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Michigan lawmaker denies cash-for-vote scheme, won't quit

In a Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Michigan State Representative Larry Inman, seen here in his Traverse City, Mich, area home. Inman has been charged with seeking a bribe from a labor union in exchange for favorable votes on a wage issue after investigators obtained text messages that said campaign cash would be needed to overcome pressure from Republican leaders. Republican Rep. Larry Inman was indicted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 on charges of attempted extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker charged with seeking a bribe from a union said investigators got it wrong and he won't resign.

Republican state Rep. Larry Inman is charged with attempted extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors say messages show him urging a labor union to round up more than $5,000 in campaign contributions from other labor groups last summer to ensure that as many as 12 lawmakers would buck GOP leaders and block the repeal of a wage law covering public construction projects.

"Its not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000," Inman texted someone affiliated with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said the union didn't respond to Inman's pitch. He ultimately voted to repeal the law against the interests of labor groups.

"Do you think that I would take a bribe? Come on," Inman said Thursday on a Lansing-based syndicated radio program, "Michigan's Big Show."

He was asked why he told the union representative to keep quiet about the text message.

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"There are certain things that I have discussions with that are shared. ... I feel like my relationship with the carpenters was close and personal," Inman said.

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield has removed Inman from committees and put the House Business Office in charge of his office. He wants Inman to quit, but Inman said he's not stepping down.

Inman, a retired bank executive with a passion for the life and disappearance of famous aviator Amelia Earhart, said he's devoted to public service. Before joining the Legislature, he was a county commissioner in Grand Traverse County for 22 years.

"That's why I'm not married and don't have children," he said.

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