Governor Snyder Bypasses Accountability; Forces Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for his Personal Defense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Progress Michigan

March 15, 2016

Contact: Hugh Madden, 734-250-2070, hugh@progressmichigan.org

Governor Snyder Bypasses Accountability; Forces Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for his Personal Defense

Progress Michigan to submit signatures calling on Snyder to pay his own legal bills

LANSING — Today, Progress Michigan is calling on Governor Rick Snyder to pay his own legal bills and will submit thousands of signatures to the State Administrative Board demanding that taxpayers do not have to foot the bill for Snyder’s legal defense. Governor Snyder’s office is using an exemption, not previously used in Michigan history, that gives Governor Snyder the ability to approve contracts with no oversight.

“It’s odd that the man who did nothing when Flint residents were crying out for help can all of a sudden move heaven and earth to find the money for his own personal defense,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “It appears that Snyder used his control of a board that is meant to regulate spending to pass a rule relieving him of checks and balances on spending and contracts. The loophole the administration is citing appears to allow Snyder to unlimited millions of taxpayer dollars with no oversight. The State Administrative Board should not only condemn the contracts before them to pay for Snyder’s personal legal bills, but should immediately pass a resolution changing the loophole that allows such egregious actions by a state officer whom no longer has the trust of the people.”

The State Administrative Board is tasked with approving contracts and grants of $250,000 and more. The total cost of the contracts in question is over one million dollars. However, in 2011 the Snyder administration changed the rules governing the Ad Board giving Snyder the power to approve contracts without oversight.

“Last I read, the constitution says the governor is a state officer and not a dictator yet his actions seem to suggest he thinks otherwise,” Scott continued. “Snyder is attempting to force the taxpayers of Michigan, including the people of Flint, to pay his legal defense for his failure in Flint. That is the equivalent of an $800,000 deposit into Snyder’s personal checking account. Snyder claims he is being defended in his official capacity as governor, but I think it’s safe to say that any criminal activity is not one of the duties required of the governor of our state. The people of Michigan are clear that they do not want the governor using the state treasury like his own personal piggy bank and the Ad Board should not allow this to stand.”

The State Administrative Board is made up of the following members:

Travis Weber, representing Rick Snyder, Governor

Nat Forstner, representing Brian Calley, Lt. Governor

Rose Jarois, representing Ruth Johnson, Secretary of State

David Brickey, representing Bill Schuette, Attorney General

Melissa Castro, representing Nick A. Khouri, State Treasurer

Laura Mester, representing Kirk T. Sueudle, Director, MDOT

Kyle Guerrant, representing Brian J. Whiston, Superintendent of Public Instruction

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