Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Tim Stelloh

An inquiry into a salacious political scandal in Michigan's House of Representatives found that two Tea Party-backed Republican lawmakers committed misconduct and abuse in a failed effort to cover up their affair.

The investigation, which was conducted by the House's nonpartisan business office and released Monday in a nine-page report, accused the lawmakers, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, of creating a "highly dysfunctional" office environment that prioritized politics over policy and "improperly and inextricably entwined political, personal, business and official state matters."

"Representative Todd Courser and Representative Cindy Gamrat are not credible witnesses," the report says, adding that they engaged in "numerous instances of deceptive, deceitful and outright dishonest conduct."

The report comes after revelations that Courser designed a fake smear campaign alleging that he had sex with a male prostitute in an effort to hide his affair with Gamrat.

Weeks of bitter wrangling between Courser and former aides followed: In a defiant audio statement posted to his campaign website, Courser said that he invented the email to "expose" former aides who were trying to blackmail him.

One of the aides, Joshua Cline, then held his own news conference and said he'd been "quickly dismissed" by Courser and Gamrat when he confronted them about an "inappropriate physical relationship."

The investigation "largely" corroborated the stories told by the former aides, the report says, although it does not address Courser's allegations of blackmail. "It is the feeling of this Office that this issue has very little relevance to this investigation," the report says.

Courser and Gamrat have said they would not resign. A phone call to Courser's office seeking comment on Monday was not returned, and a woman who answered the phone at Gamrat's office and declined to identify herself said the lawmaker had only just received the report and still needed to read it.