Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, under intense fire for his handling of the Flint water emergency, has hired an out-of-state public relations firm that specializes in crisis management.
Mercury LLC, which bills itself as a "high stakes public strategy firm," said in a statement that it is not being paid with state funds.
"Due to the intense media demand and severity of this issue, we are assisting the Governor’s team so that they are able to dedicate their focus and resources to helping the people of Flint," Mercury said in an email.
There was no immediate word from Snyder's office on the scope of Mercury's duties or who is paying the firm, which has offices from New York to London, but none in Michigan.
A Mercury vice president sent out an email Friday with links to news stories that highlighted failures by the Environmental Protection Agency in Flint and contained positive coverage of Snyder.
Snyder appeared Friday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and blamed "career civil service people" for "terrible decisions" that led to thousands of children being exposed to lead for months after Flint's water supply was switched to save money.
"We have to live with the consequences," he said. "They work for me so I accept that responsibility, and we're going to fix this problem."