Monday, June 05, 2006

Is Van Hollen Wasting Taxpayer Dollars?

In an apparent attempt to get noticed by Republican primary voters, Attorney General candidate J. B. Van Hollen filed what appear to be frivolous charges against the current AG with the State Ethics Board.

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:

  1. As they have been in the past, they were a part of this lawsuit and likely incurred expenses for advocating in this matter.
  2. 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.
  3. The disbursements of these funds were overseen by a federal judge.
  4. These are not taxpayer or state dollars.
  5. 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.
How ironic that J. B. Van Hollen is so concerned about this drug companies money and where it went, yet at the same time he seems to be wasting taxpayers money with these seemingly frivolous charges. Now the State Ethics Board will have to review the entire situation and make a ruling. All on the taxpayer's dime.

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.

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