It should come as no surprise. A few weeks after announcing that she is a candidate for the United States Senate, Roxanne Conlin is standing beside Governor Chet Culver announcing that Iowa schools will receive $60 million in vouchers for computers as part of the Microsoft settlement that made her rich.
In a way, Conlin is taking credit for doling out money from the Microsoft settlement much like Senator Tom Harkin takes credit for passing out money to school districts in the form of Harkin Grants. What’s ironic about Conlin’s recent press conference with Governor Culver is the fact that her case against Microsoft has nothing to do with the $60 million that schools will receive in vouchers.
Microsoft made the exact same deal with 19 other states before it settled with Iowa. So while this week’s press conference works nicely with Roxanne Conlin’s Senate campaign, it really has nothing to with her. The only difference between the settlements that Iowa and Minnesota received, as the two states that went to trial, and the 19 other states that settled out of court is that attorneys like Roxanne Conlin got rich.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn called on Conlin to donate a substantial portion of her windfall from a settlement with Microsoft to primary and secondary schools in Iowa. Strawn said, “Roxanne Conlin got filthy rich from this case. The lawyers got $75 million, and regular Iowans got, at best, 30 bucks. Meanwhile, Democrats have overspent the state’s resources and forced schools to make massive cuts, likely requiring property tax increases. Instead of ‘passing the buck,’ Democrats like Conlin should donate a million or two of theirs.”
What Chairman Strawn failed to point out in his press release is that Roxanne Conlin recently called upon Senator Grassley to give his PAC contributions to impoverished Iowans. If Conlin is going to make such demands on Senator Grassley, shouldn’t she lead by example by donating some of the millions of dollars she received from Microsoft?
The Iowa Microsoft settlement was a bad deal for individual Iowans and a good deal for Roxanne Conlin. Only eight percent, or 115,000 Iowans, received some money from the settlement. The average individual Iowan received approximately $90 total from the settlement while Roxanne Conlin received millions. In fact, only $10 million of the $180 million settlement was paid out directly to individual Iowans.
The Iowa-based American Future Fund also called out the hypocrisy displayed by Governor Culver and Conlin at this week’s press conference. Sandy Greiner, American Future Fund Political Action Board Member stated, “Chet Culver and his trial lawyer friend Roxanne Conlin think they can buy a computer for a school with Microsoft’s money and get a pat on the back while he slashes their budgets by 10%. The bottom line is that schools will lose a teacher, but get a new PC. Talk about mixed up priorities.”
Roxanne Conlin and Governor Culver used this week’s press event to fool Iowans into believing they secured the $60 million in technology vouchers for Iowa’s schools. The truth of the matter is that Roxanne Conlin took Microsoft to trial not to fight injustice, but to make herself incredibly rich.
Conlin, Culver, and Harkin have proved one thing in all of this – they are experts in spending other people’s money. The last thing anyone would want to give Conlin is access to the purse strings of the United States Treasury via a seat in the U.S. Senate.
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