Once Again, Van Hollen Ignores Internet Sex Crimes

Despite Budget Hike, Van Hollen Again Declines to Join Multi-State Anti-Internet Sex Crime Efforts

MADISON, Wis. — For the second time in a year, Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen has declined to join a multi-state effort by law enforcement officials and fellow Attorneys General to combat internet sex crimes. Van Hollen defended his unwillingness by claiming he does not release details of ongoing investigations — something directly contradicted by repeated press releases from his office about the handful of improper votes cast in 2008.

“JB Van Hollen continues to be the most partisan attorney general Wisconsin has ever had,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Once again, he refuses to join other Attorneys General in prosecuting internet sex crimes, leaving Wisconsin children potentially exposed to harm.”

It was revealed this week Van Hollen will not join Attorneys General from 45 other states in efforts to stop advertisements on BackPage.com, which the Attorneys General deemed a “hub” for human trafficking. The Attorneys General action was sparked after authorities found a 15-year-old Wisconsin runaway was forced into prostitution and advertised on the site.

“Van Hollen’s department saw a $1 million increase and 11 new positions under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget specifically for investigating internet sex crimes,” said Ross. “For him to ignore this is an affront to taxpayers financing his fancy office and team of personal aides,” said Ross.

Van Hollen’s action comes almost a year to the date he refused to sign on to a letter authored by 17 state Attorneys General calling for Craigslist to voluntarily remove its adult services section, which law enforcement authorities say “cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking.”

The Republican Attorney General told one news outlet his office has “a policy of not publicly announcing the details of ongoing investigations.” A review of Van Hollen’s Department of Justice website; however, shows well over a dozen times, Van Hollen sent out press releases about his pursuit and prosecution of those accused of improperly voting in the 2008 election.

To date, Van Hollen has been able to document just over a dozen potentially improper votes cast out of 3 million Wisconsinites who went to the polls in November 2008.

“Most offensive though is his reckless disregard for the harm to children and the need for a multi-state, multi-jurisdictional strategy to combat exploitation of the children via the internet,” said Ross. “Perhaps if the perverts who target our children online tried to vote, Van Hollen would get involved.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.