Is Detroit’s new emergency manager a Democrat? Let’s follow the cash

Handout photo of Kevyn OrrKevyn Orr, who is widely believed to be Gov. Snyder’s pick for Detroit’s emergency manager, once hosted an extravagant 80th birthday party for Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

A partner in Washington D.C. with Jones Day, one of the county’s biggest law firms, Orr donated $5,000 to President Obama’s campaign in 2012 and $1,250 to the Democratic National Committee in 2006, according to

Since 2006, Orr donated about $15,000 to Democratic candidates for federal office. His lone contribution to a Republican went to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, of Ohio. Both are graduates of University of Michigan Law School.

While the donations are relatively small, they show a pattern of supporting – at least financially – Democratic candidates.

Some were concerned the Republican governor would appoint someone from his own party.

Not that it mattes, said Rev. Charles Williams II, head of the Michigan chapter of New York-based Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network of community activists.

“His appointment eviscerates the vote of African Americans,” said Williams II, one of the leading forces behind demonstrations against an EM. “The city does not need an emergency manager. We need to protect democracy in Detroit.”

Snyder said the city is within a month or two of running out of cash to pay employees, including cops and firefighters. The city also is unable to manage its enormous long-term debt, Snyder contends.

The governor is to announce the appointment of an emergency manager today at 2 p.m. in Detroit.

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Steve Neavling, who lives on the city’s east side, is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Neavling explores corruption, Detroit’s unsung heroes and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.