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Budget strings on McKenna loosened

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm | 1 Comment »
March 26, 2010 8:40 pm

Democrats have taken a step back from the restrictions they put on Attorney General Rob McKenna, my Olympian colleague Brad Shannon reports today.

I reported Wednesday the governor’s budget office had subjected McKenna to a  freeze on state contracts, rescinding an exemption it had awarded days earlier. Democratic leaders in the Legislature asked for the exemption to be pulled. Rep. Kelli Linville said they wanted to prevent McKenna from spending state money on his legal challenge to the federal health care overhaul.

Today McKenna’s office said the budget office has lifted its restrictions on contracts, except those that might deal with the health care lawsuit. Now he’ll be able to pay for outside lawyers, experts and mediators as needed on other cases.

Linville told the same thing today to Sam Taylor over at the Bellingham Herald:

The new exemption would allow McKenna’s office the ability to spend when necessary, but it would require his office to request approval from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s administration to pursue any kind of legal action based on healthcare reform.

“I feel perfectly comfortable with that,” Linville said. “Again, It’s not about the attorney general, it’s about a specific action the attorney general took. There are other things he’s done that I think we wouldn’t probably have a problem.”

Legislators are still thinking about a budget proviso to block McKenna from spending money challenging health care reform.

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