89.1 WEMU

Governor Snyder Increases His Legal Budget For Flint Water Crisis Investigation

Dec 23, 2016

Flint Water Tower
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Governor Rick Snyder has increased his legal defense budget for one of his private attorneys to $3.5 million.


Snyder hired Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP last spring to represent him in the investigations into the Flint water crisis

The contract for their firm at the time was for $249,000.  Over time, that cap rose to $2 million before its most recent increase.   

Spokesperson for Governor Snyder Anna Heaton said as long as the Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing, there is legal work to be done. 

“We are required to comply with this investigation and in order to do that we need…you know it’s a legal investigation and so we need lawyers who are able to produce the work that we ask for,” she said.

The money comes from taxpayer dollars – an issue that in the past caused a Flint resident to ask for a grand jury to look into the legality of the use.  That case was not accepted by the court. 

Sam Inglot is the deputy communications director at Progress Michigan – a progressive advocacy group.  He says this money should be going to the people of Flint to help fix their pipes and reimburse their water bills. 

“There’s frankly no reason that a multi-millionaire, who’s our governor, should be using public funds for his own private legal defense when he’s not even facing charges yet,” he said. 

Snyder’s office has defended the decision saying it’s appropriate because the investigations relate to his official duties as governor.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org