State Rep. Steve Marino, whose name surfaced repeatedly at the Larry Inman bribery trial in Lansing, has engaged in a host of political shenanigans throughout his political career, all the way back to, well, to 2014 when he was first elected at age 25.
The young Republican from Macomb County raised suspicions that he was allegedly involved in Rep. Inman’s scheme to pocket $10,000—perhaps as much as $30,000—in campaign contributions in exchange for voting to maintain the state’s prevailing wage law. Testimony suggested that Marino allegedly was keeping a tally of planned money exchanges as 12 House Republicans were targeted in 2018 by the carpenters union for an infusion of campaign bucks as an incentive to preserve the law.
During the trial, investigators tried to subpoena Marino to force him to testify. But they couldn’t find him. The FBI tried to interview him but he reportedly “made himself unavailable” and stopped returning the bureau’s phone calls. Inman, a Traverse City Republican, was saved by a deadlocked jury, though prosecutors may try him again. Marino is the guy who got away. Scot free.
A strange path into politics
Yet, Marino’s story of strange and sometimes sleazy politics took several twists and turns before that futile attempt to serve him with a subpoena.
The Harrison Township Republican decided in 2013, for God knows what reason, to pursue a career in politics. At that point, since he had first become a registered voter five years earlier, Marino had cast a ballot in just three of 13 elections. Among those he missed were the 2008 and 2010 general elections and the presidential primary of 2012.
Marino ran for county commissioner and caught a break. His challenger in the August 2014 GOP primary died in June, early enough so his name could be removed from the ballot, leaving Marino unopposed for the nomination. He won the general election that fall by tacitly inserting into the campaign the sudden death of the wife of his Democratic competitor, a tragedy years earlier that led to personal bankruptcy for the candidate.
Based on his campaign resume, Marino was an apparently self-employed political consultant (with no political experience) who specialized in assisting candidates with completion of their campaign finance reports. During the campaign, the county fined Marino for failing to file his campaign finance report on time.
Marino – enforcer of integrity?
When the commissioners were sworn into office in January 2015, they elected Marino as their Sergeant-At-Arms. That’s the guy who is supposed to keep everything orderly and proper during meetings of the Board of Commissioners. Steve Marino – enforcer of integrity in Macomb County government.
Things got a lot more shady when Marino quickly decided that he needed a promotion. In February 2016, he announced his candidacy for state House in a highly competitive, nearly 50-50 district.
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