Conservative Michigan Republicans who gave themselves bonuses out of COVID funds have been forced to return it

 Elected officials in Shiawassee County a conservative Michigan county gave themselves bonuses out of COVID funds and have now been forced to return it

The commissioners, all Republicans, voted on July 15 to award themselves $65,000 as part of a plan to give $557,000 to 250 county employees as “hazard pay” for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 6-0 with one commissioner absent.

prosecutor said the payments were illegal.

The Michigan Constitution bars additional compensation for elected officials “after services had already been rendered,” prosecutor Scott Koerner said Friday.

The commissioners awarded money to other elected officials, including the prosecutor, the sheriff and the county clerk, all Republicans. They, too, said they would give it back.

“Since these payments were made, confusion about the nature of these funds has run rampant,” a statement from commissioners said. “(We) deeply regret that this gesture has been misinterpreted, and have unanimously decided to voluntarily return the funds to the county, pending additional guidance from the state of Michigan.”

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