Republican State Representative Larry Inman is facing calls for his resignation from fellow Michigan Republicans following his recent indictment on federal bribery charges.
Inman was indicted on May 15th following allegations that he had offered his vote, and the votes of 11 other legislators, in exchange for campaign contributions.
Larry Inman indicted for texting bribe solicitations
In June 2016 the Michigan Legislature voted to repeal a 1965 law requiring the state to pay union-level wages to all workers on all publicly-funded construction projects. The repeal passed only narrowly in the House, 56-53, thanks in part to Representative Larry Inman (Republican – Traverse City).
In a federal grand jury indictment unsealed on May 15th, Inman has been accused of offering to instead vote against the repeal in exchange for campaign contributions.
In a series of texts with officials from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, he allegedly discussed bringing 11 other Republican members with him, and discussed how much money it might take.
According to court documents, one text from Inman read: “People will not go down for $5,000, not that we dont appreciate it. Get with all the trades by Monday. I would suggest doubling what you given on Tuesday, asap, we never had this discussion..”
Inman has denied the allegations.
“I am innocent of these charges,” he said in a statement. “I have never compromised the integrity of my vote on any issue. I have always represented by constituency honestly and legally. I intend to vigorously defend the charges and my reputation.”
If convicted Inman could be sentenced for up to 20 years for attempted extortion, 10 years for solicitation, and 5 years for lying to an FBI official.
Speaking on behalf of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, Mike Jackson said, “Our members deserve elected officials who vote on the merits of a bill, and how it will affect us as taxpayers and hardworking people. We’re glad that Larry Inman is being brought to justice.”
Inman regrets not picking up the phone
In an interview given the day after his indictment with MLive, Larry Inman regretted conducting his conversation with the carpenters’ union by text.
“I was never a texter,” he said. “If I had something to say, I would either call them – and that’s what I should have done in the long run, because texts can be misinterpreted.”
The names of the 11 legislators Inman had indicated were open to changing their votes were redacted from the indictment. In the interview Inman said he did not know their names.
He also resolutely maintained his innocence of all charges.
“There isn’t any amount of money in this world that can buy my vote or my integrity,” he said.
Republicans call on Inman to resign
Immediately after the indictment was made public, Michigan’s Republican leadership began calling for Larry Inman’s resignation.
“The conduct and text messages sent by Rep. Larry Inman are completely out of line and completely against the spirit of this entire institution,” Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield told reporters on May 16th.
Chatfield also removed Inman from his committee assignments.
Writing on Facebook on May 17th, fellow Republican House member Triston Cole also called on Inman to step down.
“I did get a chance to speak with Rep. Inman today, and I asked him to resign,” he said.
“I have looked over some of his text messages over the past couple of days, and the way he conducted his business is completely inappropriate. Honestly, it’s hard to believe.”
Rep Jack O’Malley was more willing to give Inman the benefit of the doubt, but still thinks he should step down.
In a statement he said, “A resignation is not an admission of guilt…His resignation would also allow him time to focus vigorously on his defense. I wish Representative Inman nothing but the best as he fights to defend his reputation.”