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Tag: lawmaker

State Senator in Michigan Accused of Misusing Payroll Funds As FBI Investigates

Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson

Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities who raided the home and office of Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson are investigating claims that the state lawmaker misused Senate funds to pay an employee who never worked for him, the Detroit Free Press reports. 

Johnson has claimed that he has no idea why he is being investigated.

The FBI and Michigan State Police raided his Highland Park home and Lansing office.

“We’re going to figure it out. I’m hiring counsel,” Johnson, D-Highland Park, said outside the Senate chamber Tuesday. “I’m disappointed. I had a raid in my house. I’m very concerned for my family, for my mother, my children.”

Johnson has a spotty record, the Free Press wrote.

Johnson, 43, has a felony record for armed robbery from a conviction when he was 19. His record was widely known when he won seats in both the state House and Senate. He has had financial difficulties, as well. In 2015, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in an Illinois court in a civil lawsuit over an unpaid debt to a political consulting firm.

Johnson was sued by Chicago-based Paladian Political Group, which said he owed $21,983.37. The issue was resolved without Johnson being arrested.

He said Tuesday he doesn’t know whether his financial problems played a role in the investigation.

“That’s one of the things we’re talking over. We’ve got to figure out what it is they’re looking for,” he said. “But you know, I’m an open book. I have no problem working with anyone. I’ve worked very hard to build a reputation I think people trust.”

FBI, State Police Raid Home, Office of Michigan Senator

Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson

Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The FBI and Michigan State Police on Monday raided the Highland Park home and Lansing state office of Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson.

The second-term Democrat has a history of recent financial issues, the Detroit News reports

Fox 2’s M.L. Elrick reports that a federal grand jury has been looking whether Johnson had one or more “ghost” employees on the payroll and whether he took kickbacks from those employees.

Agents emerged from the home with boxes and bagged items.

FBI spokesman Tim Wiley aid agents were “on the scene at a residence in Highland Park conducting a law enforcement activity.”

No other information was available.

Louisiana Lawmaker Calls for Justice Department Probe After Police Shoot Black Man

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Louisiana lawmaker is calling on the Justice Department to investigate Baton Rouge Police after at least one officer shot a 37-year-old man to death while he was on the ground.

A video of the shooting provoked protests in Louisiana Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond wants federal investigators to solves some of the “unanswered questions” in the case.

“There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling’s death, including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot,” Richmond said Wednesday in a statement, KXLF.com reports. http://www.kxlf.com/story/32381137/louisiana-lawmaker-calls-on-justice-department-to-investigate-police-shooting-death

Local police are reviewing the video.

The officers are on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Trial Begins for Prominent New York Lawmaker Accused of Lying to FBI

State Sen. Thomas W. Libous

State Sen. Thomas W. Libous

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The trial for a prominent New York lawmaker accused of lying repeatedly to the FBI began this week.

Jurors heard opening statements Tuesday in the case of Sen. Thomas Libous of Binghamton, the deputy majority leader, the Associated Press reports. 

Libous is accused of lying to the FBI about arranging a $150,000-a-year job for his son.

The defense said the prosecution’s key witness is “morally bankrupt.”

The trial continues in federal court in White Plains today.

California Lawmaker Says FBI Tried to Get Him to Rat Out Two Top Democrats

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A California lawmaker says the FBI raided his office because he refused to rat out two of the state’s top Democrats, NBC News reports.

State Sen. Ronald Calderon, D-Montebello, filed a federal complaint, saying agents asked him to “sting” Sen. Darrell Steinberg, leader of the state Senate’s Democratic majority and Sen. Kevin de Leon.

Calderon also is asking for a judge to hold federal investigators in contempt for leaking details of the investigation. He’s accused of accepting more than $60,000 from undercover agents in exchange for supporting legislation, NBC reported.

During a June 2012 meeting with an undercover agent, Steinberg allegedly said, “I told you man, anything you can do, any help you could do for my kids is, you know – that’s diamonds for me. That’s diamonds.”