Gamrat Offers Tearful Apology, Asks for Censure

Will a tearful apology be enough for Gamrat to be censured and not removed?

State Representative Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) offered a tearful apology as she asked a special committee to consider censure and the loss of office privileges as an alternative to expulsion for her role in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

“It is with a sincere and genuine heart, that I apologize to you today for the failures I have committed which do not reflect the heart of who I am, the values I believe in, nor the people I serve,” she told the committee in a short statement.

Gamrat also confirmed the essential accuracy of an internal House report that looked into actions taken by her and state Representative Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) to cover up their extra-marital affair. Gamrat said she was unaware of many of the details of a salacious e-mail that was supposed to make the truth appear like part of a rumor-mongering effort, but said she did know about the plan to send it.

State Representative Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) sat stoically with his legal team through Gamrat’s testimony and a report by House Business Office Manager Tim Bowlin and House General Counsel and Chief of Staff Brock Swartzle.

Swartzle recommended that Gamrat be subjected to censure as part of a series of penalties for her misbehavior. But, he said, Courser’s conduct was more outrageous and warranted “immediate expulsion.”

Swartzle and Bowlin said the cover-up was just one instance of a pattern of misbehavior that included berating staff with insults and using public resources for personal and political purposes.

“It is incontrovertible that Representative Courser’s actions have brought disgrace to the House, and correcting that type of negative attention is precisely why expulsion exists,” he said, adding the scandal has been the subject of jokes on late-night talk shows.

Courser also still hopes to get by with censure and not removal, which has only happened three times previously in the Michigan Legislature (although there are other instances of lawmakers resigning under the threat of expulsion). His team delivered a letter of apology to the committee asking for the lesser punishment.

“I ask that you consider a public censure in lieu of expulsion to allow me the opportunity to redeem myself in the public eye and restore the integrity of the State of Michigan,” Courser wrote.

Courser was to be given the opportunity to testify and answer questions on Wednesday. His attorney said it is more likely than not that Courser will take that opportunity.