Absurd! Progress Michigan reports:
Despite the fact that no official charges related to the Flint Water Crisis have been levied against him, Gov. Rick Snyder has already spent more than twice the amount of money on his own personal legal defense than what has been spent on state employees who are actually facing charges. It was revealed today that Snyder’s taxpayer-funded defense fund has ballooned to $3.4 million — almost tripling the original amount.
According to the Detroit News, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has spent $1.4 million to defend the employees that have been criminally charged. However, Snyder — who has yet to be charged with any crime — has racked up a $3.4 million taxpayer-funded legal bill.
“It’s absolutely shameful that while the people of Flint still cannot safely drink the water from their taps a multi-millionaire like Snyder is allowed to hoard public resources for his own personal defense,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Republicans in this state like to claim they’re on the side of working families, but when it comes down to it, they’re most interested in doing what’s best for the wealthy and the well-connected, like Rick Snyder and his corporate donors. We need public dollars going to fix Flint, not covering the ass of an out-of-touch millionaire who allowed this crisis to happen on his watch.”
According to Snyder’s spokesperson, the governor’s defense budget may become even more bloated over the coming months. Snyder has the power to unilaterally approve public spending on his defense.
“We just don’t know what, if any, of the future costs will be,” said Snyder’s spokesperson, according to the Detroit News.
“If Republicans in the legislature have any backbone, they’ll stop this spending spree by Snyder and put that money where it belongs: on new pipes in the ground in Flint and reimbursing the community for the harm they have suffered at the hands of total Republican control,” Scott continued.
The Detroit News says that some of this spending is document prep to cooperate with the state investigation.
The News reported Monday that Schuette’s special Flint investigation team spent more than $2 million through mid-June on lawyers, retired police officers and support personnel investigating Flint’s water crisis.
Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon said Thursday that state legislators should move to block Snyder from using public funds to cover his mounting legal bills or strip funding from the executive office budget.
As a political figure, the governor should set up a legal defense fund to pay his Flint legal bills without public dollars, Dillon said.
The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office said in April that Snyder is not obligated to set up such a fund if his defense costs are paid by the state.