Thursday, September 10, 2015

Breaking: Courser and Gamrat Survive Expulsion After House Dems Demand Full Investigation

Gamrat and Courser (Photo by the Detroit News)

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at
>>>Updated: It's official. State Rep. Tom Leonard​ read the names of Dems who refused to vote one last time, and the motion to expel State Rep. Todd Courser has FAILED.

With a floor vote taking place for well over two hours, State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat appear to have survived expulsion from the Michigan House today after House Democrats demanded more answers, notably about the role of Speaker Cotter and his office in the ongoing controversy.

Despite Republican wishes to end this circus now" in the words of Rep. McBroom, Democrats had other plans. Most Dems simply refused to vote while some voted "no." Martin Howlyrak was the only Republican aside from Courser and Gamrat to vote against expulsion.

Howrylak took to Twitter agreeing with Democrats that the investigation isn't complete.

"@singhsam94 is making some very good points about Gamrat / Courser process Our work is not done," he said.

Speaker Cotter's spokesman said that ""We're going to leave the board open, let them think about what they're doing for a little while." That won't change the outcome.

The vote for Courser's expulsion came up at 67 votes, 6 short of the 2/3 majority needed to remove the legislators. House security had been prepared to remove Gamrat and Courser from the House with help from police if needed had they been removed.

If the votes aren't there for Courser, they certainly won't be for Gamrat.

28 Dems refused to vote, while Reps. Chang and Clemente were absent according to Chad Livengood.


Speaker Pro Tem Tom Leonard brought the gavel down twice, once on Courser for trying to pray, and also on Rep. Gary Glenn for trying to read a Bible verse. Leonard said speeches should only focus on the resolution to expel.

Rep. Singh said: "Don't we owe it to the 90,000 people in the districts who elected these representatives to have a full investigation?"

State Rep. Sarah Roberts asks "why wasn't their an investigation from Attorney General Schuette? Or the Secretary of State?" Says she has not had time to read the almost 900 page report and asks why Speaker Cotter's Chief of Staff had testimony stricken.

Rep. Frank Liberati was on the panel investigating the situation. He blasted the process.

"There's no trust and confidence from the public in this process... let's send it back to committee," Liberti said. "in no way am I prepared to make a decision today on kicking out two of my colleagues for the 4th time in the history of the great state of Michigan."

Cotter ridiculed calls for more investigation, quoting a tweet from former staffer Keith Allard on the House floor.

Despite predictions by many Gamrat and Courser would be gone before Mackinac, WMP predicted weeks ago that Greimel very well could hold his caucus together in an effort to demand an independent investigation.

"Some veteran political observers like Rick Albin believe that Courser and Gamrat may be expelled before the Mackinaw Republican Leadership Conference September 18...

However, If House Dems leader Tim Greimel can hold his caucus together and he demands an Attorney General (or special prosecutor) investigation into the Courser/Gamrat controversy that includes "what the Speaker and House leadership knew and when they knew it," Todd and Cindy won't be going anywhere anytime soon because Cotter needs Dems votes to expel. Stay tuned..."

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 

Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

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