Rick Snyder's administration, Schuette said it is "absolutely imperative" that the governor and lawmakers provide additional funding to "deliver justice to the families of Flint." While he has said not said how much more is needed for his investigation into the lead contamination of children and a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak, the GOP-led Legislature has authorized $2 million for the next fiscal year — $600,000 less than in the current budget.
The agency deemed most responsible for the crisis — the Department of Environmental Quality, whose regulators advised Flint to not treat for corrosion after a water switch while the city was under state management — has spent nearly $3.8 million on outside lawyers, mostly for seven current and former workers named in lawsuits filed by residents of the city of 100,000.
The tab also includes more than $1.1 million for criminal defense, including at least $463,000 to represent two officials who resigned in late 2015 but who have not been charged: former department director Dan Wyant and former communications director Brad Wurfel.
But Snyder's spokeswoman said the spending is appropriate because the fees are related to actions taken in his official capacity as governor; there is a high volume of litigation stemming from the crisis; and the attorney general, who typically defends the governor from suits, is criminally investigating the administration.
He has kept the two cabinet members facing charges on the job and says some lower-ranking environmental regulators who are suspended with pay have waited more than a year without "their day in court." "We believe that our employees deserve legal representation and we look forward to an expeditious resolution regarding this matter," said Tiffany Brown, spokeswoman for the environmental protection department.