LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan lawmaker was stripped of his committee assignments after a female legislator said they had a “volatile” personal relationship that included domestic abuse and threats.
Rep. Mari Manoogian, a Birmingham Democrat in her second term, issued a statement Wednesday, a day after third-term Republican Rep. Steve Marino of Macomb County’s Harrison Township was removed from two panels, including one he chaired, for unknown reasons.
“The unfortunate reality is that many people in our society have experienced domestic abuse, which often comes from someone we would never expect,” Manoogian, 29, said. “None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, regardless of our career. It can happen right here in our legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public shaming, can be used to intimidate fellow members of the legislature. I am asking for privacy as I take steps to ensure my safety while I continue to represent my district and do the work of the people.”
She did not specify what Marino, 32, allegedly did, nor whether the alleged abuse and threats were physical, verbal or written. A message seeking comment was left for Marino.
Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who disciplined Marino, said Michigan State Police were investigating.
“I will always prioritize the safety of state legislators and those who are serving their community at the state Capitol. Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. Going forward, the House is honoring Rep. Manoogian’s request for privacy while others look into the allegations,” he said.
State police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said the agency received a complaint late Tuesday. She declined further comment because the investigation was “in the very early stages.”
House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski backed Manoogian and said her caucus “will not tolerate any threats of abuse, retribution and public embarrassment that are used to intimidate women.”