Todd Courser, a Michigan State Representative and Tea Party member with a wife and four children, was afraid that his extramarital affair with Rep. Cindy Gamrat was going to be exposed.
Rep. Todd Courser took some completely logical actions to stop the media from finding out about his affair with another state representative: he asked his aide to spread a rumor that he was caught having sex with a man behind a club. He did this in the hopes that this scandal would overshadow the other scandal, because that is how scandals work according to Courser (you are as confused as I am). Unfortunately, because his plan was preposterous, and because he was comfortable enough to share it with a young aide, and because we live in the modern world, the aide recorded him talking about his plans and leaked the audio to The Detroit News. In the recording, Courser reasons that:
“It will make anything else that comes out after that — that isn’t a video — mundane, tame by comparison [...] I need a controlled burn.”
He is unironically using a fire metaphor to describe himself making an even bigger fire. The aide, Ben Graham, was working for both Courser and Gamrat. After hearing about the plan, he refused to help his boss. The following e-mail went out anyways (presumably from Courser), the day after the recorded talk:
Graham and another aide working for Gamrat were fired a few months later without any notice, which I'm guessing was another backwards attempt to distance himself from his affair? It's hard to tell with this guy. He's probably fabricating a Nazi ancestor or money laundering scandal as we speak, which we can only assume to cover up the scandal of him covering up the scandal of his original, primal scandal: that goatee.