Report: Okla. AG's office facing $2 million budget cut

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 25, 2012


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office is reportedly facing a $2 million budget shortfall.

According to The Oklahoman, Pruitt's office was hoping to receive up to $14 million from the $77 million the state gets from a multistate tobacco settlement.

The Master Settlement Agreement was reached in November 1998 to end litigation between several states and the four largest tobacco companies at the time.

The litigation involved the tobacco companies' advertising strategies, which allegedly misled consumers as to the harmful and addictive effects of tobacco and inappropriately targeted underage consumers.

Under the MSA, the attorneys general of several states, including Oklahoma, agreed to release their past and future claims against the tobacco companies in exchange for large settlement payments, future annual disbursements from the tobacco companies managed under an approved payment scheme, and restrictions on the companies' future advertising and marketing.

Pruitt spokeswoman Diane Clay told The Oklahoman Friday that the state House of Representatives mistakenly approved a budget Thursday that would cut about $2 million from the office's budget.

"They didn't mean to cut the AG's office," she told the newspaper.

Under the House-approved budget, the Attorney General's Office would receive only $695,000 of the tobacco settlement monies, instead of the usual $2.6 million.

Clay said the office is working to fix the mistake.

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

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