Monday, January 15, 2007

Van Hollen Did What?

J.B. Van Hollen is getting off to an interesting start as Wisconsin Attorney General. One of his first actions after taking office was to falsely take credit for eliminating the position of solicitor general:

Van Hollen said he hasn't made any major policy changes yet, but
that he has eliminated the position of solicitor general, as promised
in the campaign. The job coordinated legal matters with attorneys
general in other states. Van Hollen said he would continue to work
with other states but said there was no need to have a specific
position to do that.

There's just one little problem with Van Hollen's claim. There was no solicitor general's position for him to eliminate. Peg Lautenschlager got rid of it months ago.

There's some interesting background to this issue. During his campaign Van Hollen used the solicitor general's position as an example of unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy that he was going to clean up, and implied that he was going to save taxpayers' money by doing so.

But solicitor general was basically just a formal title, not a funded position, and while promising to eliminate it might have made a good campaign sound bite, doing so neither saves any money nor reduces the workload within the DOJ. This was simply a baffle 'em with bullshit issue that Van Hollen knew he could get away with because the public didn't have a clue.

It's unfortunate that one of our new AG's first actions is to fib about something as silly as this. I understand he wants to show he's keeping his campaign promises, particularly since many of them, such as reducing the backlog in the crime lab, are largely beyond his control. But I'd be much more impressed by an honest AG than one willing to lie to score cheap political points.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice catch Reform-Dem!

Will be interesting to see if J.B. fesses up on this one. Of course our pathetic media will probably let him slide.