LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House approved a resolution Thursday urging the resignation of a lawmaker who is facing federal charges over an alleged scheme to trade votes for campaign money.
In the measure, which passed 98-8, the House reserved the right to take further disciplinary action if state Rep. Larry Inman does not immediately step down. House leaders who had previously called for his resignation declined to say if they will move to expel the Traverse City-area Republican, who was indicted in May.
“I’m still hopeful that he does the right thing,” said GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield, who previously stripped Inman of his committee assignments. Inman also was kicked out of the Republican caucus following the announcement of charges.
The resolution was introduced in June, but the House waited months to vote to let Inman focus on getting treatment for an addiction to painkillers. A spokesman for Chatfield said Inman has completed his treatment.
Inman’s attorney, Christopher Cooke, said Thursday’s vote was “one more punitive action taken before Representative Inman has had a full opportunity to air his side of the story.” He said Inman has been locked out of his House office and banned from communicating with his staff.
“We are calling on the House leadership and membership to allow this matter to follow its natural progression through the court system without jeopardizing Representative Inman’s right to a fair and impartial jury,” Cooke said.
The indictment by a grand jury revealed text messages sent last year by Inman to two people affiliated with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, a group that had supported him. He urged them to round up campaign contributions from other unions to win the votes of legislators who were under pressure from Republican leaders to repeal a law that guaranteed higher wages for workers on state-financed construction projects.
The resolution accuses Inman of subjecting the state and House to “ridicule and disgrace,” shaking the public’s trust, and distracting from serious policy issues and debates before the chamber.
Asked about the potential for expelling Inman from his $71,685 job, House Minority Leader Christine Greig, a Democrat, pointed to an ongoing effort to recall him from office.
“I was happy to see that the community actually started organizing,” she said. “That’s really the best outcome … that the community that you represent puts on the pressure for you to do the right thing.”
Inman is serving his third and final House term under term limits.