Michigan Sen. Bert Johnson
By Steve Neavling
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.”