Flint Hearings: Rep. Elijah Cummings rips into Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

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There were fireworks today at the Flint Hearings. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder finally showed up. There were calls from Democrats on the committee for him to resign, as Republicans attempted to shield him, and deflect the responsibility onto the EPA, and the Feds.

The ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a blistering indictment of the Snyder administration on Thursday moments before the Michigan governor began his own testimony over the Flint water contamination crisis. Rep. Elijah Cummings suggested that Republicans were “desperately” trying to blame the crisis on the federal Environmental Protection Agency. “I agree that EPA should have done more, they should have rescued the people of Flint from Gov. Snyder’s vindictive administration and its utter incompetence at every level,” Cummings said. Cummings suggested that if Snyder had been the CEO of a children’s toy company that sold toys with lead “he would be hauled up on criminal charges.” “The board of directors would throw him out and shareholders would revolt,” Cummings said. Snyder, in his opening remarks, outlined steps the state is taking to address the man-made disaster and highlighted ongoing probes of the Michigan environmental quality and health departments. “We are taking responsibility and taking action in Michigan, and that is absolutely essential here in Washington, too. Inefficient, ineffective, and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA allowed this disaster to continue unnecessarily,” he said.



  1. Snyder’s legal fees of 800K are going to paid for by taxpayers.

    A Kog linked this story – re the pushback

    Former AG Kelley: Snyder’s outside legal fees too pricey

    LANSING — The nation’s longest-serving state attorney general said Monday it was against the policy of his office to pay for outside criminal attorneys for state officials and the $800,000 in criminal defense legal fees Gov. Rick Snyder is requesting in connection with the Flint drinking water crisis appear excessive.

    “If I was you, I would say it is exorbitant,” former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley said in a telephone interview from Florida. “Why not? It is exorbitant.”

    Kelley, a Democrat, said that during his 37 years as attorney general, from late 1961 through 1998, if a state official was facing a criminal investigation for official actions, his office would provide legal assistance but would not approve funds for outside attorneys.

    If a state official was charged with a crime, no state-funded legal representation would be provided unless the official was acquitted, Kelley said.

    “A crime is against the people of the state, so you could not pay to defend the crime with the people’s money,” Kelley told the Free Press.

    • Interesting! When I was watching the Cummings clip, I noticed when they cut over to Gov. Snyder that there were a couple of guys fidgeting behind him. They looked like attorneys and I was speculating that they were Michigan state attorneys mentally updating their resumes so that they could get another job and bail on this loser.

      This “protect our own”ism is a problem when the governor has a pet legislature, the hangover from the 2010 election thrashing our party took. Permanent Republican state legislatures locked in by the gerrymanders – we have it in Wisconsin too.

      People need to get off their asses and vote in midterms. I thought they would figure this out after 2010 but they did the same damn thing in 2014. How do we get through to them????

  2. Charlie Pierce on Republican hypocrisy (is that redundant?):

    Regardless of who sent what memo to whom and when they sent it, the crisis in Flint is the result of a full implementation and exercise of a philosophy of government that noisy pissants like Chaffetz, Grothman, Carter, and Rick Snyder have proposed as a solution to almost all the nation’s problems—government is bad, government bureaucrats are always incompetent, devolve federal powers to the states, and that government is best that is limited and, preferably, run like a business. The two primary contenders for the Republican presidential nomination want to eliminate the EPA. Absent as a cudgel against environmental protections that he wants to gut, the 100,000 people in Flint wouldn’t matter a damn to Jason Chaffetz. “A government is not a business and it shouldn’t be run like one,” said Rick Snyder to Congress, and his tongue did not burst into flames.

  3. Republicans call for Gina McCarthy to resign and she would have none of it:

    [McCarthy] maintained that the agency didn’t become aware of the fact that Flint wasn’t using corrosion controls until July of last year, when it took action. “We were strong armed, we were misled, we were kept at arm’s length, we couldn’t do our jobs effectively,” she said of the relationship with the state agencies. “We did not create this problem.”

    She wants to strengthen the lead rules but a government agency that has been in the sights of the Republicans pretty much since it was established has to move slowly and deliberately. A sweeping rule change that gets blocked by Republicans in the courts does no one any good.

    The Republicans would love for her to resign because then the EPA would have no director for the next 8 months … another way to thwart all environmental protections.

  4. Gov. Snyder “stop me before I kill again!!!”:

    Gov. Rick Snyder called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule, which provides for control and monitoring of lead levels in drinking water, “dumb and dangerous,” contending that other cities across the USA will end up in similar circumstances unless federal rules change.

    Apparently his own environmental agencies were unable to read any scientific research studies to conclude that lead in the water was bad. The Sgt. Schultz rule “I know nothinggggggg”.

    This really the issue:

    “This is a failure of a philosophy of governance that you advocate,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Snyder appeared before the committee along with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “At some point, the buck stops at your office.”

    “This is a failure of a philosophy of governance that you advocate”

    It is called Republican governance and it is destroying Louisiana and Kansas and Wisconsin … and Michigan.

    Bad optic … clean water for the governor, not for the kids.

  5. That man’s parents named him well. The “false god worship” this Elijah rails against is “Bidness” but it’s still false god worship.

  6. Wonkette:

    “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told a congressional hearing Thursday he was shocked and horrified the federal government allowed him and his incompetent administration to poison the children of Flint with all that lead.” …

    “For balance, the Republican leadership of the committee brought in EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy so they could blame her for not using the tyrannical power of government regulation to prevent Snyder and a series of emergency managers from poisoning the city’s water supply. If only someone had stepped in and forced the Snyder administration to stop ignoring evidence that Flint River water was leaching lead from old pipes! Republicans repeatedly chided the EPA, an agency they want to eliminate, for not doing more to keep Flint safe from state officials; they also called on McCarthy to resign so they could begin the important work of never confirming a replacement.”


    “Rick Snyder and his team wrecked Michigan government at every level, so the answer is to be skeptical of government. Vote Republican!”


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