Rap Sheets Don’t Stop MI Pols From Seeking Office


Criminal records don’t stop some Michigan politicians from running for office, and even getting elected, says the Detroit Free Press. Perhaps the most legendary case was Charles Diggs Jr. of Detroit, who was elected to Congress in 1954 and resigned in 1980 after he was convicted of taking kickbacks from the paychecks of his U.S. House staff. While awaiting sentencing, Diggs was re-elected to his House seat. But he resigned after being censured by the House and spent 14 months in prison.

More recently, state Rep. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park, was elected in 2006 despite his conviction for a 1993 armed robbery, for which he spent eight months in prison. Republicans threatened to try to block Johnson from taking his seat but never did. Detroiter Henry Stallings II, who resigned from the state Senate in 1998 to avoid being expelled after pleading guilty to using a state employee to do work at a shop he owned in Detroit, attempted a political comeback in 2002 with a run for the state House. He lost in a primary to then 22-year-old Virgil Smith, who’d had brushes with the law.

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