The Flint water crisis just gets worse and worse. This week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is using taxpayer money to pay lawyers nearly twice his state’s average to save his ass. This is the same man who sacrificed a whole city’s well-being and tried to delay installing new pipes in Flint to due to cost concerns. Cool.
Snyder, according to Michigan Live, has secured $1.2 million in legal services, and is paying one attorney specifically $540 per hour to process “massive amounts of emails and documents, including those being released voluntarily, Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuit discovery requests.”
A 2014 study of local attorney fees by the Michigan State Bar found that the local average billing rate was $245. But, you know, Snyder’s in deep and needs to protect himself, says his spokesman Ari Adler, in so many words.
“Having experienced counsel who can get documents in the form investigators like the U.S. Attorney’s Office and others prefer can be very helpful in completing everyone’s work. The fact that a counsel has such experience is a positive thing for getting the work done, even though no one in the Governor’s Office did anything criminal,” Adler said.
The money your office is paying out seems to say otherwise, Ari.
Naturally Michigan Democrats are decrying Snyder, who is a Republican, and his financial moves.
“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. Our priority should be sending every resource we can to removing pipes and protecting kids, not covering legal fees,” said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint at the time.
Ananich is not wrong. Last month Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver found themselves in conflict, when she stated an intention to change out lead rusted pipes immediately through her Fast Start program and Snyder was like “Wait, how much is that going to cost?”
Fortunately, Weaver pressed on anyway and broke ground on March 4.
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Image via AP.