Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released its “Worst Governors in America” list and, for the second year in a row, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is on it.
This year he is cited for his lack of transparency, particularly with regard to his NERD slush fund, now disbanded, which paid for state employees from donations from undisclosed donors, creating potential conflicts of interest in our state government.
Gov. Snyder claims he established funds to promote social welfare in Michigan, but they’ve mostly promoted the welfare of his staff and the governor himself.
Shortly after taking office, Gov. Snyder set up three funds in order to accept unlimited corporate donations, including New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify (NERD), a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group dedicated to “the promotion of civic action and social welfare.” However, its 2011 tax filings showed NERD spent more than $130,000 on a security system and furniture for the governor’s residences.
Two members of Gov. Snyder’s staff have been on the payroll of the NERD fund, including Rich Baird, a “transformation manager” whose consulting firm is paid $100,000 a year. Gov. Snyder is the firm’s sole client. When Mr. Baird was subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit against Gov. Snyder, he claimed executive privilege in refusing to disclose information related to the suit, even though he is paid by undisclosed donors and not on the government payroll.
- Elected in 2010; running for reelection in 2014
- Used tax-exempt fund that does not disclose its donors to renovate the governor’s residences and pay the consulting firm of one of his top staff members
Governor Snyder joins a cast of rather notorious characters around the U.S.A.:
You can read the full report HERE.
Adding… Let’s not forget this: