He's taken heat for it by his constituents back home. So much so that he even spent money three years out from his election to explain his support of the bill. (natch, no mention of the bribe)
On December 31st, the Washington Post published an article highlighting 13 Attorneys General who had serious issues with the bribe. Noticeably absent was Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.
"We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed," South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision," they wrote.
Since then, the potential lawsuit hadn't received much attention - until today.
And the waterfall started with Mike DeWine.
Giving conservatives a bit of the red meat they so desperately deserve, DeWine wrote in a statement:
Ohio is bleeding jobs and facing a $6 billion budget deficit next year. The last thing Ohio taxpayers can afford is to foot the bill for Medicaid recipients in Nebraska!
Richard Cordray needs to stand up to fellow Democrats Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama before Ohioans are forced to pay millions in increased Medicaid spending for services we’ll never receive. I urge him to speak out and join his fellow attorneys general who have already asked Congress to remove the “Cornhusker Kickback” from the health care bill.
DeWine nails it. Ohioans are suffering enough financially. The last thing they need to be doing is financing a bribe to a bunch of Cornhuskers.
But not a few minutes went by before another story on the bribe appeared in The Hill:
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) vowed Tuesday that a provision in the Senate's healthcare bill exempting Nebraska from additional Medicaid payments would be eliminated.
"You can bet that won't be law by the time that goes into effect," Brown said during a town hall meeting.
Add on top of that Governor Strickland's statement that Ben Nelson should be "embarrassed" for requiring the bribe back on December 23rd and you have pretty amazing pressure on Richard Cordray. (of course, that was more because it was holding up passage of Obamacare)
So how did Cordray respond to the pressure to join the 13 AG's that are looking out for the economic well-being of their state?
Jesse over at Athens Runaway scored a most pathetic response to that very inquiry:
As Ohio's chief law officer, the Attorney General focuses on issues involving state law and proposed state legislation here in Ohio.
However, he also stays in close touch with his fellow state attorneys general through the national association, NAAG, and will be considering together with them all issues that may arise from new federal legislation in this and any other area.
13 AGs get it. Sherrod Brown gets it. Hell, even Strickland gets it.....sorta.
But Cordray? Not so much.
DeWine is doing the right thing by placing the focus solely on Cordray. From a state perspective, a lawsuit over something as unfair and quite likely unconstitutional as the Nelson bribe is something that must be made a priority.
Ohio is in too much trouble itself to prop up a few Cornhuskers.