The Cover-Up Is Always Worse

Did Watergate teach you nothing? (Yet another case of not learning from history.)

I got wind of this via a phone call at around 07:41 this morning, while I was still getting my head screwed on straight (on my first actual day off in about three weeks), and quite frankly, I have no idea how to categorize this one. “Wrong-headed thinking” seems like a solid characterization, and I’m well-aware of the double entendre involved.

Breaking this morning from the Detroit News (as well as WKZO, the Lansing News, WOOD, 9 & 10 News, the Detroit Free Press, and presumably elsewhere statewide) is word out of Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter’s Office (at 03:22 this morning) that he’s pursuing an “open-ended investigation” into the conduct of two state representatives who may have used legislative staffers to cover up an extra-marital affair, to “determine whether there was a violation of House rules or any evidence of illegal behavior.” A follow-up Detroit News article (as this is clearly a “developing story”) contains a damning audio recording and text transcripts, as well as references to evidence that this affair had been going on, not as far back as PowWow 1 in early 2012, but sure as hell “not yesterday,” either. And the press reports aren’t particularly clear on whether this affair is yet ongoing (though I imagine this breaking news story isn’t doing the mutual libido any favors).

“Keep it in your pants” is sound advice that smart parents always pass on to their children, and for damn good reason. I can tell you from harsh personal experience that nothing will get you into serious trouble faster than to surrender to the baser desires of the flesh. Contemporary American society is so desensitized to sexual misbehavior that the fact of a brief affair isn’t likely to draw so much as a batted eyelash, but when two tea party leaders and social conservatives, who openly speak of their Christian faith, get caught not only having an affair, but also abusing government resources to cover up the fact of the affair . . . to say that the PowWow network is well and thoroughly screwed is probably something of an understatement.

In meetings on May 19th and May 21st, Ben Graham repeatedly advised Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat that the proper way to get out in front of something like this is to publicly come clean about the matter and move on. Stuff like this never stays hidden, and the two of them have spouses and children to consider. Apparently, if this morning’s social media feeds are to be believed, the affair was a known item to the House staffers network, and may have been the reason that Courser and Gamrat were . . . “persuaded” . . . to endorse Ronna McDaniel over Norm Hughes for the state party chairmanship back in February.

And, honestly, at this point I really couldn’t give an airborne rodent derriere about how this affects Todd and Cindy; they made their bed, and they can lie in it. Nor, frankly, am I going to be overly concerned with how this impacts the Tea Party PowWow network. (In one conversation this morning, I was told that none other than Dave Wells is perfectly capable of picking up the pieces and moving forward.)

I am, however, deeply concerned with how this is going to impact two innocent spouses and seven innocent children, who may have been completely blindsided this morning. Those nine people I will be keeping in my prayers for the foreseeable future. I am, of course, also concerned with what legislative shenanigans are going to be slipped through while the conventional media is distracted by a good, old fashioned, sex scandal.

There is an ancient axiom that goes something like: “Say nothing you don’t want heard, write nothing you don’t want read, and do nothing you don’t want to be caught doing; always assume that you’re being watched.” I don’t recall the source of that wisdom, but a practicing lawyer like Todd Courser should have known better. That “controlled burn” he was referring to? Yeah, that’s two promising careers going up in smoke.

You Betcha! (15)Nuh Uh.(0)

  15 comments for “The Cover-Up Is Always Worse

  1. Corinthian Scales
    August 7, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Gee, maybe Todd and Cindy should've hired Stu:

    Apparently, if this morning’s social media feeds are to be believed, the affair was a known item to the House staffers network, and may have been the reason that Courser and Gamrat were . . . “persuaded” . . . to endorse Ronna McDaniel over Norm Hughes for the state party chairmanship back in February.

    Just saying:

    You Betcha! (7)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. MI Patriot
    August 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I saw through Todd and Cindy from the get go. If your own Lapeer Tea Party won't endorse you, then that is a big flag. When you have to crow from the rooftops that you are a Christian and quote the bible all over everywhere, that is another big flag. Your deeds show others how Christian you are or aren't, not the "pious" words that come out of your mouth. I wonder how all the Tea Party people who thought that Todd and Cindy were the second coming liked having the wool pulled over their collective eyes. What is the old saying...Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing? It's bad enough that they got caught, but asking your staffers to cover for you is reprehensible. Todd and Cindy should do the right thing and resign. They have disgraced an position that can't afford to be disgraced.

    You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. KG One
    August 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    What will be interesting to watch unfold here is how the various political parties handle this specific case.

    When the "d's" have similar instances occurring with the likes of Kwame Kilpatrick, Andy Dillon and who can possibly forget B.J. Clinton's own personal "war on women", obfuscation & deflections is the standard reply from that group.

    Now, they'll be happily wallowing into this like pigs in their own waste whenever a reporter shows up asking them for their take on this story.

    My take on the flip-side here is that Team "r" will be taking a more restrained approach when approached by the media.

    Although to be honest, these two numbskulls have played right into their hands and set back any possible gains any Tea Party candidate might have made had these two not acted so stupidly.

    They won't show it on camera, but behind the scenes, Team "r" couldn't be more happier with the outcome.

    You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Kevin Rex Heine
      August 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Given how TPTB within the MIGOP made a sport out of piling onto Dave Agema last year, I see no reason why we wouldn't expect similar from the same crowd now (especially given that the scandal is now not just national, but international news). Too clever by half Mr. Courser is. The key difference, of course, is that the smear attacks against Agema were based upon "three degrees of separation" trolling by reporters with an agenda, whereas the Courser-Gamrat scandal has the audio equivalent of a smoking gun for schadenfreude fuel.

      I agree with you in that a major piece of collateral damage here is that the constitutional liberty movement has likely been neutralized for the balance of this election cycle. Though, as I'm understanding it, said same tea partiers are sufficiently annoyed that they're going to arrange for Cindy and Todd to face primary challengers from within their own ranks.

      You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
  4. KG One
    August 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I stand corrected.

    And coming from no less than the 'Queen of Pork" herself!

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
  5. 10x25mm
    August 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    This story completely displaced the other salacious Michigan shocker today:

    Insanity defense may be used in State Sen. Virgil Smith case

    The embattled state senator accused of assaulting his ex-wife and shooting her 2015 Mercedes-Benz could use an insanity defense in the case against him.

    State Sen. Virgil Smith, a Detroit Democrat, was ordered to undergo an examination relating to his criminal responsibility by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry “based upon the filing of a notice of insanity defense,” a court document obtained by the Free Press said.

    Messages left with Smith’s attorney, Godfrey Dillard, were not returned Thursday.

    “Smith will assert at the trial of this matter a substantial disorder of thought or mood significantly impaired his judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with ordinary demands of life,” a document filed by Dillard last month said.....

    Truth is stranger than fiction......

    You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • KG One
      August 8, 2015 at 12:42 am

      I'll grant that there is an interesting coincidence between the timing of the Courser/Gamrat story being released and Smith's team going for the insanity defense, but I'm not seeing where it can possibly help Sen. Smith?

      The "d's" have already yanked him off of his committee assignments.

      I don't see Sen. Meekhof doing anything to remove him from the Michigan Senate anytime soon for reasons I've yet to discern.

      Possibly to use him for a token democrat on votes (like the Snyder/Meekhof gas tax hike) so they can make the claim of "bipartisanship" (even though everyone knows that it's only him) in exchange for some future favor(s)?

      I'm open to theories if anyone has got one.

      As to his trial, Smith is guilty as sin, and he knows it.

      Even if he starts to dye his hair orange like that Homes character in Colorado, walks into court in his underwear and demand that the judge address him as "The Walrus" (koo-koo ka-choo). No one's going to buy it.

      You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Corinthian Scales
      August 8, 2015 at 1:06 am

      Can we get a nigga please™ card©? Seriously, wtf else is there left to play in all that bullsh!t of running around nude, shooting up the sh!t out of everything for the MDP/DNC Party?

      You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(3)
  6. August 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    them two got to go....

    You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
  7. Jason
    August 8, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Saddened is the best way I can describe my thoughts on this.

    A freaking twofer, as well as families that are experiencing a great deal of unwanted attention. Personally praying for their loved ones. One could only hope that too many stones are not tossed before forgiveness is considered.

    I agree with the sentiment that the trust has been breached and that they should leave public life, but I hope they are able to fix what it is that is broken.

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
  8. Sue Schwartz
    August 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I disagree that anyone should resign. Yes, shame on them both--but really???? Did their tryst occur on government property as Billy Clinton's did? Were they absent from a vote because of these events???? Were their votes influenced because of blackmail acts???? Because if this is so, the blackmailer may be guilty of criminal acts.

    I can state for me--I could care less what anyone does on their own time--I don't want this to be my business--it's out, it's over, end of story. Can't they just go to confession and move on?

    Thing is, the delay between knowing this and publishing it is, apparently eight months too late but why would this information influence my delegate vote--I had to laugh that Congresswoman Candy Miller, added her two-cents--thinks they should resign. TSK--TSK Candy, your own house ain't that clean.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(5)
    • KG One
      August 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Ms. Schwartz,

      Part of the uproar is concerning the charge that they used their Michigan Taxpayer-funded office staff to help cover up for their actions. Given how their affair became common knowledge, that point seems a little moot right now. But they are still entitled due process nonetheless.

      That been said, this is a bad as having a cousin in the furniture business (and for the record, CS has done an outstanding job of documenting other similar "improprieties" here.

      Unlike the rapid and thorough response we've seen from state government on that individual mentioned in the previous paragraph, I highly doubt that the Michigan House will be doing a sloppy non-investigation "investigation" into the accusation against Courser/Gamrat.

      You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Kevin Rex Heine
      August 9, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      "Sue," I've become quite familiar this weekend with the MIC4L's talking points on this issue: (a) question the legality of the recording, (b) point to legislative successes as the reason to ignore the moral and ethical issues, and/or (c) no government resources were abused in the conduct of the affair . . . therefore get over it and move on. I'm not saying you're MIC4L, but you surely as Hades sound like you're talking from their script. And it's all bullshit.

      First, according to Sullivan v. Gray (117 Mich. App. 476 (1982)), the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that those personally participating in a private conversation need not obtain the consent of the other participants to record the conversation (commonly referred to as the "one-party consent rule").

      Second, whatever legislative accomplishments these two have (and it's damn little), as well as whatever liberty-minded initiatives they've taken lead on, are at a minimum permanently tainted -- and at worst are now D.O.A. -- precisely because of the blatant hypocrisy of the affair, not to mention the sheer outrageous nature of the attempted coverup. That includes key pro-life and pro-gun measures that are now effectively dead-in-committee.

      Third, as KG pointed out, a key element of the uproar is that they used their office staff to attempt to aid and abet the cover up, as the "smoking gun" audio recordings make clear, and then cut said staffers loose when they had the integrity to not play along.

      Now, I happen to know the member of the House leadership who's been assigned to conduct this investigation. I know him to be a fair man, and I suspect that he's going to move at a pace I like to refer to as "diligent dispatch" in getting to the bottom of this, figuring out precisely which laws and/or rules were broken and by whom, and recommending the appropriate disciplinary action. Based on backchannel intel that I've received over the weekend, one of the two is effectively a cooked goose, and the other may be allowed to complete the freshman term (but will be doing so under censure).

      You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)

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