NERD fund to be shut down, replaced

Michigan Public Radio Network

Governor Rick Snyder said his controversial NERD Fund will be shut down this week. The governor said a new fund will be more open about donors and expenditures.

Its official name is the New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify Fund. Governor Snyder used the fund to pick up costs that he said should not be paid by taxpayers. But the governor would not reveal its donors. Critics and political adversaries said that created too many possible conflicts of interest. The governor said it’s time to move on from that controversy.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback to the point that the NERD Fund has become a distraction in many respects,” he said. “The NERD Fund’s complied with all the laws and regulations required of it. It’s done good things. But, moving forward, we thought it best, the board’s made a decision to wind it down.”

But the governor said past donors will not be revealed.

“I’ve always been clear about, the donors that gave didn’t have an expectation of ever getting disclosed. So that’s the past. But, moving forward, the new fund will be disclosing donors and the information will be posted online,”

Governor Snyder has used the NERD Fund to pay for things he said should not be billed to taxpayers. The governor has used the fund to pay the salary of top aide Richard Baird, who was just recently moved to the public payrolls, as well as some of the living expenses of Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

Copyright 2013, MPRN