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Ross Challenges Bryant Again on Padhuship

By: Magnolia Tribune - June 19, 2007


Last week, Auditor Phil Bryant claimed that he served alongside Mike Moore on the board of the Partnership and that he advised the Partnership on how to spend taxpayer money.

The Partnership received $20 million per year of taxpayer money. To this day, we do not know the details of how they spent this money, but we do know that taxpayer dollars were given to the Legislative Black Caucus. This is wrong, just as it would be wrong for the Partnership to provide money on a Republican Legislative Caucus.

Today, Ross challenged Bryant to produce any public audit document or other documentation that validates Bryant’s claim that he brought accountability to the Partnership.

Last week, during a radio debate (Mississippi Connection with Matt Friedeman); Phil Bryant acknowledged that he in fact, has served as a member on the board of the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Mr. Bryant said he provided.”accountability”. that he advised on how to spend the money, and he was there to “make sure” the money was being spent “legally.”

“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been misspent through the Partnership,” said Ross. “The citizens of Mississippi deserve to know where and how that money was spent.”

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled last week that the Partnership was not lawful. “Mr. Bryant says he made the Partnership accountable. The taxpayers are entitled to know what that entailed,” said Ross.

Ross asked for Bryant to release all documents and correspondence, both internal and external, that demonstrated the steps he took to make sure the Partnership was accountable and legal.

Ross stood with Governor Barbour, Treasurer Tate Reeves, and the conservatives in the legislature who supported the constitution of our state and opposed the unlawful diversion of taxpayer funds to the Partnership. Conservatives have maintained that while some activities of the Partnership may have been worthwhile, other actions were overtly political and inappropriate. Conservatives, led by Gov. Barbour, insisted that the entire tobacco settlement money acquired on behalf of the taxpayers should be under the stewardship of the taxpayers’ elected representatives — not a non-profit corporation with no accountability.

Charlie Ross Press Release

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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.