Special prosecutor attends congressional Flint hearing

Detroit News staff
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Flint residents weren’t the only ones who traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to sit through Tuesday’s congressional hearings over their city’s lead-tainted water crisis.

Sitting in the front row and in the view of television cameras was attorney Todd Flood, the special prosecutor hired by Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate how the city’s water became contaminated with toxic lead.

Flood, who is being paid $400 an hour to lead Schuette’s investigation, was tightlipped about what he was doing there.

“I can’t get into it right now,” Flood told reporters. “I wish I could, but I can’t.”

When a Detroit News reporter pressed why he was attending the hearing in person, Flood replied: “I think that’s obvious.”

The hearing was televised on C-SPAN 3, making the reason for Flood’s presence less than obvious.

“I think it was obvious for me to be here today,” Flood continued. “It was illuminating on a lot of different levels. I really can’t get into it, though.”

Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely also couldn’t comment at length.

“The special counsel is running an aggressive investigation and is gathering information wherever he goes,” Bitely said in an email Wednesday.

Playing politics on screen

State Rep. Leslie Love may be poised to jump from the Michigan House to the silver screen. The Detroit Democrat confirmed this week on Facebook that she played the mayor of Metropolis during filming for the soon-to-be released “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“Can’t wait to see if my scenes made it into the movie,” Love wrote Wednesday in a message attached to a picture of herself and actor Laurence Fishburne, who plays the editor-in-chief of the fictional Daily Planet newspaper. “Nonetheless, it was fun filming and I’m proud that it was filmed in Detroit!”

Love previously served as director of theater operations at Marygrove College, where she also worked as an adjunct professor.

She may not be the only Michigan politician with a cameo in the film. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has said she was on hand during filming at Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, but the Democrat did not make clear whether she will appear on screen.

Sanders spends big in Mich.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders burned through more than $7 for every vote he received in Michigan’s presidential primary on television advertising, outspending Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by more than $770,000.

Sanders spent more than $4.2 million on TV ads in Michigan in his upset victory, according to data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Clinton spent the second most of any presidential candidate or committee on TV ads, plowing nearly $3.5 million into her losing effort in Michigan.

According to the ad tracking firm Kantar Media, Clinton’s ads aired about 7,000 times, while Sanders peppered the airwaves with 8,400 spots at a cost of $7.12 per vote he received.

The campaigns on both sides of the aisle and two super political action committees spent a combined $10.6 million on TV advertising in the run-up to Michigan’s March 8 primary.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump poured $480,236 into a late TV advertising campaign, according to Kantar Media’s data analyzed by the Michigan group.

For Trump, his spending amounts to a little less than $1 for each of the 482,825 votes he received in winning the Republican primary with 36.5 percent of the vote.

Conservative Solutions, a super political action committee supporting Republican Marco Rubio, spent $1.57 million on ads at a cost of $12.81 for every vote the U.S. senator from Florida received in Michigan as he finished last.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas spent $1,112 on ads in Michigan and finished second to Trump in the primary with about 24.9 percent of the vote.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished third in Michigan with 8,389 fewer votes than Cruz and got about 24.2 percent of the statewide vote.

Kasich’s campaign and an allied super PAC, New Day for America, spent a combined $942,427 on TV ads, amounting to $2.94 for every vote he received.

Pundit poll: Clinton will win

Donald Trump may have won Michigan’s Republican presidential primary, but the state’s political insiders predict he’ll lose the general election here in a matchup against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Pundit Poll, a new survey of 100 political hacks, flaks and lobbyists, voted overwhelmingly this week in Clinton’s favor, with 77 percent saying the former U.S. secretary of state will carry Michigan in the general election and capture the state’s 16 electoral votes.

No Republican presidential candidate has won Michigan since 1988, so the general election is probably Clinton’s to lose (barring some unforeseen derailment of her increasingly likely nomination).

“The campaign chair of the #NeverTrump movement appears to be Hillary Clinton,” Republican consultant Matt Resch said in a statement.

Resch’s firm, Resch Strategies, is conducting The Pundit Poll with Denno Research, an East Lansing polling firm.

Oakland Co. exec on the air

Detroit Superstation 910 AM is cautiously branching out from its steady talk show diet of liberal Democratic politicians and community activists by adding Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Patterson makes this debut Thursday at noon, according to a station press release. The longtime conservative Republican has a history of making unvarnished comments about suburban-Detroit relations, even as he has backed regional initiatives such as the Regional Transit Authority in Metro Detroit.

Unlike disbarred judge Wade “No Shame in My Game” McCree, Patterson is not getting sole control of the microphone. He will be joined for the two-hour debut and future Friday noon, two-hour broadcasts by liberal radio host Nancy Skinner.

Patterson will be a lone ray of political diversity at a station whose line-up includes McCree, former Kwame Kilpatrick Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, former Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, State Sen. Bert Johnson of Highland Park, Detroit City Council member Mary Sheffield, former Detroit City Council member Joann Watson, Detroit school board member Elena Herrada and former Detroit City Corporation Council Krystal Crittendon, who was fired by the mayor and council for fighting the city’s financial stability agreement with the state in court.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting, Melissa Nann Burke, Chad Livengood and Richard Burr

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