Longtime colleague says former Robertson aide is being ‘railroaded’

    Dave Robertson

    A former chief of staff for state Sen. Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) is the target in an ongoing Michigan State Police embezzlement investigation. But Erika Farley’s former colleague says she’s innocent.  

    “I have the utmost respect for her,” Matt Marsden, who worked with Farley for years in the Michigan Senate, told the Advance today. “I think that it’s difficult enough to be a female and be a chief of staff to begin with. She has tremendous integrity and work ethic and is very politically savvy. She’s being railroaded by a group of folks who don’t like to have truth spoken to them.”

    Marsden was the spokesman for two GOP former Senate majority leaders, Randy Richardville and Mike Bishop.

    The Detroit News’ Jonathan Oosting was first to report that Farley, who also served as Robertson’s campaign treasurer, was under investigation. Robertson declined comment to the News.

    The development comes at a time when Robertson, who has a history of campaign finance issues, has hurriedly introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1250, which will shift campaign finance oversight from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office to a new political commission. Legislation passed the Senate last week. Democrats called it a GOP power grab from incoming SOS Jocelyn Benson.

    Farley is a Michigan State University graduate and a seasoned political staffer who started working in the Legislature in 2003. Prior to that, she was an assistant to GOP former Gov. John Engler, according to her LinkedIn page.

    Farley’s husband, Jon Farley, was a fellow legislative staffer who died in 2013 of esophageal cancer. The Jon Farley Exceptional Staffer Award is named for him.

    Ken Coleman
    Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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