P'Pool talks ObamaCare, addresses contributions

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 17, 2011, 12:40pm


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Todd P'Pool, the Republican candidate for Kentucky attorney general, says in his newest television commercial that he will protect the state by fighting the federal health care law.

In the 30-second spot released Monday, P'Pool is described as a family man, "devoted husband," "man of faith" and "crime-fighting prosecutor."

P'Pool has said that President Barack Obama's health care reform, passed last year, will change the way area hospitals and physicians do business, kill jobs in the private sector, hurt health care in the state and devastate Kentucky's budget.

Fourteen states, later joined by 12 others, filed a challenge to the law in March 2010. The 26 states contend that its individual mandate requiring that all Americans purchase health insurance or face a penalty is unconstitutional.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, P'Pool's Democratic opponent come November, has refused to join the lawsuit.

But P'Pool, who also deems the law unconstitutional, says in his new ad that he will "protect Kentucky by fighting ObamaCare."

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found that the federal government does not have unlimited power under the Commerce Clause. A three-judge panel also ruled that a mandate that requires individuals who don't purchase health insurance to pay an annual $695 penalty is unconstitutional.

P'Pool used the ruling as an opportunity to take a jab at his opponent.

"I am encouraged to see that the 11th Circuit ruled to uphold liberty and protect the general police powers reserved to the states by ruling Obamacare unconstitutional," he said in a statement Friday.

"Jack Conway believes that ObamaCare is irrelevant to his job as attorney general. When I'm attorney general, the Constitution will be relevant to this job."

In his newest ad, the GOP candidate, who was "born and raised on coal fields," also promises to save coal jobs by fighting the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

A federal EPA policy unveiled last year tightened water quality standards in hopes of cracking down on mountaintop mining and eliminating valley fills in Kentucky and other states.

This week, P'Pool also addressed accusations by Conway's campaign that he has taken questionable contributions.

According to Louisville radio station WFPL News, a former admissions officer at Spencerian College has accused school officials of urging employees to support P'Pool.

The college, run by Sullivan University, is among those for-profit schools that are under investigation by the Attorney General's Office.

In December, Conway's office announced it was launching a probe into "questionable" business practices by for-profit postsecondary schools.

Conway's Office of Consumer Protection issued subpoenas to various colleges who do business in the state. The subpoenas required the schools to provide information about their student loan default rates, advertising claims to prospective students, student recruitment practices, claims made about job placement, transferability of credits, how financial aid funds for students are managed and dispersed, organizational structure and accreditation claims.

According to WFPL, campaign finance records show Sullivan University officials contributed more than $10,000 to P'Pool's campaign in April.

This week, P'Pool rejected calls to return the money, saying the contributions haven't influenced his campaign and won't affect his prosecution of the schools if elected in November.

Conway, who announced in January he was seeking reelection, previously ran for the state's U.S. Senate seat, which was held by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning. Bunning retired the seat.

Republican Rand Paul defeated Conway last November, but the race for Bunning's seat was a bitter one.

Paul, the son of famously libertarian U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, had attacked Conway for an ad criticizing his alleged college antics and questioning his religious faith.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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