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House Democrats introduce resolution to investigate Lee Chatfield

 headshot of Lee Chatfield
Chatfield served as house speaker from 2019 to 2021.

Michigan House Democrats introduced a resolution Thursday to investigate possible ethics violations by a former speaker of the House.

Republican Lee Chatfield is under police investigation over claims of sexual assault. He's also facing allegations of financial misconduct.

Democrats pointed Thursday to reports about his frequent travel and how his top government aides also ran a consulting firm that was paid handsomely by campaign and political action committees.

Chatfield denies wrongdoing.

State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) said the House can’t punish Chatfield, but he said they could get more information.

“Every time you hear something about this investigation or questions, nobody knew anything. ‘I had no idea this was going on.’ Well, if you bring in an independent arm to do this investigation, maybe we’ll find out some things. Were there some criminal issues? Maybe. Right now, we just don’t know,” Carter told reporters at a press conference Thursday morning.

Republican House leadership said it’s focusing on helping the law enforcement investigation instead of starting its own.

But House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) said both a criminal and ethical investigation are necessary.

“Your duty to your office is different in terms of integrity and ethics. It can overlap with criminality, but it doesn’t need to. And so, we need to make sure that those questions are asked and answered here,” Lasinski said.

Still, it’s unlikely the Republican House leadership will allow the resolution to move forward. It has been assigned to the House Committee on Government Operations.

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