Republican chairman of House Government Operations Committee received thousands in campaign contributions from former GOP speaker and has refused to investigate Lee Chatfield’s use of taxpayer money
LANSING — Nearly $30,000 in campaign donations to the Republican state lawmaker leading the Michigan House Government Operations Committee from disgraced former Speaker Lee Chatfield raise questions about the long-delayed review of Chatfield’s use of his taxpayer-funded office.
Republican Rep. Mike Mueller, of Linden, received at least four campaign contributions from Chatfield’s PACs, ranging from $4,400 to $10,000, from September 2018 to September 2020. Mueller is now the chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations, which would be responsible for reviewing the way Chatfield managed taxpayer dollars during his tenure as the leader of that chamber from 2019-2020.
“It looks like Lee Chatfield invested in his colleagues to further his own ambitions and ensure their silence and fealty,” said Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “It is an absolute dereliction of duty that Rep. Mueller has refused to deploy the Government Operations Committee to investigate whether Michigan taxpayer money was inappropriately used by the former leader of that chamber.”
The Michigan Democratic Party is demanding a full investigation into the bonus payouts of hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars to members of Chatfield’s staff, including those that went to two of his former aides who are separately accused of mishandling his campaign funds.
On top of an investigation by Mueller’s committee, the Michigan Democratic Party also continues to support a resolution introduced by House Democratic lawmakers that would create a six-member bipartisan select committee to examine Chatfield’s actions. The resolution, which would create a panel to subpoena witnesses, review materials and report its findings to the House, was referred to Mueller’s committee in March and is awaiting a hearing.