MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen’s failing attempt to block health insurance reform through a partisan Republican lawsuit is in direct contrast to repeated criticisms Van Hollen made against former-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager during his 2006 campaign. Van Hollen went so far as to file open records requests about several federal actions to detail the cost of the suits and document his opposition on a now-defunct website LeaveNoSpecialInterestBehind.com.
“Candidate Van Hollen said lawsuits like this threatened our safety, but now that he’s up for re-election Van Hollen has to please his corporate donors, his Republican masters and the tea party extremists,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Van Hollen is a partisan hack, but don’t take our word for it, his words speak for themselves.”
During his 2006 campaign, Van Hollen criticized federal lawsuits undertaken by the Wisconsin Department of Justice from Plan B contraception, No Child Left Behind and clean air regulation. Specific quotes from Van Hollen criticizing federal lawsuits included:
Van Hollen said Lautenschlager is trying to grab headlines with lawsuits [about the federal No Child Left Behind] that have nothing to do with her job. …Lautenschlager’s opponents – Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher and former U.S. attorney J.B. Van Hollen – attacked the brief as another example of a frivolous action Lautenschlager has launched. [Associated Press, 4/14/06]
Peg Lautenschlager continues to engage in politically-motivated lawsuits across the country intended only to curry favor with liberal special interest groups. She wastes precious state resources to advance her outlandish set of priorities. The people of Wisconsin will be better served when we have an attorney general who is focused on fighting real crime here in Wisconsin.” [Van Hollen Release, 4/27/06]
“Furthermore, I can’t believe that our Attorney General is using the state’s resources to fight something like this, when we should be focusing our attention on fighting the spread of methamphetamine, heroin and violent crime.” [Van Hollen Press Release, 3/15/06]
Apparently, Peg Lautenschlager is too busy suing law abiding farmers in northern Wisconsin and fighting the EPA, Department of Education and FDA to actually focus on fighting crime in the highest crime area of the state. [Van Hollen Press Release, 3/31/06]
Lautenschlager Wrong on Plan B Suit …I can’t believe that our Attorney General is using the state’s resources to fight something like this, when there are areas of the state dealing with drug and crime problems that more dearly deserve her attention. This is a horrible use of our tax dollars. …As Attorney General, I would not join such a suit. [JB for AG website, 3/15/06, http://tinyurl.com/yg3da79]
Ross noted one particularly interesting quote from Van Hollen, announcing the filing of an open records request against the former Attorney General:
Van Hollen said Lautenschlager’s recent public support for the Open Records Law should ensure her prompt response to his request. Just this week, Lautenschlager filed suit against a Republican legislator alleging he took too long to respond to one of her requests. “I would expect to receive the requested information within ten business days,” Van Hollen said. “That is if her office isn’t too busy filing more frivolous, partisan nuisance lawsuits.” [Van Hollen Press Release, 5/9/06]
One Wisconsin Now filed two open records requests Wednesday with Van Hollen’s office to obtain records showing how much Van Hollen was pressured by Republicans inside and outside of Wisconsin to try and join the federal lawsuit against the Affordable Health Care for America Act signed into law Tuesday by President Obama.
“Even before we find out how many Republicans in and out of Wisconsin were conspiring with Van Hollen to file this lawsuit, he has no credibility given this precedent,” said Ross. “If there was such thing as ‘hypocrisy police,’ Van Hollen would already have been frog-marched out of the DOJ.”