August 17, 2006

The Wall Street Journal Editoral Board and Arlene Violet on AG Lynch & Dupont

Carroll Andrew Morse

The continuing controversy surrounding the details of Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch’s understanding that allowed DuPont to be dropped from the state’s lead paint case was the subject of yesterday’s lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s the opening graf and an outline of what follows…

When a state sues an industry – think tobacco – any settlement money typically goes directly to that state. But when Rhode Island dropped the DuPont Corporation from a lead paint lawsuit last year, after the defendant agreed to donate $12 million to charity, most of the money ended up at organizations based in Washington D.C. and Boston. Which is why Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has some explaining to do….

Most of the money -- $9 million – is going to the Children’s Health Forum, a Washington D.C. nonprofit that has agreed to dole it out to groups back in Rhode Island for lead paint clean-up.

Why not cut out this middleman? Well, perhaps because the Children’s Health Fund was incorporated as a lobbying group three years ago and received nearly all of its seed money from Dupont....

Some $2.5. million is going to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, another curious choice because that Massachusetts medical center has no lead-poisoning prevention program to speak of...Mr. Lynch agreed to allow money from DuPont that would otherwise go to lead-paint cleanup in Rhode Island to be used instead by a private law firm to fulfill its pledge to an out-of-state institution....

Later this month, the Rhode Island Ethics commission will hold a hearing whether to launch a full investigation into the deal, and a thorough vetting of Mr. Lynch’s motives seems appropriate....

Also behind a subscription wall is former Attorney General Arlene Violet’s Cumberland Valley Breeze column where she explains how the problems with where the DuPont money has gone directly relate to the way in which the current Attorney General has been conducting his duties...
Dupont has forever been discharged as a defendant in a multi-billion dollar lead paint liability trial for nothing but a verbal agreement to spend $12.5 million. As Bill Harsch, whom I support for the office, pointed out, folks cannot buy a piece of furniture on time without signing a legal document outlining the terms of performance. Yet Dupont, in effect, is only bound to perform by a gentleman's agreement with Lynch, who might not be in office after this election....

In a deposition, the Attorney General noted that he thought the money might discharge Motley Rice's obligation and he vaguely knew of Dupont's involvement in CHF. He refused to say under what authority he had a right to dispose of the taxpayer's money since only the General Assembly has that power under separation of powers. One thing the Attorney General should be aware of is that he was either snookered by the company and their lawyer who contributed to his campaign both during negotiations and after the "deal" was sealed, or he was a very poor lawyer dismissing a big player like Dupont on a song and a prayer. In any event the taxpayers got rolled.

Both columns are worth reading in their entirety.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Where are the FEDS?!?

Posted by: Anthony at August 17, 2006 4:58 PM

Got anything on the Laffey/Chafee debate?

Posted by: Jim at August 17, 2006 6:09 PM

Question-What is the requirement on old houses and lead paint inspections?Does a house need to be inspected if it is a single family dwelling has no children and is not rented?-SBH

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at August 21, 2006 2:15 PM