The ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alleged Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder may have perjured himself during congressional testimony on the Flint water scandal.
Maryland Democrat Rep. [crscore]Elijah Cummings[/crscore] sent Snyder a letter Thursday expressing concern the governor lied under oath when he claimed he is working with officials such as Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, a Democrat.
Weaver, in a statement on the city’s website shortly after the testimony, said she has never talked to Snyder about the Flint plan. Weaver also took some time to lambaste Snyder at length about his handling of the scandal, along with refuting the governor’s testimonial claims.
“The continued failure to communicate with elected officials here in Flint is simply astonishing,” Weaver wrote. “I have avoided placing blame for the Flint water crisis, trying to focus on the community’s and my attention on moving forward. That can only happen if the state works cooperatively with local officials. But Governor Snyder continues to ignore me, my administration and the residents of Flint.”
“Despite your sworn testimony [on March 17],” Cummings wrote in the letter. “Mayor Weaver reports that you did not seek input from her about your plan before you testified and that you excluded her from meetings with the state officials you charged with developing this plan in the weeks leading up to our hearing.”
Cummings said that he has “grave concerns” about the “accuracy” of the claims Snyder made. The Maryland Democrat did everything but outright say Snyder lied.
He added: “If you withheld information about your 75-point plan from Mayor Weaver and other local leaders until after your appearance before our committee, that would appear to directly contradict your testimony on March 17.”
Flint officials transferred their water source from the pricey Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) pipeline to the even more expensive Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
The city was failing to effectively manage the transition, so Snyder appointed an emergency manager to divert the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The switch resulted in the poisoning of 2 percent of the city’s population, including 23 children.
Ari Adler, a spokesman for Snyder, said the governor speaks with Weaver almost every day about the Flint crisis, and the best ways to fix the problems.
“We will continue our efforts to ensure an open line of communication continues to be available in both directions between the state and the city as the state works on delivering more than $232 million in state resources that Gov. Snyder has proposed as part of his efforts to solve problems in Flint,” Adler said.
Snyder accepted some of the blame for the crisis during the March 17 hearing.
“Let me be blunt,” Snyder told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during his opening remarks. “This was a failure of government at all levels. Local, state, and federal officials – we all failed the families of Flint.”
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