Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft have dispatched $10 million to the state general fund.
The money is part of a lawsuit settlement with Moody’s Corporation for alleged consumer fraud dating back to the financial crisis.
The company was accused of inflating its credit ratings to attract more business. Hawley announced the transfer of funds Tuesday morning in front of the state House Budget Committee.
“Those funds will be coming to general revenue, this morning, upon conclusion of my testimony.”
Hawley said he and Ashcroft had the authority to send the money to various reimbursement efforts, but chose to help lawmakers balance a budget shortfall instead. ”
We have decided together that in this time of budget need, these funds would best be spent by returning to you, to the general revenue fund for you to use in balancing our budget and keeping our economy strong.”
The settlement calls for Moody’s to pay 21 states and the District of Columbia a total of $864 million. The agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and the states with Moody’s was announced January 18th.
“Justice has been served for those who suffered at the hands of Moody’s practice of assigning inflated credit ratings to toxic assets leading up to the financial crisis of 2008,” said Hawley.
He didn’t elaborate on how the arrangement for $10 million dollars to be sent to the general fund was made or how the amount was determined.
Hawley made the announcement before presenting the 2018 Attorney General’s office budget before the House committee. A Republican, Hawley said he’s overhauled the office as part of the first party transition of the attorney general’s seat in 24 years, He said he’s replaced the entire leadership structure and recruited new litigation staff members.
He then announced he’d launched or joined four lawsuits against Obama era federal regulations. Two of them were environmental rules while the other two were U.S. Labor Department overtime rules for workers and Education Department allocation of funding.
State Senator Jason Holsman (R-Kansas City) released a statement Tuesday morning calling for the $10 million from the Moody’s settlement to be combined with $50 million from a state Supreme Court decision for use as replenishment funding for budget cuts made by Governor Eric Greitens to disabled services.
The high court decision allowed the state to recoup money which had been withheld from a landmark tobacco company settlement.
“There is no denying that the budget is tight and difficult choices will have to be made,” said Holsman. “But the money needed to restore these cuts is real, it’s available and it should be used to prevent 20,000 vulnerable Missourians from losing the life changing – and sometimes lifesaving – care that they need.”