Ex-Rep. Scott paid $2,600 in mileage, $10,800 in expenses for missed House votes

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
State Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, D-Detroit

A former Detroit lawmaker who didn’t take a single vote from July through December still received her paycheck, monthly expense stipend and mileage for the six months.

In addition to her taxpayer-funded $71,685 annual salary, former Rep. Bettie Cook Scott of Detroit collected $900 a month for expenses and $2,633 total in mileage reimbursements between July and August, according to House Business Office records.

Scott’s last time attending House session in 2018 was in June, just before the chamber went on break for the summer. After losing her primary for state Senate in August, Scott began asking for excused absences and Democrats initially granted the requests as a standard practice. But the caucus stopped after several weeks.

A Fox 2 Detroit reporter followed Scott in November and filmed her running errands while her colleagues were at work in the Michigan Legislature. Fox 2 was the first to report about Scott collecting the expenses. 

That same month, then-House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and then-House Democratic Leader Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, issued a memo directing the House Business Office to oversee Scott’s staff. 

She was honored with a resolution at the conclusion of the term in December, a standard gesture honoring departing lawmakers that recognized her “service and leadership in this legislative body.”

Lawmakers are compensated for mileage for one round trip a week from their district to the Lansing office, said Doug Simon, director for the House Business Office.

Officials verified that Scott had made the trip, despite her absences from the House floor, because she did some business with the House Business Office on the trips, Simon said.

Scott also elected to collect her $10,800 expense stipend from the House, which is paid out in $900 monthly installments and used for various expenses such as rent in Lansing, Simon said.