After closing secret fund, Gov. Rick Snyder's new non-profit names donors

LANSING (WXYZ) - Responding to criticism over his secret non-profit NERD Fund, Governor Rick Snyder's supporters today published the names of donors to a new fund that promises to be more transparent.

The disclosure comes as Snyder prepares to announce his bid for re-election.

The Governor promised change in wake of a 7 Action News Investigation in 2012 , where Investigator Ross Jones asked Snyder why he chose to shield donors from the public.

"You might be one of the state's biggest proponents for transparency," Jones said, "But your NERD Fund is a secret. Why is that?"

"We're complying with the law, this is just the normal practice," Snyder responded.

But cries began to grow for Snyder to disclose more about the fund and how it operated.  They got even louder when it was revealed that fund paid the salary of a top Snyder aide, and foot the bill for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's stay at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.

"People don't write five, six, seven figure checks for selfless reasons," said campaign finance expert Rich Robinson. "Most of these people don't want to be in the spotlight . They don't want transparency for what they're doing."

Today the new fund, called Moving Michigan Forward, released  a list of donors and expenses for the last quarter. On the giving end were companies like Michigan National Life: an insurance firm that gave $25,000 in December.  A few months earlier, the state announced they'd give the company a $3 million grant to expand its headquarters. 

HTC Global Services gave $50,000.  The company has had at least one major contract with the state recently that was extended through last year. It was valued at more than $14 million.

In total, the fund took in more than $123,000 over just a few months. It reported about $67,000 in expenses that went to pay for expenses like employee travel, contract services, telecommunications and constituent outreach.

Contact Investigator Ross Jones at rjones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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