Florida Attorney General Bob McCollum, in the midst of a run for governor, is eager to take credit for leading the effort to get health-care reform struck down by the courts.
McCollum and 12 of his fellow state AGs, all but one Republican, filed suit earlier this week in Federal Court in the northern district of Florida, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. (We assessed the lawsuit’s slim chances of success here.) And now McCollum’s office has explained to TPMmuckraker how he quarterbacked the effort.
Ryan Wiggins, a spokeswoman for McCollum, explained that the AG first had concerns when he read the proposed legislation late last year. “Back in December, he looked over the actual bill and said ‘Woah, this is not constitutional!,’” explained Wiggins. “They’re trampling on states rights!”
From there, Wiggins said, McCollum talked to South Carolina AG Henry McMaster — who also is running for governor. The two lawmen had earlier discussed teaming up on a challenge to the “Cornhusker Kickback” — the special deal for Nebraska temporarily won by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). But instead, they decided to switch their focus to challenging the constitutionality of the bill as a whole.
From there, McCollum, the clear front-runner for the GOP nomination for governor, began actively recruiting the other AGs. “He spent a lot of time on the phone talking to other attorneys, rallying the troops,” said Wiggins.
As we’ve reported, McCollum also personally reached out to David Rivkin, a high-profile Washington attorney, to do the legal heavy-lifting. Wiggins referred to Rivkin as “the top constitutional lawyer in the country.” McCollum and Rivkin had teamed up in 2006 to lobby Congress on behalf of banking interests.