Michigan lawmaker wants state to pay reporters who uncover government misuse of taxpayer dollars

A Republican lawmaker from Michigan wants the state to pay journalists a bounty for uncovering government misuse of taxpayer dollars.

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

He thought of the idea for the legislation after a Detroit News reporter broke the story of reckless spending at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), according to the station.

Fay Beydoun is accused of reckless spending at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation when she was acting as an executive committee member. LinkedIn/Fay Beydoun

A former MEDC executive committee member, Fay Beydoun, had secured a $20 million grant from the agency for a nonprofit.

She then blew $4,500 on a coffee maker for the organization, the reporter found.

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

He suggested reporters get a 10% cut.

“If a news source finds a waste of taxpayer money that has been frivolously spent like that, in a manner that shouldn’t be, then the news source, I believe, needs to get a cut – maybe 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 discover specific instances of government waste. Michigan House Republicans

But journalists with the Michigan Press Association were less keen on the idea of free money over ethical concerns and worries that it would soon turn political, the station reported.

They also thought it could be a bad look as reporters are already being paid by their companies for their work.

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

The Post has reached out to the legislator.

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