Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
February 27, 2001(202) 467-5300


Washington, D.C. – Following the U.S. Court of Appeals hearing today, which exposed deep holes in the government’s case against Microsoft, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) cited the state attorneys general as the root cause of the continued massive waste of taxpayer money on the lengthy litigation.  Led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose state has already spent more than 3,200 hours on the case, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose state has spent more than 2,800 hours on the litigation, the state attorneys general are committed to the case to the bitter end.  Blumenthal said the states would “continue to maintain that the district court was correct in saying that a drastic, far-reaching remedy was absolutely necessary.”  In other words, it’s breakup or bust all the way to the Supreme Court.

“Taxpayers are already on the hook in this litigation for at least $35 million at the federal and state level.  Investors have watched their portfolios nosedive since the district court decision to breakup Microsoft last June.  Every poll shows that at least two-thirds of Americans believe the case is a waste of time and money.  The question is how much more time and money will be wasted,” CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz said.  “The intransigence of the 19 state attorneys general blew up a settlement last year, and it appears they will simply not give up regardless of what is decided by the court of appeals.”

“The need to justify the time and effort spent on the case is clearly a factor in the win-at-any-cost scenario for the state attorneys general,” Schatz said.  “They have requested reimbursement of more than $15 million from Microsoft through the district court, so a settlement would not provide the same amount of money as a final decision in their favor.  Instead of letting the waste of taxpayers resources go on, the state attorneys general should agree to end the case should the court of appeals overturn the breakup and other aspects of the district court’s decision.  It’s time for them to solve real problems that affect the consumers and taxpayers in their states.”

Based on the court of appeals’ questioning regarding the conduct of the trial and the extra-judicial activities of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, it appears unlikely Jackson will remain involved in the case.  An appeal to the Supreme Court and a retrial or remand to the district court with a new judge would add millions of dollars to the cost of the protracted litigation.

“Before consumers and taxpayers suffer further damage to their pocketbooks and portfolios, the state attorneys general should reconsider their end-game strategy.  CAGW will continue to mobilize taxpayers throughout the nation to demand an end to this wasteful litigation,” Schatz concluded.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with more than a million members and supporters, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government.


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