U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has sent a letter to committee Chair U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy to issue a subpoena demanding Governor Rick Snyder “comply in full” with their request for documents related to the Flint water crisis.
The committee has requested documents related to the Flint water crisis, including all documents regarding when Snyder became aware of concerns about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak following Flint’s switch in water source.
“In order for our Committee to complete our investigation in a credible way, we must obtain the documents that Governor Snyder has been withholding from Congress since we first requested them on a bipartisan basis back in February 2016,” Cummings wrote in his letter, according to a statement from his office issued this afternoon. “Governor Snyder has been obstructing our investigation for months, and it is now clear that the only way he will turn over the documents we asked for is if he is compelled to do so.”
The committee sent a bipartisan request, Cummings said, to Snyder in February 2016 for documents from April 2014 to present about the drinking water supply in Flint, specifically documents related to when Snyder learned about cases of Legionnaires.
The governor’s office refused to comply fully with this request, Cummings office indicated, and few documents have been produced to date relating to deaths caused by Legionnaires’ disease.
The question of when Snyder knew about Legionnaires’ disease in Flint has once again been raised when, during an in-state preliminary hearing for Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, top Snyder aide Harvey Hollins claimed Snyder knew in December 2015 about the outbreak. Snyder has claimed he did not know about Legionnaires’ disease in Flint until January 2016, and, in testimony under oath to Congress, “held a press conference the next day.”
The clear conflict means at least one person is lying – either Hollins or Snyder – under oath about the situation. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) has been in close contact with the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the matter, who recently invited Snyder to clarify his statements and reminded him of the consequences if he’s found to have lied under oath.
Snyder quickly responded that his statement to Congress “was truthful,” but he did not provide any additional documentation to support his claim.
“For these reasons, I ask that you issue a subpoena to Governor Snyder requiring him to produce all of the documents we requested, including but not limited to all of the documents relating to his knowledge of Legionnaires’ disease,” Cummings wrote. “If you choose not to do so, then I ask you to place this matter on the agenda for our next regularly scheduled business meeting so all Committee members will have the opportunity to vote on a motion to subpoena Governor Snyder for the documents and information that he is withholding.”
Kildee, in a statement, responded to Cummings’ request, “Restoring trust for Flint families starts with getting the whole truth. Until Flint families get the whole truth from the governor, they are right to be skeptical of state government officials who created this crisis.
“It is important for the Oversight Committee to continue its pursuit of the truth for Flint families,” Kildee said.
Great Lakes Beacon will continue to update this story as developments occur.