Ethics

Group Challenges Gov. Snyder’s Use of Taxpayer Money for Legal Defense

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) sparked a lot of deserved outrage after he requested state resources to pay for his personal legal defense, but according to a local watchdog group the governor’s actions may not be legal.

Progress Michigan filed a legal complaint this morning challenging Governor Snyder’s plan to use taxpayer money to cover his legal expenses.

On a call with press on Friday, Lonnie Scott, Progress Michigan Executive Director, said that the group believes state law requires him to set up a legal defense fund to raise private money to cover the costs of dealing with any criminal charges, of which there are at least two lodged against him, and disclose those sources. “This is clearly for Snyder’s personal legal defense,” Scott said. “Governor Snyder has a net worth of roughly $200 million. He can certainly afford and should be required to pay for his own legal bills.”

I remain skeptical that Governor Snyder himself will face any consequences, but he is preparing for that possibility.

The state has currently set aside $1.2 million for legal fees.

LANSING, MI — Gov. Rick Snyder has retained $1.2 million worth of legal services in relation to the Flint water crisis and is paying one attorney $540 per hour, records show. […]

Details released by Snyder’s office Thursday provide the hourly rates for attorneys. The highest-paid attorney will make $540 per hour.

For perspective, Paul Clement was paid a similar amount by the Republican-controlled United States House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in front of the Supreme Court.

While the state is currently paying an attorney $540 per hour, several others are also being paid $400 per hour.

  • muselet

    “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,” Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler told MLive. “We simply do not have the internal resources and expertise available to address such large legal demands and needed to turn to outside counsel for assistance.”

    Yeah, no. Rick Snyder needs outside counsel because that way he, not the state of Michigan, is the sole client. That way, they can—and will—burn everyone else in state government to save Snyder’s skin.

    What a class act.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    If I were his wife, I would give the cake back. Preferably in his face.

  • Draxiar

    I have no idea on the legality of his using tax money to pay for his lawyers but it certainly seems unethical. Using the money of the people you poisoned to defend yourself against lawsuits invoked because of the poisoning is pretty damn despicable. That said, what can you expect from a guy that tried to hide the fact that his decision poisoned people and likely still would be if he hadn’t gotten caught.