Monday, August 8, 2016

Cotter Quietly Removes Public View Of Staff Salaries On House Website

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at
The Michigan House has ended the public's ability to see key information about the pay of legislative staffers online.

Speaker Kevin Cotter's office is defending the move, and the Mackinac Center is fighting back: they already had the information and have subsequently posted it on their website...

According to Emily Lawler of MLive:

"The Michigan House of Representatives in June stopped publishing a monthly list of legislative staffers, their titles and salaries online.

That list has been replaced with a more general salary list that includes titles and salary levels but no names. Representative salaries are also listed.

Asked what prompted the change Gideon D'Assandro, a spokesperson for House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, said the listing was causing problems.

"The short answer is that posting people's private financial information on the web caused problems for our staff," D'Assandro said...

The House started issuing the list of staffers and their salaries in early 2011 after individual lawmakers -- former Rep. Tom McMillin and now-U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, both Republicans -- started posting the financial information from their offices online.

The Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank based in Midland, requested the information before it was available online and posted it on its own website. Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Jarrett Skorup said it was disappointing to see the full list of names, titles and salaries disappear.

"We know what our lawmakers make but we should be knowing what their employees and the people who actually work for them make, particularly when you have a political environment where people are constantly switching jobs," Skorup said.

He said it was helpful to see legislative staff who might have political side jobs and also could help illuminate joint offices such as the one former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were running."
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

1 comment: