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Dana Nessel charges ex-aides of Lee Chatfield with misusing campaign funds

Chatfield and Minard in state House
Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, seen here with his chief of staff Rob Minard, served in the state House from 2015-2021. Minard and his wife were charged Thursday with a host of felonies. (File photo by Michigan House Republicans)
  • Top aides to former House Speaker Lee Chatfield accused of embezzlement and misappropriation political funds
  • Anne and Rob Minard worked for Chatfield in the House while running a consulting firm linked to various nonprofit and campaign accounts
  • Nessel says her office continues to investigate Chatfield and is not prepared to make a charging decision

LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday announced criminal embezzlement and conspiracy charges against a pair of top aides and consultants to former House Speaker Lee Chatfield. 

The felony counts against Anne and Rob Minard are not the end of the two-year probe, according to Nessel, who said Chatfield remains under investigation and could still face separate charges at a later date. 

Nessel described the Minards as “power brokers” who worked for Chatfield in the Michigan House through 2020. 

She said the pair helped him raise millions of dollars for political accounts and pocketed $525,000 from 2018 to 2020 that was “not obtained legally.”


“They were intimately involved in a massive amount of financial misappropriation,” Nessel said Thursday during a media conference in her downtown Lansing office. 

Dana Nessel stands at a podium
Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday announced charges against two former staffers of ex-House Speaker Lee Chatifled, R-Levering. They are accused of misappropriating more than $500,000 in campaign and nonprofit funds. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)

The Minards face a host of felony charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, which is punishable by 20 years in prison.

The Minards, who are married, are expected to be arranged Jan. 3 in 54-B District Court in East Lansing.  They are considered innocent until proven guilty and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Matthew Schneider, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said it’s “entirely possible” Nessel announced the charges in hopes of bringing additional evidence against Chatfield.

“That's a strategy that prosecutors use all the time,” he said. “I think we need to reserve judgment on how significant this is until we see whether or not other folks are charged.” 

Anne and Rob Minard were top Chatfield staffers in the Michigan House and also helped run political action committees and nonprofit political accounts connected to the Republican from Levering in northern Michigan.

police cars in front of house
Michigan State Police in February 2022 executed a search warrant in the home of of Ron and Anne Minard in Clinton County’s Bath Township. (Bridge file photo by Jonathan Oosting)

Through their own consulting firm, Victor Strategies, the Minards reaped six-figure benefits from their relationship with Chatfield.

His leadership PACs, campaign account and a connected super PAC paid them nearly half a million dollars from 2018 through 2020, according to public records. A secretive nonprofit paid the Minards firm another $151,568 in 2020. 

The attorney general, a Democrat, said Michigan's weak campaign finance and transparency laws have created a culture that allows "conmen and conwoman" to take advantage of the system. 

"The people of Michigan deserve better," Nessel said, urging Michigan lawmakers to tighten regulations. 


The charges stem from a probe that began two years ago when Chatfield's sister-in-law accused him of sexually assaulting and manipulating her for more than a decade, beginning in the early 2010s when she was a teenage student at the Christian school where he taught, an account Rebekah Chatfield first shared with Bridge Michigan.

An investigative affidavit released Thursday show Rebekah Chatfield also alleged her brother-in-law “misappropriated finances that he raised for political and non-profit purposes and used them for illegal purposes."

Nessel joined the investigation in February 2022 and took over that fall. Search warrant requests show the attorney general expanded the probe with a focus on Chatfield's extensive use of secretive nonprofit funds to pay for travel and other undisclosed perks.

While Nessel had vowed to decide whether to charge Chatfield by the end of the year, an attorney for his sister-in-law said Thursday that she still believes “justice will prevail.”

An attorney for Rebekah Chatfield said Friday his client has faith in the investigation.


“The attorney general is being extremely thorough, and we appreciate that,” said Jamie White, the attorney for Rebekah Chatfield. “We know that he had sex with her while she was a high school student and he was a teacher, and we don't expect that behavior to be overlooked."

In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and House Speaker Joe Tate, both Democrats, said the evidence brought forward in the ongoing investigation could “help inform future legislative action,” but did not elaborate on what that might be. 

“These charges are the first of what we expect to be multiple steps in addressing the unparalleled level of corruption that was celebrated in Lee Chatfield’s inner circle,” they said. 

“Our new majority will continue in its mission of restoring trust between constituents and their elected leaders through transparency and ethics reform.”

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