MDP renews call for comprehensive audit of Michigan House spending under former Republican speaker Chatfield 

A bipartisan select committee should be assembled to complete a full accounting of spending 

LANSING — As lawmakers return to session this week at the state Capitol, the Michigan Democratic Party is repeating its call for Republican House and Senate leaders to start a bipartisan review of the way former GOP state House Speaker Lee Chatfield used money to run his taxpayer-funded office. 

Questions continue to linger, more than a year after Chatfield left office, about the way the GOP leader handled bonus payouts of hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars to members of his staff over a two-year period, including nearly $50,000 to key Chatfield staffers Anne and Rob Minard. The Minards also are accused of mishandling campaign funds to Chatfield-connected committees; the Michigan Campaign Finance Network has reported that it can’t account for as much as $100,000 in contributions to those PACs.

“Lee Chatfield left office in 2020 and the law-abiding, taxpaying residents of this state are no closer to getting answers to questions about the way Republican legislative leaders managed that money,” said Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “If Republicans don’t think now is a good time for an exhaustive, top-to-bottom investigation into the use of taxpayer dollars by a member of their own party, when will it be?”

The Michigan Democratic Party also repeated its support for a resolution introduced last month by House Democratic lawmakers that would create a six-member bipartisan select committee to examine Chatfield’s actions. The panel would be empowered to subpoena witnesses and review a variety of materials, including records, partnerships and associations as part of their investigation, which would report its findings to the House.  

“House Democratic leaders have provided a comprehensive investigatory framework needed for a full accounting of the ways taxpayer dollars were spent by Republicans, now it’s time the GOP acted on it,” Barnes said. 

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