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Governor Snyder shutting down controversial NERD fund

Governor Rick Snyder
Governor Rick Snyder
Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder’s controversial NERD Fund will be shut down this week and replaced. Its official name is the New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify Fund. Governor Snyder used the fund to pick up costs he says should not be paid by taxpayers. But the governor would not reveal its donors, and critics say that created too many possible conflicts of interest.

The governor says it’s time to move on from that controversy. 

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback to the point that the NERD Fund has become a distraction in many respects,” Snyder said. “The NERD Fund’s complied with all the laws and regulations required of it. It’s done good things. But, moving forward, we thought it best, the board’s made a decision to wind it down. There will be a new entity that will disclose donors and put its information up online.”

But the governor says there are still no plans to reveal who has given money to the fund.

“I’ve always been clear about – the donors that gave didn’t have an expectation of ever getting disclosed,” the governor said. “So that’s the past. But, moving forward, the new fund will be disclosing donors and the information will be posted online.”

Governor Snyder has used the NERD Fund to pay for things he says should not billed to taxpayers. The governor has used the fund to pay the salary of a top aide, and to pay some of the living expenses of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.