Michigan lawmaker Todd Courser, a married father of four, has come under fire from federal and state officials who are asking for his resignation in light of reports that he used his taxpayer-funded office to launch an odd smear campaign against himself. In the campaign, he claimed that he was caught having sex with a male prostitute in order to conceal an alleged affair with fellow Republican lawmaker Cindy Gamrat, a representative of the 80th District.
According to audio recordings obtained by The Detroit News, State Rep. Courser planned to distribute a fictional email designed to create “a complete smear campaign” which would make his alleged affair with Gamrat seem “mild by comparison.”
The Washington Post indicated in a report that the fake e-mail alleging sex with a male prostitute was in fact distributed. The report also notes that the pair of scandal-engulfed lawmakers are both Christian conservatives who have frequently referenced their faith in pursuit of new legislation.
The Detroit News reports that Gamrat is a home-schooling mother who is married and has three kids.
A former employee of the House recorded Courser directing him to send the falsified email to Republican activists and operatives back in May. The email was intended to appear as if it was sent from an anonymous political enemy claiming that the freshman lawmaker had been “caught behind a Lansing nightclub” engaged in sexual intercourse with a man.
While Courser has reportedly confirmed that the voice in the recording is his, he disputed the legality of the recording. In Michigan, an appeals court ruling indicated that participants engaged in conversation may record the conversation without the permission of other participants, The Washington Post reported.
As if to offer explanation for his smear campaign turn political self-immolation, Courser told his aide that “you do a little bit of truth mixed in with a lot of lies” in order to execute what he referred to as “a controlled burn,” according to Detroit News.
In a controlled burn, you do a little bit of truth mixed in with a lot of lies.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter, who kicked Gamrat out of the Republican caucus meetings back in April after she was caught leaking confidential discussions, has ordered an investigation into allegations that the two lawmakers used their offices and staff in the apparent attempt to coverup their alleged affair.