LANSING, MI – State Sen. Roger Kahn is facing allegations that he harangued a constituent who traveled to the Capitol to testify against medical malpractice legislation he supports.
In a complaint to the Senate majority leader’s office, Martha Shaw of Saginaw said she approached Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, a week ago outside the Senate chamber to voice her concern over the bills. She was with her attorney, who at some point said something to which Kahn took offense.
Kahn, she said in an email, “exploded in a loud, abusive voice, pointing his finger in my attorney’s face and screamed, ‘He is your problem trying to take your money.’ I then pointed my finger at him and said, ‘No, you are the problem.’ I was astounded by the unethical, unprofessional, rude character that Senator Kahn displayed.”
When reached Monday, Kahn, a cardiologist, said he never yelled at or harassed Shaw.
“I would point at (her lawyer) and say, ‘He’s the problem.’ … I thought it was clear we disagreed. I wasn’t yelling at her, maybe at him,” he said.
Senate rules state that a senator must conduct himself or herself “to justify the confidence placed in him or her by the people” and “maintain the integrity and responsibility of his or her office.” Violations can bring a reprimand, censure or even expulsion.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a Republican, said he will review the complaint.
“However, at first read this appears to be a complaint about a difference of opinion and positions on an issue that tends to stir passion for both sides,” Matt Marsden said.
Andrea Mannino of Farmington Hills, who also was in Lansing to voice opposition to the medical malpractice bills on June 5, filed a complaint against Kahn as well, accusing him of verbally attacking Shaw and acting in an “obscene manner.”
“This is a disabled woman who walks with a cane. She took the drive from Saginaw to Lansing in order to stand up for her rights and possibly converse with her senator, the one who is suppose (sic) to represent individuals like her. She was simply doing what any concerned citizen is encouraged to do.”
Shaw wears an ankle-foot orthosis and said she is disabled after having six back surgeries. Her mission, she said, is to prevent others from suffering at the hands of “incompetent, drunk or drugged” doctors allowed to practice in Michigan.
Kahn, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and has served in the Legislature since 2005, is no stranger to complaints involving alleged misconduct.
In 2009, a Democratic senator accused him of accosting and physically intimidating her as the two argued about budget cuts in an elevator in the Capitol building. Kahn called the allegations “baseless.”
In 2010, he reportedly got into an argument with an aide and stomped on his cell phone after a late-night legislative session. Kahn acknowledged getting into an argument but denied reports that he grabbed the aide and shook him.