The longer the scandal, the harder it will be to repair your reputation.

Unfortunately, sex scandals and misuse of public monies in politics is as common as food on-a-stick at the Iowa State Fair.  From Hamilton to Jefferson; Kennedy to Clinton; Hart to Edwards; Gingrich to Hastert, scandals are just part of the theater that makes up politics. Despite the severity of the news that breaks, from salacious affairs to cash for favors, you can rebuild your reputation.

However, the longer the scandal stays in the news cycle the harder it will be for people like Michigan State Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser to rebuild their reputation. Particularly after further details about their affair and misuse of public monies and staff become more public.

Their affair and the subsequent investigation and hearings will not only take time away from debating more important issues to our states affairs, such as road funding, it will cost the tax payers money.  

It can go away if Gamrat and Courser show leadership, step down and step aside to let their colleagues focus on the state’s legislative priorities. Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick did not immediately step aside and look what happened to the City of Detroit.

While the impact won’t be as extreme in Michigan, it is an unnecessary distraction and Gamrat and Courser can help themselves repair their reputation starting with how they exit this scandal.

They need to come to terms that fighting this issue will only hurt them, their reputation, the Tea Party, Republican Party, Michigan Legislature and State of Michigan.  This issue is no longer just about them – it is about us.

Despite the issues before them, if they step aside and resign from office now, Gamrat and Courser still have time to repair their reputation. For best practices, look at Clinton, Spitzer, Weiner and Sanford.

  • For example despite paying a prostitute former New York Governor Elliott Spitzer went from pariah to pundit in two years, working on CNN. Despite a failed attempt to become New York City comptroller he now manages his families successful development business.
  • Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared on “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” while having an affair. After leaving his position as Governor, he was elected to Congress.
  • After former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s photos appeared all over the digital world, he found a job working at a PR firm.
  • And after separating from his wife, Arnold Schwarzenegger left the state house for the playhouse and returned to acting

Gamrat and Courser should step down and out of public office.  They should resign effective immediately, return to private life, focus on their family and then focus on rebuilding their career. If Ms. Gamrat is so sure that the voters her constituents will continue to vote for her than she can and should run for office again in the next cycle. Otherwise, both can try to find a job in the private sector.

Your reputation can be fixed after a scandal rocks your world -- It just depends on how you exit the scandal.