House speaker: Gamrat ousted from GOP caucus for leaks

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

House Speaker Kevin Cotter said Friday he expelled state Rep. Cindy Gamrat from the Republican caucus for a “series of incidents” of leaking confidential discussions among GOP lawmakers.

Gamrat claimed Thursday she was booted from confidential closed-door House Republican caucus meetings because of a Facebook musing about the state budget during a meeting.

“My action yesterday was not the result of that single Facebook post,” Cotter said Friday in an interview with The Detroit News Editorial Board. “This is not something that started this week. We’ve had an ongoing series of incidents that have caused concerns to be expressed from several members.”

Cotter would not divulge any details about what Gamrat did to get a rare expulsion from the majority party’s caucus meetings, where lawmakers hash out their positions and count votes before going into session on the House floor.

“I have to be very careful in sharing information about that because it’s a caucus matter,” said Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant. “What happens in the caucus stays in the caucus.”

Cotter said it’s important that discussions in caucus meetings remain confidential so lawmakers can speak freely about the information they share without fear that it will be aired in public.

“A lot can happen if you have trust. I think we make better policy when we have a room where people can speak openly,” Cotter told The News. “Confidentially is a two-way street.”

Gamrat, a freshman from Plainwell, was elected to the state House last fall on a conservative tea party platform. She introduced legislation last month that would define human life as beginning at the moment of conception.

On Thursday, Gamrat denied leaking information from a House Republican budget workshop meeting.

“In no way did I reveal anything confidential from the meeting, and I have never violated the integrity of our caucus,” Gamrat wrote. “I may disagree on issues with my colleagues, but I respect the trust between us.”

Gamrat did not immediately return messages Friday afternoon seeking comment.

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