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Top Democrat accuses Republicans of "shielding" Gov. Snyder

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI)

Michigan’s Democratic Party leader is accusing Republicans of “shielding” Gov. Rick Snyder from accountability for the Flint water crisis.

Brandon Dillon is the Michigan Democratic Party chairman. At the first of a series of news conferences today, Dillon spoke in Flint about the need to not let the governor “off the hook.”

“Anybody, whether they were a state employee or a political appointee right up to the governor himself, need to be held accountable,” Dillon said, “And the Republican Legislature has so far has been shielding him at all costs.”

Dillon spoke a short walk from the Flint River, flanked by several Flint residents.

It was water taken from the Flint River, that not properly treated, damaged city pipes, which in turn leeched lead into the city’s drinking water. Lead levels remain high, though a recent test by outside researchers hints the situation is slowly getting better.

But still, Dillon says the Legislature has not fully explored the role the governor played in the crisis. He called on Michiganders to put pressure on state lawmakers.

“They need to call their representatives and tell them to stop shielding Gov. Snyder from accountability and stop letting him use taxpayer dollars for his criminal legal defense,” says Dillon.

The governor has not been named in a criminal probe of Flint’s lead tainted tap water.

The Attorney General’s office has spent about two million dollars so far and charged nine current and former government officials with crimes related to the Flint water crisis. 

A State House Republican spokesman calls Dillon’s accusations “absurd.”

Spokesman Gideon D’Assandro says the Legislature does not take testimony in “criminal matters.” As for Dillion’s complaint about a lack of transparency, he insists State House Republicans are working on that. 

“We already have a package of bills being worked on in the House to expand FOIA,” says D’Assandro. 

D’Assandro notes that Brandon Dillon brought up the same complaints two months ago.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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