STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL FINALLY COME CLEAN ON COST OF MICROSOFT ANTITRUST SUIT | Citizens Against Government Waste

STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL FINALLY COME CLEAN ON COST OF MICROSOFT ANTITRUST SUIT

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi
August 1, 2000(202) 467-5300

 

After years of stonewalling, the 19 state AGs finally make public their expenditures in the MS suit

(Washington, D.C.) – After years of stonewalling requests from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), members of the media, and other advocacy groups, the 19 state attorneys general (AGs) involved in the Microsoft antitrust suit finally made their expenditures public last week.  They did so not in the interests of disclosure, but to get Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to force Microsoft to reimburse them for their costs.

“Taxpayers are finally getting a glimpse of how much has been spent on the government’s Microsoft misadventure, and I doubt they like what they see,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “Tens of millions of dollars have been wasted on this case – just so a handful of elected ambulance chasers could get their names in print.”

CAGW has long been concerned with the cost of the Microsoft antitrust suit.  In June 1999, CAGW sent out  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the 19 states involved in the suit, plus the District of Columbia.  In only a handful of cases did the state AGs provide detailed financial information.  In most cases, the state AGs claimed that they could not provide expenditure information for ongoing cases.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the state AGs are claiming they spent more than 48,800 hours on the suit, for a total $13.2 million in attorney’s fees.  In addition, the AGs are claiming another $1.54 million in “taxable costs and expenditures.”  This includes charges of $400 an hour for Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal and Iowa AG Tom Miller.

“It seems that the costs of the suit are not quite the ‘state secrets’ several AGs tried to make them out to be,” Schatz stated.  “Of course, when you’re charging the taxpayers of your own state $400 an hour, you have good reason to cloud your expenditures in secrecy.”

It was the states with the biggest expenditures that turned out to be among the least responsive to CAGW’s FOIA request.  New York, which claims the greatest cost with $3.8 million, only confessed to $143,653 in expenditures.  California, which is next highest with $1.4 million, didn’t respond at all.

“The arrogance of these so-called public servants is astounding,” Schatz concluded.  “Attorneys in private practice could not get away with hiding expenses from their clients.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a 600,000 member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

 

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