LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder has received more than 1,000 gifts since taking office, from a box of Frosted Flakes with his picture to a shield and spear from Kenya – and even a gold Slinky toy.
Most gifts have nominal value and are a way for people to express thanks to Snyder for appearing at an event. There is no requirement that he publicly disclose them, but his staff logs them into a database and released the information to the Detroit Free Press, weeks after a request.
Snyder in 2012 received a Russian vase from Sergei Kuznetsov, then-chief executive of Severstal International, while attending a company event. State economic development officials have helped the company deal with environmental regulators over emissions from its Dearborn steel plant, the Free Press reported.
“I don’t think the gift of a vase is going to change anyone’s mind one way or the other – period,” Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said.
She said Snyder generally views the gifts as belonging to the governor’s office, not him personally. The gifts likely will go to staff members, charities, archives, universities or libraries when he leaves office.
But Snyder may keep a welded sculpture of a brown trout that was made by high school students in the Traverse City area because it represents job training, one of his priorities, Wurfel said.
“He is taking pride in that fish, showing to people the talented students that we have,” said Michael Hill, superintendent of the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.
Stonehenge Fiber Mill in East Jordan processed and dyed the wool used in 2014 Olympic sweaters. The owners, Debbie and Chuck McDermott, said they gave a sweater, worth $395, to Snyder to thank him for his support of agriculture.
Michigan law limits gifts from lobbyists to a value of $58, not including food, travel and lodging, in a one-month period. But the law doesn’t cover non-lobbyists, the Free Press reported.
Snyder has received dozens of T-shirts and hats and nearly 400 books, including Bibles, a Quran and “Calculus for Dummies” from state Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw.
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