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Michigan lawmaker wants the state to pay reporters who expose government misuse of taxpayer money

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A Republican lawmaker from Michigan wants the state to pay journalists a bounty for exposing government abuses of taxpayer money.

State Rep. Joe Aragona is drafting a bill that would give a bonus to any reporter who uncovers specific cases of wasteful government spending, he told Fox 2 Detroit.

He came up with the idea for the legislation after a Detroit News reporter broke the story of reckless spending at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the station said.

Fay Beydoun is accused of reckless spending at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation while serving as a member of its executive committee. LinkedIn/Fay Beydoun

A former member of MEDC’s executive committee, Fay Beydoun, had received a $20 million grant from the agency for a nonprofit organization.

She then spent $4,500 on a coffee maker for the organization, the reporter discovered.

“There is no internal audit in Michigan with the state government that found this,” Aragona told the local Fox station. “Who found it? It was a news source. So you know what I think we should do? We must have a bounty.”

He suggested that reporters get a 10% cut.

“If a news source finds a waste of taxpayer money that has been spent frivolously, in a way that it shouldn’t, then I think the news source should get a cut — maybe as much as 10%,” he said.

Beydoun allegedly blew $4,500 on a coffee maker for the organization. John Kasawa – stock.adobe.com
Rep. Joseph Aragona is drafting a bill that would give a bonus to reporters who uncover specific cases of government waste. Michigan House Republicans

But reporters at the Michigan Press Association were less enthusiastic about the idea of ​​free money than about ethical concerns and worries that it would quickly turn political, the station reported.

They also thought it might leave a bad impression since reporters are already paid by their companies for their work.

Still, Aragona claimed he already has a number of colleagues willing to sign on as co-sponsors.

The Post has contacted the legislature.




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