Friday, August 19, 2005

Republican Party statement on Hatch

Statement by Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey in Reaction to Hatch's Recent Loss Against Medica

"This court ruling reveals a colossal misstep on the part of Attorney General Mike Hatch, and deals a serious blow to his ambitions for higher office. The stinging rebuke by the court once again proves that Mike Hatch puts political grandstanding ahead of public policy. Hatch's bullying behavior and temperament in this case raises questions about whether he is fit for higher office.

"Hatch was unconcerned when it was pointed out that four of the seven new Medica board members had previously contributed to him, including the board chairman Ted Deikel, who had a contribution history dating back to Hatch's 1990 run for governor and that Deikel had held a fundraiser for Hatch just two weeks before being named board chair. (Sources: Tom Majeski, "Medica Chief gave to DFL," St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 3, 2001; Patrick Sweeney and David Hanners, "New Allina board shielded from lawsuits," St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 10, 2001)

The Medica Board of Directors declared in court filings that they are independent and asserted Attorney General Mike Hatch has overstepped his bounds and asked to be released from the 2001 agreement that brought its separation from Allina. Medica Board member and former State Supreme Court Justice Esther Tomljanovich asked "The real issues is, 'Does the attorney general have unlimited authority to insert himself into the decision-making process and micromanage the day-to-day operations of an independent, private corporation?" Hatch, for his part, said he doesn't consider the board free of its obligations until he is satisfied that all necessary changes have been made. (Source: Glenn Howatt, "Medica seeks to cut ties to Hatch," Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 8, 2005)

In continued court proceedings between Medica and Hatch over the Attorney General\'s authority, Hatch took the witness stand. There, he was confronted with a recording he had left on Board Chair John Buck\'s voicemail. In it, Hatch is heard saying, "This bonus will undo all that we\'ve accomplished. We would be [expletive] front-page news. It would be a [expletive] scandal. The only thing we can do is lower premiums. I don\'t want another [expletive] scandal on my hands." Later in the testimony, he was questioned about whether he had described Medica attorney Marianne Short with two expletives to a partner in her firm and whether he had threatened to take state business away from the firm. (Source: David Phelps, "Sparks fly as Hatch takes the stand," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)

But the case "is about whether Medica\'s board acted honorably or illegally in taking Medica from a national scandal in 2001 to the position of being named the No. 1 nonprofit health plan in the country. At the end of the day, good people were unfairly accused. After a fair and impartial trial, their good name is restored to them." (Source: Neil Gendler, "Judge says Hatch can\'t oversee Medica Board," Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)###",1]


The Star Tribune editorial board took issue with Hatch's behavior towards the Medica board: "If Hatch appointed competent and honorable people, then a judge should ask why the attorney general continues to second-guess their judgment. If Hatch appointed directors who are bungling the job, then a judge should be able to ask why the attorney general should be allowed to repeat the experiment." (Source: Editorial, "Hatch vs. Medica." Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 10, 2003)

In continued court proceedings between Medica and Hatch over the Attorney General's authority, Hatch took the witness stand. There, he was confronted with a recording he had left on Board Chair John Buck's voicemail. In it, Hatch is heard saying, "This bonus will undo all that we've accomplished. We would be [expletive] front-page news. It would be a [expletive] scandal. The only thing we can do is lower premiums. I don't want another [expletive] scandal on my hands." Later in the testimony, he was questioned about whether he had described Medica attorney Marianne Short with two expletives to a partner in her firm and whether he had threatened to take state business away from the firm. (Source: David Phelps, "Sparks fly as Hatch takes the stand," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)

But the case "is about whether Medica's board acted honorably or illegally in taking Medica from a national scandal in 2001 to the position of being named the No. 1 nonprofit health plan in the country. At the end of the day, good people were unfairly accused. After a fair and impartial trial, their good name is restored to them." (Source: Neil Gendler, "Judge says Hatch can't oversee Medica Board," Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)
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