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WEDNESDAY, April 28,2010
Group Demands Access to Cox Notes on Opposition to Health Care Reforms
FOIA request comes after Wisconsin AG tied to partisan political machine
LANSING – Citizens group Progress Michigan today announced it has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get access to communications to and from Attorney General Mike Cox on his efforts to overturn national health care reforms. The Progress Michigan request comes after Wisconsin’s Attorney General’s office was linked to political operatives coordinating an effort to defeat national health care reform.
“The citizens of Michigan have a right to know whether their attorney is listening to the people or to partisan political consultants and health industry lobbyists,” said Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz. “Attorney General Mike Cox should come clean and reveal all his communications related to his lawsuit to block federal health care reforms that can help bring relief to more than a million Michigan citizens and their families.”
The Progress Michigan FOIA request asks for “access to copies of all correspondence and other documents in possession of the Michigan Attorney General’s office related to the filing by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox of a lawsuit against the United States challenging the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.”
The Progress Michigan request goes on to ask for “any email or other correspondence, electronic or otherwise, as well as all other documents not specifically exempted from disclosure which contain information related to Michael A. Cox, Attorney General et al v United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al assigned as case no 3:10-cv-91 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. This request would include any emails or other documents involving communications with Ben Cannatti, political director, Republican State Leadership Committee, or the Republican State Leadership Committee, or any other political entities.”
The request comes after Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s office was linked to political consultants working for the Republican State Leadership Committee. RSLC is a 527 political organization funded in part by health industry corporations and has spent more than $57 million to elect Republican candidates since 2002. The Wisconsin communications showed e-mail traffic that connected Van Hollen’s office to RSLC and other Republican attorneys general working to overturn federal health care reforms. Cannatti, mentioned in Progress Michigan’s FOIA request, is the political director of the RSLC and is shown to have communicated with Wisconsin’s deputy attorney general, Ray Taffora, just days before Van Hollen sought to file a lawsuit against the health care reforms. Thus far, Wisconsin’s governor and legislature have not given Van Hollen the go-ahead to join Cox and other other AGs in their suit.
Cox has five business days to respond to Progress Michigan’s FOIA request, which was dated and delivered today, April 27.
For information on the Wisconsin FOIA disclosure: http://www.onewisconsinnow.org/press/261/van-hollen-documents-show-doj-gop-coordination-on-health-reform-lawsuit-4-27-2010