August 6, 2021
August 6, 2021
Lansing, Mich., August 6, 2021 – Attorney General Dana Nessel has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on private lawyers to investigate and prosecute the Flint water case. Nessel has criticized the practice of hiring outside help in the past, though it is unclear what, or how much, prompted the Attorney General’s change of heart. The Detroit News reports:
“Supporters of the nine former state and city officials being prosecuted by Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud’s team have cried foul over the employment of the private lawyers because Nessel criticized her predecessor, Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, for ‘farming out’ the prosecution.”
Despite Nessel stating that she has “firewalled” the legal team for the Flint investigation, many close ties exist between those individuals and the Attorney General herself. The legal team headed by Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud is composed of Nessel’s campaign donors and former business partners. As we previously reported, the team includes Nessel’s former business partner and campaign donor Chris Kessel. The Detroit News continues:
“Hammoud also hired private attorneys Michael Ajami, Robert Ianni, Alexandra Peterson and Molly Kettler,”… “Peterson’s hourly rate was set at $40 an hour with a budget ceiling of $60,000 that was increased to $120,000 before she was hired full-time. Ajami’s hourly rate was about $50 an hour with a budget ceiling for $60,000 that was raised to $120,000 in his most recent contract.”
According to Nessel’s campaign finance reports, Michael Ajami, Molly Kettler, and Alexandra Peterson are all campaign donors to Nessel’s campaign.
Even more alarming is that the Solicitor General, Fadwa Hammoud, helped Nessel fundraise for her campaign only weeks ago.
“Attorney General Dana Nessel is abusing the power of her office to advance her own political pursuits,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “For years, Nessel vowed to fight for justice for the people of Flint and despite pledges to firewall herself from the investigation, she has put together a wall made of swiss cheese and a legal team composed of business partners and campaign donors.”