Ed Driscoll

MONEY DRIVES MICROSOFT SETTLEMENT: Bob

MONEY DRIVES MICROSOFT SETTLEMENT: Bob Novak’s column today is all about the Benjamins. Specifically, the money donated to states’ attorney generals from Microsoft competitors, including California’s Bill Lockyer, which Novak says:

has his eyes on a future bid for governor. Heavily favored for re-election to a second term as attorney general this year, he has raised $5 million so far to make sure. His listed contributions from Microsoft competitors and their law firms, as of last December, totaled $75,500–with $50,000 from Oracle Corp.

Then there are the other dissenters:

The symbiotic relationship between state attorneys general and Microsoft’s foes is shown in Utah. [Republican state AG Mark] Shurtleff, serving his first year as attorney general in 2001, waited until 15 minutes before the 11 a.m. deadline Nov. 6 before joining the anti-Microsoft group. But lawyers inherited from his Democratic predecessor long had collaborated with Novell.

In open court last week, Microsoft lawyers revealed an April 2000 e-mail from the Utah attorney general’s office to Novell asking help in drafting language in a possible negotiated settlement that would benefit the company’s products. Lawyer Wayne Klein asked for ”guidance–preferably without involving too many people seeing this language.”

Another example of how Microsoft’s enemies seek to utilize political contributions was disclosed in federal court proceedings. James Barksdale, former head of Netscape and a longtime critic of Microsoft, revealed in a recent deposition that he asked Bush administration science adviser E. Floyd Kvamme for help last year in trying to scuttle a settlement.

I wrote about the Justice’s Department’s efforts to wrap up the Microsoft trial last fall for National Review Online’s Financial section. Back then, I interviewed Jeff Taylor of Reason magazine. Taylor said:

The state AGs essentially have a political decision to make. Do their constituents