RICHMOND – John Adams, the Republican nominee for attorney general, continued “What Mark did with the Money” today, highlighting what Mark Herring did with money from a settlement with Abbott Laboratories versus what Iowa did with the funds.
“The settlement with Abbott Laboratories resulted in millions of dollars for states, but only one attorney general used that money to give selected staff backdoor pay raises – Mark Herring,” said Adams. “Other states put the money toward public schools, health care programs, autism treatment and more. Iowa’s attorney general used the money to fund consumer education.”
Herring found a workaround to use the money, which is generally prohibited from being used for salaries, to give 16 employees in the attorney general’s office raises of over 20% at a time when state employee salaries were stagnant. He also gave raises to his former campaign manager, as well as a former lobbyist who, prior to joining the Attorney General's office, "schmoozed lawmakers and regulators for corporate clients" according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, Herring’s attorney general’s office and Department of Law increased its payroll by nearly $2 million, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s salary database.
Iowa Attorney General Tim Miller used the money to fund future consumer education and litigation.
What Iowa Did with the Money
The Iowa Attorney General announced that money from the Abbott Settlement would go to “future consumer education and litigation.”
“Attorney General Tom Miller today joined 44 other states and the District of Columbia in announcing a $100 million settlement with Abbott Laboratories over allegations of illegal off-label marketing of its Depakote drug. Iowa will receive more than $1.4 million for its share of the settlement. ... Iowa’s share of the settlement is $1,448,141, which the state will use for future consumer education and litigation.” (Attorney General Tom Miller, “Miller, State Attorneys General Reach $100 Million Settlement Over Off-Label Marketing Of Prescription Drug Depakote,” Press Release, 5/7/12)
What Mark Did with the Money
Mark Herring gave pay raises to selected employees in the Office of the Attorney General by diverting asset forfeiture money from the Abbott Settlement.
“Law enforcement agencies participating in investigations with federal counterparts can share proceeds of seized assets under Equitable Sharing programs run by the Justice and Treasury departments. Both agencies have clear rules that generally prohibit the use of such money for salaries and pay raises. However, the Justice Department suggested a workaround in a PowerPoint presentation obtained from the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring after the AP raised questions about significant pay raises for several of Herring's employees at a time when state workers' pay was stagnant elsewhere. Some staff attorneys' salaries rose as much as $15,000 in a year — one had a 30-percent increase.” (Associated Press, 1/18/17)
What Other States Did with the Money
- North Carolina earmarked almost $1 million to public schools
- Washington State put the money toward the treatment, medication or counseling of people with schizophrenia, dementia or autism
- Florida funded consumer protection efforts
- Massachusetts put the money toward programs that lower health care costs for residents
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