Van Hollen Abandons Own Lawsuit, Finally Ending Costly Political Stunt

Jan 14, 2009

Attorney General Must Now Provide Full
Account of Lawsuit Costs to Taxpayers

MADISON – Attorney General JB Van Hollen today abandoned the appeal of the politically-motivated lawsuit he lost against the Government Accountability Board, finally putting an end to his months-long political stunt that cost Wisconsin taxpayers thousands of dollars and threatened to disenfranchise thousands of voters.

“By giving up on his lawsuit, Van Hollen has confirmed what we have said all along, that this was nothing more than a baseless political stunt,” said Joe Wineke, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair. “Van Hollen failed to sway the election to please his bosses in the McCain campaign and now he’s finally coming to grips with the fact that he lost his battle to disenfranchise voters.”

Today, the GAB agreed on a process to perform the same cross-checks the lawsuit sought on voter registrations dating back to 2006. Van Hollen’s appeal, which was redundantly seeking the same voter checks that the GAB will conduct, was baseless before and now is completely moot.

“Now that the Attorney General has abandoned his lawsuit, he must provide a full account of costs associated with the suit,” said Wineke. “We need to make sure voters remember how much of their hard-earned money the Attorney General wasted trying to manipulate the election and please his Republican bosses.”

As state chair of the McCain Campaign, Van Hollen abused his authority as Attorney General and misused his taxpayer-funded office for partisan purposes by filing his lawsuit to disenfranchise voters and sway the election in favor of his candidate. 

Just before the fall election, Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi dismissed Van Hollen’s lawsuit, finding that nothing in state or federal law requires a data match for the right to vote. Judge Sumi agreed with the DPW that the cross-checks have nothing to do with voter eligibility, and that innocent mistakes and typos cannot be exploited as a way to block one of the fundamental rights of our democracy – our right to vote. 

Furthermore, the judge found Van Hollen did not have the authority to bring the suit in the first place.