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Why Does Cooch Hate Sunshine?

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Why does Ken Cuccinelli hate opening the shades and letting the sun shine into his office?

Records that would document the time, resources and meetings involved in the lawsuit that the Virginia attorney general’s office filed against federal health-care legislation either don’t exist or are classified as confidential “working papers” of the agency, a ranking deputy said yesterday.

Stephen R. McCullough, senior appellate counsel for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, was responding to a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act filed by Democratic Party officials and several media outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Yesterday, Cuccinelli issued a release saying that the work of the suit was being done in-house and said costs would be minimal beyond the $350 fee to file the suit in U.S. District Court.

That’s right, Cooch is seriously claiming that a lawsuit, taking hundreds if not thousands of hours of lawyers’ time to prepare and argue, costs just $350. Of course, as we all know, lawsuits cost a lot of money. For instance, OJ Simpson spent $3-$6 million on his criminal case alone. Another case, this one by the state of Ohio to pursue a civil case against investment adviser Mark D. Lay, cost taxpayers $1.8 million. Yet Cooch claims his lawsuit against the federal government will cost Virginia taxpayers just $350. That’s not just absurdly false, it’s wildly insulting to the intelligence of Virginia residents. No wonder why Cooch hates sunshine.

  • WestEndVoter

    This suit will definitely “cost” more than $350, but in terms of labor–a sunk cost for the government–this suit could ultimately use upwards of 100K in government resources which definitely could be used elsewhere.  This is not a complicated civil case such Simpson’s and Lay’s.  Rather, it will involve academics exchanging arguments in briefs, which will pretty much parrot arguments in journals (and blog posts) already.

    The major expense in civil cases is typically in discovery and expert witness preparation.  Unless Cuccinelli really wants to get creative, I don’t see high expenses in either of these areas.  At best, I can contemplate the Commonwealth retaining a constitutional law expert to testify, but owing to the high profile nature of this case, it is likely that such an expert would work at a reasonable rate, or even pro bono.

    Whether 100K is an acceptable amount to spend depends on your clients and their desires.  Are the majority of Virginians in favor of HCR, or are they not?  Is it worth spending tax dollars to protect the perceived rights of those opposed to HCR?

    I personally am in the camp that HCR did not go far enough, and was structured incorrectly in that it did not provide a true government healthcare option. I also think that the HCR-lite that was passed is better than no HCR.

    That being said, I am OK with Virginia spending a few bucks (in the grand scheme of things) to defend the perceived rights of a portion of its Citizens.  I, my family, and my neighbors have been the beneficiary of tens of thousands of government-provided assistance on environmental matters, so I can’t easily begrudge the State for similarly defending what other Citizens perceive are their Constitutional rights.  

    But Lowell is right, Cuccinelli should be more upfront as to what the suit really costs.  My neighbors and I could definitely find other work for those government lawyers.  

  • TomPaine

    conclude that Cooch really pulled it out of his nether regions with only a minimum of toilet paper used!