MDP: Are Michigan House Republicans covering up for a ghost employee?

Speaker Wentworth needs to answer questions about the use of taxpayer dollars to pay Anne Minard as a House employee when she was also working for at least one political committee

LANSING — Did Michigan House Republicans hire a longtime political operative for a salaried state House job she didn’t actually do?

That’s just one of the questions Michigan taxpayers need answered about the employment of Anne Minard, who was an aide to former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield from 2019-2020. 

When Chatfield left office, and Republican Jason Wentworth became speaker, Minard was hired as a full-time event and affairs coordinator for the Michigan House and was paid a $40,000 annual salary. At the same time, she was also working full time for a Virginia-based political committee called GOPAC.

While state House employees must be approved for outside employment by the House speaker, Wentworth’s office has reported that Minard made no such request for approval. 

“Was Anne Minard a ghost employee for House Republican leadership? Because if so, that’s a crime and an affront to Michigan taxpayers,” said Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “It’s time for the public to see a full-scale, top-to-bottom audit of the Michigan Legislature done transparently so every dollar and every expense is accounted for during the time Former Speaker Chatfield controlled the budget.”

Barnes noted former state Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park, was sentenced to jail time and community service after being convicted in 2018 of adding a ghost employee to his Senate payroll, costing taxpayers more than $23,000.

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