The FBI contacted the Wayne County Clerk’s Campaign Finance Office around the time federal agents searched Detroit City Hall last month as part of an ongoing public investigation into corruption. .
A spokeswoman for the clerk’s office confirmed contact with federal law enforcement on Wednesday. But citing an ongoing investigation, spokeswoman Lisa Williams declined to say whether any information or campaign records were also provided to the FBI during its investigation.
While the exact timing and nature of the FBI contact is unclear, investigators’ interest in the county clerk’s office may be a new wrinkle in the corruption investigation of several sitting city council members.
“The FBI has been in contact with the Wayne County Clerk’s campaign finance office over the past month,” Lisa Williams, spokesperson for the clerk’s office, wrote in an email to the Free Press. “We are unable to comment further due to the FBI investigation.”
FBI agents deployed to Detroit two weeks ago and executed search warrants at Detroit City Hall and the homes of council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, as well as the homes of chiefs of Ayers and Benson staff. No one has yet been charged in connection with the raids.
But in July, city councilor Andre Spivey was charged with conspiracy to commit bribes. Federal prosecutors have said that Spivey and a still anonymous member of his staff accepted more than $ 35,000 in bribes between 2016 and 2020, including $ 1,000 that Spivey took in 2018 from an undercover FBI agent.
Spivey’s lawyer said in July that the city councilor has been cooperating with federal authorities for more than a year. Her plea hearing is set for September 28 before U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, according to court records.
The FBI has not disclosed why the scene was searched last month beyond their general involvement in the ongoing public investigation into the corruption. Mayor Mike Duggan suggested the investigation was linked to the town’s towing operations.
Joined on Wednesday, Mara Schneider, an FBI spokeswoman, said she was unsure why the federal agency may have contacted the clerk’s office.
Under Michigan’s Campaign Finances Act, county clerks are responsible for receiving campaign finance statements from local candidates and other documents needed to run for office. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett maintains a database that includes campaign finance records for office holders and candidates for Detroit mayor, city council and other local races. The Clerk’s Office is located in the Wayne County portion of Coleman A. Young Civic Center, which also houses Detroit City Hall.
Ayers and Benson, both running for re-election in November, attended the first Detroit city council meeting on Tuesday since the execution of search warrants at city hall and their home. City councilor Andre Spivey, who was indicted in July with conspiracy to bribe, was also present at the council meeting. The Free Press left messages for each of the council members, who did not immediately respond to calls.
Following: Detroit City Council aides linked to FBI corruption investigation: What we know
Following: FBI raids homes of Detroit council members Janee Ayers, Scott Benson, chief of staff to Benson
Contact Joe Guillen: [email protected]