As ThinkProgress has documented, numerous Republican state attorneys general have engaged in frivolous lawsuits based on the theory that the recently-passed health care law is unconstitutional and thus should be repealed. While many of these officials are either up for re-election or running for higher office, they maintain that their lawsuit is not politically motivated but is instead based on a “purely legal constitutional argument.”
Yet today, the progressive organization One Wisconsin Now revealed that it has obtained an e-mail showing a “direct line” of communication between the office of Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen (R) and the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), indicating that the two jointly coordinated the state’s health care lawsuit.
One Wisconsin Now’s press release explains that the e-mail exchange, which occurred just days before Van Hollen filed his health care lawsuit, shows that Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Raymond Taffora solicited information from the RSLC’s Political Director relating to filing a health care lawsuit. The RSLC responded by suggesting that the Wisconsin’s Attorney General office talk to South Carolina Deputy Attorney General Bryan Stirling (R), who is also CC’d in the e-mail:
The emails One Wisconsin Now obtained indicate [Wisconsin Dep. AG] Taffora had contacted [RSLC Political Director] Cannatti looking for lawsuit information. Cannatti’s response, which was sent at 9:09 the morning immediately following passage of the health reform bill, suggested Taffora talk to Bryan Stirling, the Deputy Attorney General of South Carolina, who Cannatti said was “coordinating efforts” between the Republican Attorneys General filing the lawsuit. [...]
Van Hollen’s office is refusing to release the full extent of email communications regarding the potential lawsuit requested March 24 by One Wisconsin Now. The request sought documents and communications between the Attorney General’s office about the potential lawsuit dating back to January 1, 2010. Van Hollen claims the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege, though it is clearly not the citizens of Wisconsin, his only true clients, that Van Hollen is trying to protect.
The e-mail, which can be read in full here, makes it clear that the Republican Party is openly coordinating its health care repeal campaign with Wisconsin’s Attorney General and possibly also South Carolina’s Attorney General. A spokesman for Van Hollen has told the press that the e-mail controversy is “much ado about nothing” and that the correspondence between the Attorney General’s office and the RLSC is “just nuts and bolts communication.” (HT: Crooks and Liars)