by Max Brantley
McDaniel needed some cosmetics on this issue, particularly given his disastrous rear-showing when he spent $6,000 to make a movie to play when he gave the State Police money to pay for a shooting range facility from a lawsuit against drug companies.
According to Talk Business, the first priority in distributing money will be to make restitution to consumers or state agencies as designated by a court order or settlement agreement. Remember that the attorney general crafts the settlement and drafts the court order by which the state is paid and the judge in a case rarely has reason to object, as was the case in the probably illegal distribution of money to the State Police in the drug case. So whether this policy is a total fix or window dressing can only be fully judged by its implementation. He does put a $1 million cap on the money he can sock away in a "consumer education and enforcement" fund.
A question lingers about whether legal challenges could be raised seeking refunds of past distributions outside the boundaries of statute and Constitution. The State Police money is particularly problematic because it didn't go to a state agency at all, but to the private State Police Foundation, which is to spend it on the agency's behalf.