Ingham County Commissioner in hot seat after using county email for campaign

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – An Ingham County Commissioner is in the hot seat after documents show he was using his county email to campaign.

Now officials are asking for an investigation, some even demanding he step down.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says the issue was brought to her attention back in July and since then, she did some digging on her own and found Commissioner Dennis Louney was in fact guilty of using his county email to get ahead in his career.

“I was very disappointed, I didn’t expect to see as many communications with his county email that I saw…I was actually speechless,” said Byrum.

Last week, Byrum filed a complaint at the Michigan Secretary of State that included copies of 18 emails that showed Commissioner Louney attempting to use his position to raise money and garner support for his campaign.

“Multiple times soliciting endorsement, fundraising, asking to talk to someone about the county budget but also asking for an endorsement in the same email,” Byrum stated.

Byrum says Louney’s behavior is completely inappropriate and it’s unethical to use taxpayer resources for the purpose of campaigning and she’s not the only one who feels that way.

“I was disappointed because initially I was under the impression that, and I believe many others were under the same impression that it was unintentional and it was a one-time occurrence,” said Ingham County Commissioner Kara Hope.

Because of Louney’s pattern of behavior, it’s forced his fellow board member Commissioner Hope to call for his resignation.

“I feel like Commissioner Louney has betrayed the trust of those of us who did vote for him in February to be appointed to this position so i think it’s appropriate for him to resign,” Hope stated.

Commissioner Hope says that decision lies entirely in the hands of Louney, but if he doesn’t step down Hope says she will ask for an ethics investigation.

“It’s just time for him to go and let someone else do the job of serving those constituents,” said Hope.

It’s important to mention that the Secretary of State will be conducting an investigation of their own to determine whether Louney violated campaign finance laws.

Byrum says if he’s found guilty, he will likely face a fine.

6 News did reach out to Commissioner Louney multiple times for comment on these allegations but he did not respond.

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