By Jim Newell
Lake Orion Review Editor
State Senator Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion) is under scrutiny for his credit card purchases, raising questions of whether he used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
The Detroit Free Press first broke the story on Oct. 29 that Marleau, who represents Oxford and Addison, “has used campaign donations to pay off credit card bills totaling more than $114,000 since 2011. More than $65,000 of those charges were not itemized. Even for charges that were itemized, Marleau, in many cases, provided only one-word categories to describe the purpose of the expenditure, such as ‘supplies.’”
In Michigan, it is illegal for elected officials to use campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
On Nov. 1, Marleau released a statement regarding the Jim Marleau for State Senate Committee:
“I am committed to addressing the recent questions regarding my Senate Campaign Committee as I have done in the past with the Michigan Secretary of State. I have retained professional accounting and campaign finance reporting services to conduct a full review of the Jim Marleau for State Senate Committee.
“I look forward to receiving their recommendations to clarify the activity in my Senate Campaign Committee. I plan to adopt their recommendations and am confident this review will address these questions.”
Marleau’s office did not respond to a request from The Lake Orion Review for an interview.
Information on Marleau’s state senate website states that, “As a state legislator, Marleau has worked diligently to reduce government spending, remove burdensome impediments to job providers, and create a more transparent state government.”
Marleau’s salary as a state senator is $71,685, and “he receives from taxpayers $900 per month to cover lodging, meals and miscellaneous expenses, plus certain mileage payments,” the Free Press also reported.
Marleau represents Michigan’s 12th State Senate District, which includes the Orion and Oxford areas. He was first elected as senator in 2010 and is term-limited, with his final term expiring in 2018.
He was previously state representative of Michigan’s 46th from 2005 to 2011.
His website also says he was Orion Townships “frugal” township treasurer, and that he “retired from a career in business and as a small business owner prior to serving in public office.”