Top Democrat’s Secret Payments Deemed Concerning

Top Democrat's Secret Payments Deemed Concerning

( – Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has remained a controversial figure since assuming office. However, her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic sparked increased outrage in the state, particularly from Republicans.

She issued a stay-at-home order on March 24, 2020, to limit the coronavirus spread. She extended that order twice, enraging Republicans who said she lacked the authority to issue an executive order mandating the state-wide lockdown.

Republican legislators ended up suing her over her use of two emergency acts. The first act, passed in 1945, granted governors the power to declare a state of emergency for as long as one was needed to remedy a situation. The second act, passed in 1976, gave governors the power to declare a 28-day emergency without the state legislature’s approval.

The case eventually made it to the Michigan Supreme Court who sided with Republicans, ruling that governors needed state legislators’ approval to extend a state of emergency past 28 days.

Now, Whitmer finds herself the center of a new controversy. However, this time she stoked bipartisan criticism.

Democrat Blasts Whitmer’s “Hush Money” Payouts

The latest controversy erupted shortly after The Detroit News reported the Whitmer administration entered into separation agreements with Steve Gray, the former head of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, Robert Gordon, the former head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and his former deputy, Sarah Esty.

Gray reportedly received nearly $86,000, Gordon more than $155,000, and Esty about $11,000. Republicans vowed to investigate the “hush money” payouts as a possible misuse of public funds.

Democratic State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky tore into those payouts during a recent virtual meeting with Michigan Rising Action.

“What on earth is going around” with the governor offering payouts to people “when they quit or quit.” She added air quotes with her hands when repeating the word “quit,” an apparent reference to mysterious circumstances surrounding Gordon’s resignation. Continuing, Pohutsky said she found the situation “concerning, to say the least,” adding that she wasn’t going to “sugarcoat it.”

Rep. Pohutsky’s concerns and those of Republicans raise serious questions. Why are state health and unemployment officials receiving “hush money” payouts in the middle of a pandemic and its resulting job losses? And why were they asked not to discuss their experiences with Whitmer’s administration?

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