Questions in governor's deposition turn to NERD Fund
Detroit, Michigan (WXYZ) - The 7 Action News Investigators first asked the question last year. Governor Rick Snyder promised to be transparent, so why is it a secret who donates to his NERD Fund?
This week the governor had to answer it under oath during a deposition tied to Detroit's bankruptcy.
"As to who the donors are, my answer would be I don't know," he told a lawyer for a city union during the deposition.
The non-profit NERD Fund was set up to raise money to offset the cost of government. It even has paid some of the expenses of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, the governor said in the deposition.
Some say the fact that donors are anonymous gives the governor the ability to accept money and not reveal a conflict of interest to the public.
Thursday, we caught up with the governor at a town hall at Oakland Community College. He was there to talk about how to prepare people for skilled jobs.
After the town hall, the governor spoke to us about the fund.
He says he doesn't open up the books because the donors expect privacy.
"When we originally set it up, that was not something they expected to happen," said the governor.
He then went on to say the questions about conflicts of interest have him thinking about getting rid of the fund altogether.
"We are making a review of it now."
Gov. Snyder says if he gets rid of it, he will replace it with a fund that tells donors upfront their contributions will be public.
He insists the fund has not been used for anything unethical.
"The people who benefit from this fund are the taxpayers," said the governor.