Insider: Inman reports $1,500 for legal defense

Beth LeBlanc Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

State Rep. Larry Inman spent $1,500 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to pay for his defense on charges of attempted bribery, attempted extortion and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Traverse City-area Republican, who was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI, used personal money to pay the $1,500 to his lawyer Chris Cooke, according to a legal defense fund report he filed Friday with the Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office.

Rep. Larry Inman, left, and his attorney, Chris Cooke, answer questions on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, after the second day of Inman's trial in Grand Rapids.

Lawmakers must file a Legal Defense Fund Statement of Organization within 10 days of making an initial expenditure for their defense.

Inman didn’t file his until Friday, even though his statement of organization and quarterly transaction reports were due much earlier.

The delay in filing a statement of organization carries a fee of $300 while delayed quarterly reports due July 25 and Oct. 25 each carry a $1,000 fine, according to a notice sent to Inman by the Secretary of State.

Benson's office still is determining whether those fines will be assessed, according to spokesman Mike Doyle. 

A federal jury Tuesday acquitted Inman on a charge of lying to the FBI. Two other charges of attempted bribery and attempted extortion resulted in a hung jury.

Prosecutors alleged Inman sought campaign donations from labor unions in exchange for a controversial vote that would repeal a Michigan law requiring union-level wages for state construction jobs. The unions opposed the repeal, but the Williamsburg Republican eventually voted to approve the repeal.

Lewis to keynote Lansing luncheon

U.S. Rep. John Lewis will be the keynote speaker for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Luncheon in Lansing.

The civil rights leader and Georgia Democrat who worked with King during the 1960s civil rights movement and helped organize the “Bloody Sunday” protest in Selma, Alabama, will speak at the Jan. 20 luncheon, according to a statement announcing the visit.

A Lansing delegation organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan delivered the invitation to Lewis’ D.C. office in person to secure Lewis' attendance at the event’s 35th anniversary.

“John Lewis is an icon of the civil rights movement,” Commission Chairwoman Elaine Hardy said in a statement. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear from someone whose work advanced the civil rights and social justice in our country for the past six decades, many times putting his own life at risk.”

Tickets to the Jan. 20 luncheon at the Lansing Center cost $50 per person and can be purchased at Lansing City Hall or the East Lansing Hannah Community Center.

Dem launches Supreme Court bid

Democrat Elizabeth Welch, a Grand Rapids-area attorney who's focused on employment law, is running for the Michigan Supreme Court in 2020.

Two seats on the state's high court are expected to be on the ballot next year, and control of the state's high court will hang in the balance. Republican-nominated justices currently hold a 4-3 majority. However, no GOP-nominated incumbent will be in the race in 2020.

Elizabeth Welch, a Grand Rapids area attorney, recently launched a campaign for the Michigan Supreme Court.

One of the seats up for election in 2020 currently belongs to Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, who was nominated by Democrats and can run for re-election. The other belongs to Stephen Markman, a GOP-nominated justice who's retiring.

In a Wednesday interview, Welch said her intention is to run alongside McCormack as the Democratic nominees for the two seats. Welch said she had been asked to consider running for the Michigan Supreme Court.

"Sometimes, the timing just aligns," she said.

Welch officially formed a campaign committee on Dec. 2. She's also launched a campaign website.

"Elizabeth is a mother, dedicated public servant and a fighter for justice," the website says. "A bridge builder and a fierce advocate, Elizabeth is ready to bring her diverse experience to the highest court in our state. We hope you will join us as we seek justice for all."

Welch said in her legal work, she's primarily represented small businesses and nonprofits.

According to the website for her legal practice, Welch is a trustee for the Steelcase Foundation, a board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voter and vice president of the board of education for East Grand Rapids Public Schools. Welch was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon posted on social media that Welch's candidacy was "great news."