How much will WI taxpayers pay for Van Hollen’s lawsuit gimmick?

Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen is doing what conservatives do best these days — wasting taxpayer dollars performing totally empty gestures in an effort to gin up the Tea Party base.

See yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Van Hollen is pushing hard for Wisconsin to join the multi-state lawsuit against the historic federal health insurance reform bill signed into law last year. Set aside for one second that overturning the law would cost billions, and bring back pre-existing conditions, arbitrary lifetime limits on coverage and a whole host of other crapulence, and joining the lawsuit at this point is still a big fat loser for Wisconsin taxpayers.

Van Hollen has assigned two state attorneys to work on the lawsuit and of course won’t say how much that and the other costs associated with the suit are, merely claiming they’re “minimal.” Um, yeah. Well since Wisconsin is facing a $3 billion budget deficit, shouldn’t we be looking at spending our limited state resources wisely? And shouldn’t someone be asking: What does Wisconsin gain from joining the suit?

Van Hollen hasn’t yet explained that yet, simply saying that Wisconsin joining the suit “makes a difference.” As  Illusory Tenant so adroitly pointed out, most of the real work on the lawsuit has already been done by other states (Florida, Virginia) who’s leaders were more willing than our now ex-Governor Doyle to flush the taxpayers money down the toilet chasing the Tea Party’s fantasy. I’m struggling to see what “difference” throwing Wisconsin taxpayer dollars at this suit will do.

But let’s not forget where this all got started in the first place.

Back in April of last year, when Van Hollen originally tried to join the suit, One Wisconsin Now exposed coordination between Van Hollen’s top deputy at DOJ and the Republican State Leadership Committee, a 527 political organization, funded in part by health industry corporations that spent over $57 million to elect GOPer candidates since 2002. Van Hollen got a $10,000 contribution from the RSLC in 2009.

We obtained emails from Van Hollen’s office that indicated then-Deputy Attorney General Ray Taffora contacted the RSLC looking for information and direction on the lawsuit, and got a response from RSLC the morning after the historic health care reform billed passed.

Check out the emails at:

Of course, Van Hollen didn’t honor the full open records request, so we’ll never know the full extent of the partisan motives and behind-the-scenes pressure from the corporate health care delivery industry at the core of the lawsuit against health care reform. Governor Doyle and the Democratically-led Legislature had the foresight to stop Van Hollen from following this fool’s errand; Walker and Van Hollen would rather score political points on the taxpayer’s dime.

# # #

As A Project Of A Better Wisconsin Together, We're Fighting For A Wisconsin With Equal Economic Opportunity For All