The Michigan Democratic Party released bombshell news today that the Snyder administration awarded $26.4 million in no-bid contracts to a high-dollar donor to the Snyder reelection campaign.
On June 9, 2014, the owners of J&B Medical Supply, which supplies diapers and other incontinence products to Department of Community Health, hosted a lavish fundraiser for Rick Snyder in Bloomfield Hills which was attended by about 150 contributors, and featured crystal stemware, professional lighting design and custom-made Rick for Michigan candy and water bottles. They raised $73,800 for Governor Snyder’s reelection campaign.
Here’s video from the fundraiser just to give you an idea of just how swanky this soiree was:
The very next day following the fundraiser, J&B Medical Supply had an existing state contract extended to the tune of nearly $400,000. This appears to be a violation of the 2005 Michigan Management and Budget Act which requires competitive bidding on state contracts.
Prior to this, in February of 2013, the Snyder administration awarded a new no-bid contract to J&B Medical Supply which added $8,679,958.02 to an existing contract’s price. Later, in November 2013, the company was awarded another no-bid contract which added another $17,359,916.04 to the price.
All told, the Snyder administration has awarded 18 months worth of no-bid contracts to J&B Medical Supply, for a total of $26.4 million.
Since 2010, members of the Shaya family which owns J & B Medical, along with their employees, have given at least $65,676.19 in contributions to Rick Snyder’s reelection campaign. This is in addition to the fundraiser they held for him earlier this year.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson issued this statement about the revelations:
These documents again raise questions regarding whether “pay to play” is standard operating procedure in Rick Snyder’s administration. The governor needs to come clean and explain why he gave special favors to his campaign donors one day after they hosted a glitzy fundraiser for him. The people of Michigan deserve answers from Governor Snyder.
Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer issued a statement, as well:
These new documents raise very serious questions about who Rick Snyder’s administration is really working for. Why has a contract that was competitively bid in 2008 ballooned by more than $26 million without subsequent competitive bids on Snyder’s watch? And more specifically, why did the Snyder administration increase the J&B contract by over $390,000 one day after the company’s executives hosted a lavish fundraiser for Snyder’s re-election campaign?
Michigan deserves a governor who is committed to providing honest and open government to taxpayers. Instead, Snyder has repeatedly demonstrated that he puts his family and friends first. Whether he was giving 80 and 90 percent raises to his top administration officials, or doubling his cousin’s furniture contract to $41 million, it’s clear Rick Snyder’s policies work for the wealthy and big corporations, but not the rest of Michigan.
This is just further evidence that things are quite good for Michigan businesses but only if they are well-connected to the Snyder administration. I’m sure we’ll once again hear from Governor Snyder who will attempt to sweep this unethical behavior that betrays his pledge of transparency under the rug and that he will call it “a distraction”. Gov. Snyder should never have said “Governments need to make decisions based on competitive bidding and value for taxpayer money” if he had no intention of doing it.
UPDATE: J&B Medical Supplies also benefited handsomely from two Republican bills signed into law in June of 2012 which expanded the use of telemedicine. J&B Medical Supplies offers a full line of telemedicine products and equipment. At the time, Governor Snyder said, “Telemedicine offers an incredible opportunity to easily provide health care to Michigan’s elderly, disabled and rural communities. I applaud the Legislature’s initiative to use technology to save lives.”
[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]