Federal prosecutors used the text messages allegedly sent by two-term Republican state representative Larry Inman to charge him Wednesday with bribery, extortion and lying to an FBI agent. Inman called the situation a misunderstanding.
“I was never a texter,” he told MLive of his communications with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights and a union lobbyist. “If I had something to say, I would either call them -- and that’s what I should have done in the long run, because texts can be misinterpreted.”
Inman allegedly solicited a bribe from the union in exchange for his vote to protect a wage law, the news website reported. He allegedly said that he and 11 other lawmakers could be convinced to vote in the union’s favor if they were each given $30,000 in campaign donations, the news station reported, citing court documents.
“Carpenters have been good to me, where are the rest of the trades on checks? We only have 12, people to block it," he allegedly wrote, the news outlet reported. “I have heard most got $5,000, not $30,000. Its not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000, in the end. They will give you the check back ... Get with the all the trades by Monday, I would suggest doubling what you given on Tuesday, ASAP.”
Iman said he never solicited a bribe and that there’s a “perfect explanation” for what he texted to union representatives. He declined to explain further to the news outlet, citing advice from his attorney.
“That explanation will come out,” Inman said. “That’s all I’ve got to say on the explanation ... They do not involve, in any way, a move or any intent to take money for a vote."
The messages were allegedly sent days before the state House voted to repeal the decades-old law that guaranteed union-level wages on public construction projects, according to court records. Inman voted with the prevailing side.