MADISON (WKOW) -- An e-mail exchange between Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's office and a Republican campaign group draws fire from critics.
Remember last month when Van Hollen announced he wanted to sue to block health care reform? At the time liberal groups and even Gov. Jim Doyle accused him of playing party politics.
They say that an e-mail released yesterday only proves their point.
"The genesis of this lawsuit was rooted in Republican partisan politics," said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a liberal advocacy group based in Madison.
Ross was first to get the e-mail through an open records request. He says it shows a coordinated effort between attorneys general across the country, all orchestrated by the Republican party.
"I think it's particularly inappropriate for the Wisconsin Attorney general, whose office is financed by taxpayers, to seek counsel from a Republican campaign outfit," Ross said.
The e-mail is from the political director of the Republican State Leadership Committee, based in Virginia. According to its web site the RSLC is the "largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and is the only national organization whose mission is electing Republicans to the office of attorney general, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and legislator."
In his e-mail Ben Cannatti notes that Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Raymond Taffora is seeking details about angles being explored on the health care bill. He steers Taffora to Bryan Stirling of the South Carolina attorney general's office, who, he says, was riding point on coordinating efforts.
The e-mail was sent on March 22, three days before Van Hollen announced that he intended to sue the federal government to block health care reform. In explaining his decision he said he was not influenced by the Republican party or anybody else.
Van Hollen never filed his lawsuit because neither the governor, the Senate or the Assembly gave him permission. But that could change this November, depending on who replaces Doyle.
Today, during a campaign stop in Madison, Van Hollen again denied he was influenced by party politics.
"We did as we always do," he said. "We made sure that we studied the law, we looked at legal precedent, researched the constitution, and we made our decision, or request, completely based upon the law."
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Program Manager Jessica Miller at 608-661-2794. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.