BRYANT DOING TWO-STEP ON THE PARTNERSHIP

JACKSON — In a front-page Sunday story in the state’s largest newspaper, candidate Phil Bryant seems to be changing his posture on the illegal Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi once again.

Bryant, a long-time partner with liberal Mike Moore on the Partnership’s Board of Directors, has come under fire for not joining Gov. Haley Barbour and Treasurer Tate Reeves who went to court and successfully stopped the Partnership’s annual illegal diversion of $20 million. Phil Bryant defended the Partnership in Sunday’s Clarion-Ledger, saying “I don’t see it as the great terrible thing some people might think it is.”

“Phil Bryant can’t have it both ways. The fact is, he never helped Gov. Barbour in stopping the illegal diversion of taxpayer funds to the Partnership,” said Josh Blades, spokesman for conservative candidate Charlie Ross. “Instead, he sat on the Partnership’s Board of Directors while Mike Moore illegally wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Bryant’s recent defense of the Partnership follows two weeks of vague posturing from Bryant, who has attempted to convince voters that, in fact, he had opposed the Partnership’s illegal diversion. His campaign has even produced a web video address where Bryant seems to imply that he disagreed with Moore all along.

“Even though Gov. Haley Barbour, Treasurer Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Supreme Court have called it an illegal diversion of taxpayer money, Phil Bryant says that Mike Moore’s Partnership is not that terrible at all,” Blades said. “With all due respect, Mr. Bryant, illegally spending $20 million is a bad thing.”

A December 2003 letter to Moore from Bryant states that he would be “a source of accountability and compassion” as a member of the Partnership’s Board of Directors. Unfortunately, Bryant’s accountability standards have been lackluster at best, and as a result, the Partnership squandered millions of taxpayer dollars.

“When conservatives needed Phil Bryant to stand up, he sat down,” Blades said. “Gov. Barbour did the right thing, while Phil Bryant has just stood side-by-side with his liberal friend Mike Moore.”

Ross’s camp has challenged Bryant to release any written evidence that Bryant held the Partnership accountable, but to this point, the Ross campaign has seen nothing from the request.

Charlie Ross Press Release
7/9/7