State Democrats want special investigation into Lee Chatfield after sex assault allegations

House Democrats in Michigan are calling for a special committee to investigate former Speaker Lee Chatfield. The Republican is facing a long list of allegations -- from sexual assault -- to illegally using taxpayer money.

State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-6th District) is among those demanding transparency and accountability. He is calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate the activities of Chatfield.

"We can’t come up here to Lansing and do as well please without there being any consequences," he said.

Carter wants to know:

  • Were there any ethical violations?
  • Was there any misuse of state funds?
  • Was there any misuse of state personnel?

According to an investigation by the Michigan Finance Network, Chatfield and staff allegedly misused taxpayer money when he was in office

The Michigan State Police are working with the attorney general’s office as part of an ongoing investigation.

But many state lawmakers want more to be done.

"We still have a tremendous amount of questions - what happened behind closed doors during the last sessions of the legislature," said State Rep. Joe Tate (D-2nd DIstrict).

"We don’t want this to disappear - (there is) so much going on in the world, Ukraine, inflation, gas - this is one of those stories that will disappear if we don’t address it now," Carter said. "We need to address it now."

Carter says it’s not a partisan issue, he says it’s about the pursuit of the truth.

"People are losing trust in government, I shouldn't have a reporter call me and ask me questions that no one else in this House does," Carter said. "We are governed by two sets of rules. Everybody is governed by laws. But we in this House should be governed by policies and procedures. You have an obligation to investigate it."

House Republicans released a statement saying legal authorities are handling it.

But Carter says what he’s proposing is entirely separate from that criminal investigation.

"If you have a complaint against an attorney, you go to the attorney grievance commission, if you have a complaint against a judge - go judicial. If you have a complaint against a legislator where do you go? We have to police ourselves and that gives us that opportunity."

And even if nothing comes of it, Carter says at least he’s brought awareness to the situation.