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ROSS – The truth about Phil...

ROSS – The truth about Phil Bryant and the illegal Partnership

By: Magnolia Tribune - July 17, 2007

Millions Squandered Due to Lack of Accountability

JACKSON-The race for the Republican Lieutenant Governor’s nomination has revolved around a choice of which candidate is the most reliable in tough fights. A new television ad released by the Ross campaign Tuesday gives voters proof of one important difference on that score — the two candidates’ record of support for Governor Barbour.

In one of the Governor’s hardest-fought battles to date, Charlie Ross stood with the Governor in his successful effort to stop the illegal diversion of tax money to the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Bryant, meanwhile, stood with Barbour’s opponent, Democrat Mike Moore, on the Partnership issue.

“Phil Bryant was an advisory member of the Partnership’s board of directors while they siphoned millions of taxpayer dollars to partisan groups instead of using it to protect our children from tobacco use,” Ross spokesman Josh Blades said. “He says he went on the Partnership board to provide accountability, but the Partnership was never held accountable. Instead, the Partnership gave money to pet projects of Democrat politicians and advertising to promote Mike Moore’s career.”

Due to a settlement with tobacco companies, more than $100 million in taxpayer funds was funneled to the Partnership throughout the last seven years for the purpose of decreasing tobacco use among Mississippi’s youth. Unfortunately, because there was no accountability within the Partnership, this great cause oftentimes took a backseat to political pandering and cronyism. As a result, millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted.

Syndicated Columnist Sid Salter said it best in his May 30, 2006 column when he wrote, “… many Democratic legislators and their constituents have been the direct beneficiaries of Partnership funds.” Salter also added, “Since 1999, the Partnership funded $2.9 million in programs through a Legislative Black Caucus foundation….”

“If Phil Bryant was on the Partnership’s Board of Directors to provide accountability, how did he allow this grossly partisan waste of taxpayer money to occur?” Blades asked.

The new ad highlights the choice Phil Bryant made when he sat on the illegal Partnership’s board of a directors a few years ago.

Bryant accepted Mike Moore’s invitation to join the Partnership’s board in the fall of 2003 at a time in which he was the only Republican statewide elected official. “Instead of fighting the Partnership, Phil Bryant joined the Partnership at a time when he was the only one who could have effectively fought against Mike Moore,” Blades said.

Even when Gov. Haley Barbour and Treasurer Tate Reeves filed legal action against the Partnership’s illegal activity in the February of 2005, Bryant continued to side with Mike Moore, remaining as an advisory board member of the Partnership until October 2005.

“Phil Bryant had a choice — join the fight for accountability or stand beside Mike Moore and his illegal Partnership,” Blades said. “Bryant chose to stand with Mike Moore and his illegal Partnership. Phil Bryant chose the wrong partner.”

For a brief timeline of Phil Bryant’s involvement with The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, please click on the following link.

Charlie Ross Press Release

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