Dems launch campaign for resignation of indicted lawmaker
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democrats launched a bid Thursday to force the resignation of state Rep. Larry Inman, a Traverse City-area Republican who is facing federal charges over an alleged scheme to trade votes for campaign money.
Inman, who was indicted in May, has refused to step down from his $71,685 job after being kicked out of the majority GOP caucus and losing his committee assignments due to the criminal case.
“There are many things being decided in Lansing that will affect the people of this district, and no one is there to represent us,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, who helped to announce the initiative along with the Grand Traverse Democratic Party and local residents. Party officials hope thousands of people pressure Inman by signing cards that will be circulated by volunteers and mailed to him, or adding their name to an online petition funded by House Democrats’ political committee.
Weeks after his indictment, which also prompted Republicans to call for his resignation, Inman sought treatment for an addiction to prescription painkillers.
“Larry Inman should be fighting for Grand Traverse County families in the Legislature, not his corruption charges in a court of law,” said Chris Cracchiolo, chairman of the county’s Democratic Party.
Inman, who is serving his third and final House term under term limits, holds a competitive district that could be key for Democrats’ hopes of winning House control in 2020. The GOP now has a 58-52 edge. A special election could be scheduled if the seat opens up early.
The postcard campaign was initiated less than a week after a proposed recall petition was filed. If the wording is approved by the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers, activists will have 60 days to gather roughly 12,200 signatures.
Cracchiolo said the local party will not get involved in the recall process “at this time,” saying pursuing his resignation is a faster, simpler option.
The indictment by a grand jury reveals 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 “prevailing” wages for workers on state-financed construction projects.
Inman’s lawyer, Chris Cooke, said Thursday that Inman “has no intention to resign at this time” and called the multi-front effort to oust him “premature.”
“Rep. Inman is presumed innocent according to the rights granted to him and all of us by the Constitution,” he said. “His trial will take place in short order, and the jury should be allowed to decide this issue without interference and negative press associated with a public denunciation of Rep. Inman.”
He noted that the Legislature is out of session and not voting. After his indictment, Inman missed every vote over 17 sessions in May and June.
“Let the man defend himself and deal with his physical problem without this additional, extraordinary pressure,” Cooke said.
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