing nightclub” having sex with a man.

Rep. Cindy Gamrat

After House aide Ben Graham rejected Courser’s May 19 request to take a sick day and send the mass email to Republicans across Michigan, Livengood writes, he says he lost his duties. Gamrat also fired her aide, aide, Keith Allard.

The News goes on to report:

During two meetings recorded by Graham, Courser and Gamrat, who is also married and has three children, did not dispute the aide’s characterization of their relationship as an extramarital affair. They acknowledged the aide’s discomfort but neither directly confirmed nor denied having a sexual relationship.

Here's how a Lansing political consultant reacts Friday to The News' scoop:

Read more:  The Detroit News

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