Illinois Official Questions How Guv Paid Game Law Legal Fees

Although Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) trumpeted the passage of Illinois’ 2005 video game law, the failed legislation has turned into an ongoing source of embarrassment for the state.

Before the year was out, a federal court judge would rule that the law was unconstitutional. And then came the legal bills, which amounted to more than one million taxpayer dollars.

Nearly three years after passage, the video game legislation is still a source of concern. The Associated Press reports that Auditor General William Holland is questioning why the Illinois Public Health Department was billed for 14% of the legal fees in the case. Apparently, the Blagojevich administration can’t explain:

Holland says Public Health has no documents showing how costs were allocated among agencies paying for the unsuccessful defense of a law restricting access by children to violent or sexual video games.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff says six agencies were tapped to pay the special assistant attorney general assigned to the case in which a judge ruled the law unconstitutional.

Because it lost on constitutional grounds, Illinois was on the hook for $510,000 in legal costs incurred by the video game industry. The state also paid private attorneys to defend against the industry lawsuit.

UPDATE: Ars Technica has an expanded feature on this story…

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