Embattled Michigan Rep. Larry Inman returned to the state House floor in Lansing Tuesday, casting his first vote in months less than a week after the House voted on a resolution urging his resignation.
The Grand Traverse County Republican is facing federal counts of soliciting a bribe, attempting extortion and making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Inman remains barred from his office and the Republican caucus. He was also removed from his committee assignments shortly after the charges came to light.
But as an elected state representative, he’s still allowed on the floor for House session – a right he took advantage of Tuesday, voting on legislation and talking with a handful of other lawmakers.
“I’m really happy to be on the floor,” he told reporters after session.
Inman was indicted May 15 by federal prosecutors for attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an FBI agent. He is specifically accused of soliciting money from a labor union, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, in exchange for a no vote on the 2018 legislative initiative petition to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.
Last Thursday, the House approved in a 98-8 vote a resolution introduced by House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and House Democratic Leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, that states Inman has drawn “ridicule and disgrace” to Michigan’s House of Representatives and urges him to resign.
The resolution states the House “reserves the right to take further disciplinary action” in the event that he doesn’t do so.
Inman said Tuesday he does not intend to resign.
He said he hasn’t spoken with the speaker recently, but said he hopes to “discuss where I’m at with my situation and let him make, hopefully, a second judgement call.”
“I’m not going to respond to the issue of the resolution because that’s the feeling of the speaker and the leadership, but hopefully as time goes by they might have a different course,” he said.
Gideon D’Assandro, spokesperson for House Speaker Lee Chatfield, said the speaker has made his position clear and hopes Inman “does the right thing” by resigning.
The House Business Office is managing constituent services for Inman’s district, and D’Assandro said Inman showing back up to the office “would be a distraction and threaten interruption of those services.”
Inman said it will be an “extreme challenge” to move forward without access to his office or staff, but said he hopes to complete his term.
He said he hopes to introduce legislation to make it easier for people struggling with addiction to seek recovery without fear of losing their job. Inman recently sought treatment for long-term use of prescription painkillers, and said Tuesday he credits the treatment with saving his life.
“It’s time for this legislature to be compassionate and understanding for people who have gone through an addiction and recovery,” he said.
Inman is also facing a recall effort in his district, which was approved to move forward by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers earlier this month. Asked whether he’d resign if a recall petition makes it to the ballot, he said it’s difficult to say because he’d have to take many factors into consideration.