Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
March 1, 2001(202) 467-5300


Washington, D.C. – After the first day of the Microsoft trial showed deep holes in the government’s case, 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 2,872 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 case 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 office of Attorney General Bill Lockyer has already spent 4422.5 hours and has requested reimbursement of $1,392,100.00 from the district court should the government win the case.  “This 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.  “A settlement would not provide the same amount of money as a final decision in their favor.  Instead of letting the waste go on, Attorney General Bill Lockyer should lead the way to end the case should the court of appeals overturn the breakup and other aspects of the district court’s decision.  It’s time to move on to solve real problems that affect the consumers and taxpayers of California.”

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 that Jackson will remain involved in the case.  An appeal to the Supreme Court and a re-trial or remand to the district court with a new judge would add to the time and 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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