Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pennsylvania Appropriations Chair threatens to cut off funds to AG's office

The chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has challenged Attorney General Tom Corbett's decision to join the multi-state lawsuit to block the new health care law, and threatened to cut off all state funding to the AG's office.  From Nathan A. Benefield at Big Government:
In a response to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett’s decision to join 13 other states in filing a lawsuit against the federal health care legislation, PA House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans threatened to “do whatever it takes” to thwart the AG’s efforts. Incensed, Evans even went so far as to say he would be willing to cut off all state appropriations to the Office of the Attorney General to prevent Corbett from fighting this legislation. Here is the key quote from Evans:

We are accountable to the voters of this state. He [Corbett] cannot think that he can do whatever he wants with taxpayer money. No one can protect him from being accountable.

For starters, Evans should think about following his own advice, as he is one of the most notorious proponents of “WAMs” in the Pennsylvania Legislature, using taxpayer dollars going to fund his own community group and a failed nightclub venture.

Second, President Obama, Gov. Rendell, and others used far more taxpayer funding – with no objection from Evans – on their public relations campaign on health care reform than any lawsuit by the AG would cost. Tax dollars were used for everything from rallies to newsletters to press conferences.

Furthermore, Evans’ threat seems a clear violation of the separation of powers, and threatens the independence of the Attorney General. Indeed, it seems particularly curious, coming a mere two days after Corbett secured a conviction against Evans’ former House Democrat colleague Mike Veon, and is continuing his investigation and prosecution of House Democrats.
If you haven't heard of it, WAM is an acronym for "walking around money." 

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell followed up a verbal appeal with a written one telling Corbett, whom he himself described as the favorite to be the next governor, to drop the health care lawsuit:
Mr. Rendell made a verbal appeal to Mr. Corbett on Monday not to join a lawsuit filed by attorneys general of 12 others states, all but one of them Republican. But on Tuesday Mr. Corbett said he is indeed going to be a plaintiff, arguing that the new federal law could cost Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay more than $1 billion in extra Medicaid costs for lower-income people without health insurance.

Mr. Corbett also argued that the federal government is "overreaching" its powers and violating the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reserves many rights for states. Mr. Corbett charged the Obama administration is improperly inserting itself into matters of interstate commerce where it doesn't belong and, basically, telling people to buy a product -- health insurance -- whether they want to or not.

The lawsuit by Mr. Corbett and the others "is focused on the principle of defending the Constitution," said Corbett aide Kevin Harley.

But that didn't stop Mr. Rendell, who leaves office in January, from changing his protest from verbal to written on Thursday. He sent a letter to Mr. Corbett, one of two Republicans who is running for governor in the May primary, asking him to withdraw from the suit. He said the federal affordable health care act "will have an enormous positive impact on the lives of every single Pennsylvanian."

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see that President Obama is following through on his promise of transparency, and bi-partisan action...