Michigan Governor Snyder has requested $1.2 million to pay his defense attorneys and another $1.5 million for the campaign contributor he hired to investigate the Flint water poisoning.
Michigan governor Rick Snyder has asked the State Administrative Board for $1.2 million taxpayer dollars to pay the attorneys he hired to defend him against civil lawsuits brought by Flint residents who claim they were poisoned when the governor's hand-picked city manager changed the source of the city's drinking water as a cost-cutting measure.
"It's beyond outrageous that Snyder wants to take $1.2 million from Michigan taxpayers to pay for defense attorneys over his involvement in the poisoning of Flint's water," complained Brandon Dillon, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.
To add insult to injury, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has requested an additional $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay Flood Law, the high-priced law firm he hired to investigate the Flint water crisis. Flood Law belongs to major Republican campaign donor Todd Law, who has given both Snyder and Schuette thousands in campaign donations.
According to MLive, Ari Adler, a spokesman for the governor's office, said much of the costs are for processing the "enormous amount of data" including emails that must be redacted for public release. Adler told reporters the cost is:
"...based on work already completed and the workload looking ahead, and everything in between, including workload for state departments responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, documents needed for court cases, and the move of the the governor to be transparent."
Adler insisted that using state funds is appropriate. "You can't just magically make things appear," he asserted. "You have to search for them and process them."
Democrats however, do not agree, arguing multi-millionaire Rick Snyder should not expect taxpayers to bear the cost of the civil suits filed against him.
"That money should go toward replacing lead pipes and getting safe drinking water to Flint families, Brandon Dillon insisted, "not for Snyder's defense attorneys."
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, who represents Flint, where after two years residents still can't drink the tap water, was contemptuous of the governor's move to saddle the taxpayers of Michigan - including those in Flint - with his legal bills.
"Paying more for high-priced lawyers than we are for school nurses or fully refunding victims is another kick in the teeth to taxpayers and my community," complained Senator Ananich. "Our priority should be sending every resource we can to removing pipes and protecting kids, not covering legal fees."
There is still no comprehensive state plan to address the water crisis in Flint, or the ongoing medical needs of the children permanently affected by lead and other toxic substances in Flint's water.