LANSING (WWJ) - A scandal is stirring involving two state representatives who allegedly tried to cover-up an extramarital affair.
The Detroit News has published raw audio from a recording by a house aide to State Rep. Todd Courser which indicates the Lapeer Republican wanted to send a fake email about himself to help cover up a personal relationship he was having with another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Cindy Gamrat. Both lawmakers are married.
In the recording, Courser said he wanted his 25-year-old office worker to send an email about himself to Republican operatives, alleging that he had been caught having sex with a male prostitute behind a Lansing nightclub.
Courser, 43, said on the recording that the email was designed to create "a complete smear campaign" of exaggerated, false claims about him so when his alleged affair with Gamrat, 42, came to light, it would seem "mild by comparison," according to the newspaper report.
"I need a controlled burn," Courser, a father of four children, said repeatedly throughout the conversation. "I need it to be over the top."
The email was apparently prompted after Courser and Gamrat were contacted by someone who threatened to expose their relationship.
"I need to, if possible, inoculate the heard against gutter politics that are coming," Courser says.
In the recording, Courser tells his aide, Ben Graham, that his family knows nothing of the alleged affair but says that Gamrat, a mother of three children, has told her husband about their relationship and that they are "working through their stuff."
"This is the best we came up with. Neither one of us want to be on somebody's leash. Neither one of us really want to be in Lansing if this is how we have to do it," Courser says on the recording.
"You could just quit, you know," Graham responds.
"I might have to," Courser says after a long pause.
Graham, who seemed to entertain Courser's plan momentarily, eventually said he would not help in the cover-up. Two days later, the sexually explicit email was sent from an anonymous source to Republicans.
Courser read portions of a draft email during his meeting with Graham: "'Todd Courser caught on tape behind Lansing nightclub. Truth. Courser secretly removed from caucus several weeks ago due to a male-on-male paid for sex behind a prominent Lansing nightclub. He is a bi-sexual, porn addicted, sexual deviant,'" Courser read from the email. "And then you just get nasty about it. 'His c*** is hanging out all over Lansing since the election, and that's why he was thrown out of office.'"
"Are you serious? What are you talking about? That's ridiculous," Graham says. "Nobody is going to believe any of that."
"No, they'll believe some of it," Courser responds before continuing to read the email.
"'He doesn't work in Lansing. He's just there feeding his habit of alcohol, drugs and illicit sex. Most days he is high, stoned on drugs and alcohol while he is supposed to be voting,'" Courser reads. "'In between, he has seduced and taken advantage of Rep. Gamrat. The people deserve to know the real reason she was thrown out by the Speaker, is because she wouldn't stop being Courser's toy in caucus... She's a tramp, a lie and a lap for this bi-sexual monster. This d-bagger takes his title seriously, moaning and groaning,' blah, blah, blah, blah."
In the weeks following the email's release, Graham said he was removed from his duties and eventually fired.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter said in a statement Friday that he wants an investigation to determine if any House rules were broken or if there was any illegal behavior.
"After seeing these allegations, I am immediately asking the non-partisan House Business Office to perform a thorough investigation into the matter," said Cotter. "We will not stand for any violation of House rules or law, and we will not let anyone's actions tarnish this institution or take away from the work we do every day to improve the lives of the hard-working men and women of this great state.
Neither Courser or Gamrat have commented on the investigation.
The socially conservative Courser and Gamrat rose from tea party activism and battled establishment Republicans to win seats in the House last year before forming a legislative coalition together.
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