The text message, which allegedly offered a lawyer's vote in exchange for money, ended with a famous five-word phrase: "We have never had this discussion."
But a federal jury has accused a Michigan lawmaker of doing just that, the charge state rep. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) attempting to blackmail, bribe and lie to an FBI agent. If he is sentenced, he is facing up to 35 years in prison.
Inman allegedly requested money via SMS from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, a union that previously contributed to Inman's campaign, according to the US law firm for the Western District of Michigan.
Court records show that the messages were sent in June days before the laws considered the repeal of a law of 1965 guaranteeing higher pay and better benefits for employees in government building projects. Inman told me he had said he would vote "no" for a cancellation effort at the right price.
"We will get a ton of pressure on this vote," Inman said in a text message to a union representative who encouraged the Union to increase its contributions. "It's not worth losing assignments and staff for $ 5,000… My suggestion is that you have to get people to get maxed out."
The announcement referred to 12 lawmakers who would consider blocking the suspension in exchange for significant campaign contributions .
"I'm not sure you can hold 12 people for the only help of $ 5000… People won't go down for $ 5,000, not that we don't appreciate it," he wrote according to the charge.
It is unclear whether union officials answered on the messages. Court records show that they did not make any additional promotional contributions after the texts were received. When asked about the exchange of an FBI agent, Inman denied "having such communication", according to the charge.
Inman voted for the law's suspension, which passed in the Michigan House of Representatives with three votes.
In a statement by his lawyer to the Washington Post, Inman kept his innocence.
"I have never compromised my voice's integrity on any problem," he says. "I have always represented my constituency honestly and legally. I intend to defend myself against these allegations and my reputation. "
House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) told reporters on Wednesday that he had asked Inman for his resignation and that the third term legislator had been removed from his committee assignment.
Chatfield said Inman told him he would Consider his request.
But Inman's lawyer, Christopher Cooke, told Posten that his client "didn't even consider resignation" and asked elected officials and the public to "reserve them for Larry" until more facts come to light.  Chatfield's spokesman said the speaker intends to "have a longer conversation" with Inman.
If Inman refuses to resign, legislators can begin a procedure to expel him, something that has only happened four times in the state's history.  The union did not respond to the request for comment, but its secretary-treasurer, Mike Jackson, told Detroit News that union members are "happy to Larry Inman is being held in trial ".
In a statement, the leader of the Michigan Democratic Party, Lavora Barnes, said that the charges against Inman were" extremely disappointing and over ".
"Not only is Inman accused of violating the trust of his constituents, the office of his office, and the law, but his actions are likely to show a deeply troublesome pattern of republican contempt for the working people of our state," she said. "The citizens of Michigan deserve representatives who put people in our state first and do not abuse public confidence or the power of their position."
Some State Democrats have called on Chatfield to open a survey of the 12 legislators mentioned in the text messages.
"Will Chatfield investigate or lead a cover?", State Rep. Mark Brewer (D) said in a tweet with reference to the 12 legislators with hashtag #DirtyDozen. 19659026] In response to questions about the potential engagement of other legislators, Chatfield said that Inman's performance was "completely out of line" and not in the spirit of what the people in this state deserve in representation and I think every single person in this House is aware of it. "
The accusations, he added, had no bearing on the outcome of the vote to counter the law of pay, which" stands on the ground. "
After Wednesday, the Liberal Advocate Group Progress Michigan was charged with invading Inman to go down.
" Today's prosecution is further evidence that we need more openness and lobbying reforms in Michigan, "says Lonnie Scott, Group CEO of a statement.
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