This whole thing stems from a lawsuit against a drug company, which eventually agreed on a settlement with the plaintiffs in the case. An advocacy group called Wisconsin Citizen Action was an organizational plaintiff in the case and ended up getting a small piece of the settlement money to support their work in healthcare policy. J. B. Van Hollen apparently saw a political opportunity because this group has endorsed candidates that hold positions consistent with their values. Apparently Van Hollen believes that this is a good reason to attack the person that holds the job that he desires.
Shortly after this issue first surfaced, I posted my case for why Wisconsin Citizen Action deserved these funds. I will not go into that detail now but will list some of the following points:
- As they have been in the past, they were a part of this lawsuit and likely incurred expenses for advocating in this matter.
- WCA has a seven year history of advocacy and work in the area of healthcare, which fits the criteria given for those organizations that should receive the funds.
- The disbursements of these funds were overseen by a federal judge.
- These are not taxpayer or state dollars.
- Although endorsing candidates is one facet of their overall operation, they have made it clear that these funds will not be used for any political purpose.
I suspect that the State Ethics Board will not come to the same conclusion as the Van Hollen campaign. If I am correct, then I would challenge J.B. Van Hollen to reimburse taxpayers for the funds it took to have the Ethics Board look into the matter in the first place.