press release


News from Progress Michigan 

March 27, 2015

Contact: Sam Inglot,

Gov. Snyder Pardons Wealthy Lawyer of GOP Mega Donor

Pardon shows governor only cares about the rich and well-connected

MICHIGAN — A report from the Associated Press this morning proves that Gov. Rick Snyder favors the wealthy and the well connected. The AP reported that Gov. Snyder used a rare pardon to erase a drunk driving conviction for a wealthy lawyer who works for a billionaire donor to the Republican Party. Snyder had previously appointed the lawyer to serve on a state economic board.

Russ Marlan of the Michigan Department of Corrections said Gov. Snyder was interested in “potential pardons where the conviction was inhibiting them from advancing economically or was preventing them from getting a job or was preventing them from financial freedom — from moving past some obstacle in their life,” according to the AP.

The attorney, Alan Gocha Jr., makes $250,000 a year. According to the AP, “Gocha said the conviction was a ‘black cloud’ that slowed deals with Wall Street bankers and limited international travel.”

“Marlan’s comments and Governor Snyder’s actions prove that this administration is out of touch and out of control when it comes to protecting the wealthy in the State of Michigan,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “If the Governor cared about people who were economically impacted by the judicial system he would encourage the legislature to make significant changes to our sentencing guidelines and embrace programs like ‘ban the box’ which make it easier for former felons to get a job after paying their debt to society – not simply parole a lawyer who makes $250,000 a year. Clearly, this Governor is far more interested in protecting the wealthy than promoting real change.”

Gocha also happens to work for 5-hour Energy. A recent report showed that the owner of 5-hour Energy has given millions of dollars to Republican causes over the last few years, including the Republican Governors Association.

“Whether it’s pardons or public policy, the Snyder agenda is clear: the rich come out on top,” Scott stated.


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