A Birmingham Democratic lawmaker said a Macomb County Republican colleague committed domestic violence.
The allegations of Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham, against Rep. Steve Marino, of R-Harrison Township, and Marino’s conduct are being investigated by Michigan State Police and have prompted the Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, to strip Marino of his legislative office, according to Wentworth’s office.
âI will always prioritize the safety of state legislators and those who serve their communities on the State Capitol. Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. future, the House honors Representative Manoogian’s request for confidentiality while others look into the allegations, “Wentworth said in a statement Wednesday evening.
“The Chamber will continue to assist in the Michigan State Police investigation, take every precaution to ensure the safety of Representative Manoogian, and ultimately allow the legal process to unfold.” We will be able to provide further updates at the appropriate time. “
In a report Posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Manoogian said she was one of several people in Michigan who have been victims of domestic violence and is asking for privacy.
âThe sad reality is that many people in our society have been victims of domestic violence, which often comes from someone we would never expect,â Manoogian said.
âNone of us are immune to a volatile relationship, no matter what our career. It can happen right here in our legislature where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public humiliation, can be used to intimidate other members of the legislature. I ask for privacy as I take steps to ensure my safety while continuing to represent my district and to act as my district. people’s work. “
None of the statements provided further details as to the exact nature of the allegations or any relationship involving Marino and Manoogian.
Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner confirmed that the agency received a complaint “that we are reviewing” on Tuesday.
âBecause it’s ongoing and at the very beginning, we won’t be providing any further feedback,â Banner said.
Marino did not respond to a voicemail message left Wednesday morning.
Democratic House Leader Donna Lasinski of D-Scio Township released a statement in support of Manoogian.
“I will always put the safety of our members first. I support Representative Manoogian and her request for confidentiality. Our caucus is keenly aware of the challenges of being an elected woman and will not tolerate any threat of abuse. retaliation and public embarrassment that are used to intimidate women, âLasinski said.
Earlier Wednesday, Wentworth’s office confirmed that the president stripped Marino of all legislative committee duties, including removing him from a coveted committee chair.
âRepresentative Marino is no longer the chairman of the trade committee and no longer sits on the local government committee. Representative Pauline Wendzel has been appointed chairman of the committee,â said Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesperson for Wentworth, in a press release. declaration.
“The speaker trusts Representative Wendzel to carefully review important legislation related to Michigan’s economy and make strong recommendations to the rest of the House of Representatives.”
Wendzel is a Republican from Bainbridge Township who has represented her district in western Michigan since 2018.
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In a very brief letter sent on Tuesday, Wentworth informed Marino that he would no longer sit on any committee. The letter provided no context for the decision, and D’Assandro declined to comment further.
Previously a lobbyist and Macomb County commissioner, Marino was elected to State House in 2016. He drew widespread criticism during his first campaign after secret recordings captured him, claiming that a powerful senator from the state had forced him to pay a bar bill at his daughter’s wedding.
In the recording, Marino stressed that it was not a marriage but a “Jewish wedding”. Marino retracted the comments and apologized for them, saying he misinterpreted what had happened and “was just trying to illustrate some of the silliness” of Lansing.
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This is at least the third time that Wentworth has played a role in removing a legislator from committees.
At the end of 2020, after being chosen as the new president but before officially taking the role, Wentworth worked with then-President Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, to remove a Republican and Democrat from their committees.
Representative Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, was pulled in December after making comments in a Facebook video that legislative leaders and others saw threatening. She made the statements after receiving death threats following verbal beatings she exchanged with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani during a boisterous legislative hearing.
A few days later, Representative Gary Eisen, R-St. Clair Township, was also stripped of its committee functions. In a radio interview at the time, Eisen suggested he was part of a group that planned to disrupt the Electoral College voting process at the Statehouse and that he could not rule out violence.
Johnson and Eisen were both reassigned to committees at the start of the new legislative session in January.
Contact Dave Boucher at email@example.com or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @ Dave_Boucher1.