Dana Nessel Levels 13 Criminal Charges Against Former Michigan GOP House Speaker Lee Chatfield

Michigan’s AG Dana Nessel announced multiple criminal charges against the state’s former GOP Speaker of the House, Lee Chatfield, and his wife Stephanie.

Chatfield is accused of using nonprofit funds for personal uses, including paying off credit cards and funding “lavish” vacations including trips to Universal Studios in Orlando, Las Vegas and the Bahamas. Nessel said Chatfield used private donations from the Peninsula Fund, a not-for-profit social welfare organization, to pay off $132,000 in charges to his personal credit card.

Chatfield faces 13 criminal charges, ranging from embezzlement to fraud. The charge of conducting a criminal enterprise is a 20-year felony, the most serious of the charges Chatfield faces, Nessel said. “We have definitely not ruled out additional charges against the Chatfields and many others,” Nessel said at a 2 p.m. press conference. “… This is the beginning of the charging process for the former speaker.”


Nessel’s office has been examining whether Chatfield engaged in a “criminal enterprise,” potentially involving embezzlement, bribery, campaign finance violations and controlled substances, according to court documents obtained by The Detroit News in October 2022.

The investigation began after Chatfield’s former sister-in-law Rebekah Chatfield filed a criminal complaint accusing the former Speaker of the House of sexually assaulting her, beginning when she was a student at the small Christian academy run by Chatfield’s father, Rusty; and where Lee worked as a teacher.

News Views covered that story in January 2022.

Aaron Chatfield, Rebekah’s husband and Lee’s brother, provided additional information about abuses of campaign finance laws by the former speaker’s organizations and funds. Nessel’s investigation focused on the use of millions of dollars in political contributions Lee Chatfield collected while holding the top position in the Michigan House in 2019 and 2020. 

Nessel announced that the investigation into the abuse of Rebekah Chatfield is closed without charges being filed due to lack of enough evidence to convict. “We found we could not prove criminal sexual assault charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” Nessel said.

Nessel praised Rebekah Chatfield for “strength, her bravery and her courage and stepping forward to tell her story.”

“Were it not for her, we likely wouldn’t be here today announcing charges at all,” Nessel said.

Lee Chatfield and Mike Shirkey

As House Speaker in 2020, Chatfield and his state senate counterpart Mike Shirkey traveled to meet the Former Guy in Washington following election upheaval in Michigan. Chatfield said he told TFG that there was no “mass fraud with the voting machines” in Michigan.