News

MSP raids home of power brokers to former House Speaker Lee Chatfield

Millions of dollars are involved in the investigation
Posted at 9:44 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 21:44:40-05

BATH TOWNSHP, Mich. (WXYZ) — An investigation into millions of dollars in unregulated “dark money” and political consulting while on the state payroll just took a very serious turn.

Michigan State Police worked with the Michigan attorney general and raided the home of two Lansing power brokers, a married couple with close, personal and financial ties to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

Rob Minard worked as the speaker’s chief of staff. Anne Minard worked as the speaker’s external affairs director. Minard was paid more than the governor.

In 2020, the year Chatfield left office, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network started digging and wrote a headline: “How Senior House Staff Blended Politics and Policy with Lucrative Results.”

Simon D. Schuster with the Network told 7 Action News Tuesday about the raid.

“There’s a lot of money involved. Millions of dollars,” Schuster said.

While on the state payroll, the Minards ran an outside political consulting firm called Victor Strategies. They also raised money for a dark money nonprofit called the Peninsula Fund, controlled by Chatfield.

Those funds are not required to document publicly who donates and how the money is spent.

“What has me on the edge of my seat here is the fact that because there's an investigation ongoing, investigators have access to the things that are normally hidden to reporters like us, the things that normally are dark money,” Schuster said.

A few weeks ago, state Sen. Ed McBroom told 7 Action News, “It’s all bad and it’s all shocking.”

He said he’s working with legislative leaders on reforms saying, “We can’t avoid this issue. We need to take it on head-on.”

Schuster doubts it will happen quickly.

“I am not confident anything is going to become law until I see it,” he said.

We reached out to Minard and did not get a call back.

Chatfield has denied any wrongdoing through an attorney.

Minard is still on the Michigan House payroll working for current Speaker Jason Wentworth as an event coordinator.