Thursday, May 21, 2009

AG Cox: Above the Law?

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox thinks he should enforce the laws on the rest of us, but not follow them himself.

During a hearing on HB4799 before the House Judiciary Committee, Cox testified that money he obtains in lawsuits are not "state funds."

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer isn't standing for that.

"Testifying that settlement proceeds from lawsuits brought by the Attorney General are not state funds shows the arrogance of Mike Cox and proves that he believes he is not accountable to Michigan residents," Brewer said. "The Attorney General is not above the law despite what he may think."

House Bill 4799 would prevent the Attorney General from using lawsuit settlements as a private slush fund to use as he wants without transparency or accountability. Cox’s Chief Deputy testified in opposition to the bill, claiming that the use of settlement money should not be regulated or disclosed because, "these are not state funds."

"There is no better example of why this legislation is needed than Cox’s abuse of settlement funds from the Countrywide Financial lawsuit where Cox consulted with a campaign donor, GOP leader Peter Secchia, about how to use the funds," Brewer told the committee.

"Does Cox have a 'pay to play' scheme in which campaign donors, political allies, and friends benefit from the settlement proceeds?" asked Brewer. "Is he making political kickbacks using this slush fund? The voters and taxpayers have a right to know."

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