Governor Rick Snyder’s chief of staff dismissed Flint people “looking for someone to blame.”

The revelation came in a 274-page batch of emails released on Wednesday to shed more light on when Snyder’s administration became aware of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and how it responded. The emails were released in response to intense scrutiny on the health disaster and amidst calls for Snyder to resign.

The emails show his administration attempting to downplay fears of lead exposure from Flint’s water supply and avoid blame. Dennis Muchmore, Snyder’s chief of staff, relied heavily on an analysis that subsequent reports proved wrong. Flint had lead in its water when officials insisted it was safe.

In one email to Snyder, dated September 26, Muchmore described the “anti everything group turning to the lead content.” 

“Of course, some of the Flint people respond by looking for someone to blame instead of working to reduce anxiety,” he wrote, stressing that it wasn’t the state’s problem. “We can’t tolerate increased lead levels in any event, but it’s really the city’s water system that needs to deal with it.”



In an email sent the day before, Muchmore similarly shifted the blame elsewhere. “[The Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Community Health] feel that some are taking the very sensitive issue of children’s exposure to lead and trying to turn it into a political football” by claiming the state is responsible.

Muchmore said, “I can’t figure out why the state is responsible.”