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Secretary Benson statement on criminal charges against former Speaker Chatfield

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today made the following statement regarding the Attorney General's announcement of criminal charges against former State House Speaker Lee Chatfield and his wife, Stephanie Chatfield:  
"Today, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced serious felony charges against former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and his wife, Stephanie.
"I’m grateful to the Attorney General, her staff, and the law enforcement team for their meticulous investigation into the allegations against the former Speaker. It is alarming to me that, because Michigan’s disclosure, ethics, and transparency laws are so weak, the evidence that led to today’s criminal charges was only discovered as the result of separate allegations made by Rebekah Chatfield.
"The fact that the alleged financial crimes, including the egregious and blatant embezzlement of taxpayer dollars and nonprofit funds for personal gain and enrichment, were able to go undetected for so long underscores a failure of our current laws to prohibit corruption in our state government. 
"As I read through the charges and outrageous revelations surrounding this case, what’s clear to me is that this culture of corruption must end. Our citizens deserve better than this.
"Michigan is consistently ranked dead last among all states for our transparency and ethics laws. A glimmer of hope today is found in the fact that lawmakers in the state House, the very chamber that former Speaker Chatfield used to oversee, have introduced legislation to begin addressing these and many other gaps in our current anti-corruption laws.
"The Attorney General and I will be jointly testifying in support of some of these proposals before the State House Ethics Committee on Thursday morning. I hope we can see their swift passage by leaders in both chambers in the months ahead."

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