Michigan Democrats call for investigation into former House Speaker Lee Chatfield

Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield

Democrats in Michigan's House of Representatives are calling for an internal investigation into Former Speaker Lee Chatfield’s Office.

Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a press conference today, calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate the activities of Chatfield.

"The fact of the matter is, we don’t know the facts of these matters. Media reports have raised several legitimate questions over the last several weeks — questions that we currently have no way to answer," said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township. 

An investigation by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network into the former speaker revealed Chatfield raised millions of dollars and traveled often. Those practices have come under scrutiny in recent months as the investigation found he and his allies funneled millions of dollars to accounts and companies that avoid disclosure. 

On February 15, Michigan State Police troopers searched the home of Chatfield's chief of staff, Anne Minard, and her husband, Rob. 

Shanon Banner of the State Police said the agency was working in conjunction with Attorney General Dana Nessel's office as part of an "ongoing investigation."

RELATED: Police search, seize records from home of Lee Chatfield's aides

Additionally, Chatfield and his aids are accused of receiving more than $300,000 in taxpayer-funded bonuses over a two-year period, based on House records. All allegedly with other GOP lawmakers saying they were unaware.

"As a former police officer, I know that there are actions that don’t rise to the level of criminal behavior but still violate the ethics of our institution. That’s what we’re talking about here," said state Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon. "Ethical breaches are just as important to investigate, and this action will supplement, not interfere with, any kind of criminal investigation."

"We, as members of the House, have not only the ability but the responsibility to see these questions through to their conclusion. The people we represent deserve nothing more or less than the truth," said state Rep. Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit, who is the sponsor of the resolution.

The vote would have to gain the approval of the Republican-controlled state House, though it is up to the current House speaker to bring the resolution forward.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for Wentworth said the House will not conduct an internal investigation into allegations against Chatfield but instead intends to cooperate with State Police and the Lansing Police Department in their investigation. 

RELATED: Ex-Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield being investigated for sexual assault