Maddock touts undisclosed fundraising haul after removal from House GOP caucus

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

State Rep. Matt Maddock responded Wednesday to questions about his removal from the Michigan House Republican caucus by claiming to have raised record amounts of money after his removal Tuesday. 

"I had one of the best fundraising days of my entire life yesterday," Maddock said before declining to answer questions about how much he raised.

The removal means the Milford Republican running to be House speaker next session can no longer meet behind closed doors with House Republican members to discuss policy and upcoming votes. His House GOP website was scrapped and his access to central staff for communications and policy analysis also was removed.

Representative Matt Maddock is seen as the Michigan Legislature holds a session at the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

Maddock declined to answer other questions related to his removal, which House Speaker Jason Wentworth confirmed Wednesday was due to a violation of caucus confidentiality rules. 

Wentworth, R-Farwell, declined to provide details of the violation when approached by a reporter Wednesday, saying his conversations with Maddock would stay private.

"This has nothing to do with anything beyond him violating caucus rules and caucus confidentiality," Wentworth said.

Some House Republicans have expressed concerns over Maddock's support for Republican challengers vying against incumbent lawmakers in the August primary. As recently as Sunday, Maddock sent a fundraising email urging support for Trump-endorsed Republican candidates for the House and Senate, including Mick Bricker, who is challenging incumbent Republican state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom of Norton Shores.

While Maddock’s removal from the caucus occurred Tuesday, he was denied access to central staff a little more than a month ago, according to a source, around the same time Maddock was reported to have criticized the House speaker and a fellow Republican lawmaker in Hillsdale County.

In an audio recording obtained by Michigan Information and Research Services, Maddock, a bail bondsman, can be heard criticizing Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, for his stance on bail bond reform in front of a group of Hillsdale college students in Fink's own district. He also criticized Wentworth, arguing the speaker was "not holding press conferences. He's not a fighter. He's not getting out in public."

On Wednesday afternoon, when asked again about the alleged violations leading up to his removal, Maddock said he had apologized for some of his past comments. 

"Anything that they're accusing me of, especially with the Fink incident and saying things about the speaker, I've apologized for," he said. 

Maddock's removal is the third time a lawmaker has been removed in the past several years in the House Republican Caucus. 

Former state Rep. Larry Inman, R-Williamsburg, was removed in 2019 after he was indicted on federal bribery charges that he beat. At the time of his removal, then-House Speaker Lee Chatfield said Inman had "lost the faith and trust of the Republican caucus."

In 2015, then-House Speaker Kevin Cotter expelled former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, from the Republican caucus for breaking confidentiality rules in a "series of incidents."