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Courser says GOP leaders out to destroy him

Courser web site

State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, claims Michigan Republican leaders are on a campaign to destroy him as he faces an internal investigation into abusing his office to cover up an extra-marital affair.

Courser posted a rambling, 27-minute audio statement on the internet where he acknowledged being a “broken messenger” (using the phrase multiple times), but blamed the “Republican establishment” for trying to bring him down. 

“I can say nothing prepared me for the caustic nature of the ‘Lansing mafia,’” he said in the statement posted in the early hours of Monday morning. “…In Lansing, you either go along and play along, or they set out to destroy you by doing what they can to malign, smear, and undermine you.”

Courser was responding to a story broken Friday by The Detroit News. It focused on audio recordings by a Courser staffer where the lawmaker lays out a plan to send a message to smear himself with tales of drinking, drugs, and same-sex hook-ups to cloud over his affair with state Rep. Cindy Gamrat,R-Plainwell, if and when the relationship became public.

But, in the audio statement, Courser said he was trying to force the hand and discover the identity of a blackmailer who, among other things ,was trying to force him to resign.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is among those who says he’s not buying Courser’s story.

“That’s what the Michigan State Police are there for. If you’re being blackmailed, shouldn’t you have contacted the police and pursued it that way?”

In the meantime, Courser’s and Gamrat’s office computers and electronic communications were seized as part of an internal House investigation ordered by Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant. A House GOP spokesman says the findings could be turned over to law enforcement. 

Gamrat remained out of the public eye Monday, cancelling a scheduled public coffee hour to meet with constituents. Over the weekend, the Allegan County Republican Party called on her to resign.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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