UNDER FIRE, BRYANT DOES A U-TURN ON PARTNERSHIP
JACKSON, Miss. – Under fire for his involvement in Mike Moore’s unlawful Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, State Auditor Phil Bryant seemed to do an about-face on Wednesday.
On a recent radio debate, Bryant said he was involved in the Partnership’s spending.
“I was a non-voting board member. Mike Moore asked me to come over and provide some accountability as State Auditor. Help him look at the Partnership. Determine if he could have some internal controls and decide how they would spend the money. Now I didn’t get any of the money I didn’t vote to give anybody any of the money. I went in there and said, “You know, you guys need to make sure that you are spending this legally. Need to make sure you’ve got internal controls, internal auditors and make sure that you spend a lot of it on drugs.” I mean we’re having trouble here with drugs in our schools, on our streets. I advised the board who was then made up of some wonderful people to do that. I thought I was adding accountability where there was none and I thought it was the right thing to do.” Bryant on the Mississippi Connection with Matt Friedeman, Jun. 11, 2007
But today, Bryant did a U-turn. Appearing on the Supertalk Network’s “J.T. & Dave Show,” Bryant criticized the Partnership and lauded the conservative effort led by Governor Barbour and Treasurer Tate Reeves to disband the Partnership and stop the unlawful diversion of $20 million taxpayer dollars per year to it.
“People say a lot of that money was wasted, and you know yes I agree with that, and as state auditor I wish I had had control over what had been wasted.” Bryant on Supertalk FM, Jun. 20, 2007
That new position stands in stark contrast to Bryant’s actions.
Bryant served as a member of the board of Moore’s Partnership and has yet to produce a record of anything he did to oppose, criticize, or hold the Partnership accountable. Bryant has cited, but not produced, a letter he says he wrote to Moore in June 2005, but Bryant fails to point out that he went on the board in September 2003.
In December 2003, Bryant wrote to Moore that he thought “accountability and compassion” were “two elements I know are prevalent in the management of the Partnership.” In January 2005, Bryant failed to respond directly to Treasurer Reeves request for Bryant to audit the Partnership, instead referring Reeve’s request to Mike Moore-who was no longer Attorney General-to respond on his behalf.
“When Mike Moore was siphoning $20 million taxpayer dollars a year into an illegal account, Phil Bryant was right there with him,” Ross campaign manager Nathan Wells said. “Now that he’s under fire for his role alongside Mike Moore, Bryant seems to be changing his story.”
“Three days ago Senator Charlie Ross simply asked Auditor Bryant to produce all documentation that proved he provided accountability and how he advised the board on how they should spend the money. Mr. Bryant should come forth with this documentation,” Wells said. “This is a most reasonable request considering the amount of money that was involved. Mr. Bryant should let some sunshine in by producing that documentation.”
Charlie Ross Press Release