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June 22, 2005

Iowa to Spend Microsoft Attorney Fee Funds on Law Enforcement

DES MOINES.   The state will spend $1.7 million Iowa collected from the Microsoft antitrust case to improve the use of DNA evidence and purchase 37 State Patrol vehicles. The money comes from about $2 million Microsoft Corp. paid earlier to Iowa in compensation for attorney costs in the case.

"The money we won in the Microsoft case will be put to good use," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. "The Legislature and Governor get credit for using this money to help meet important law enforcement needs in the state." The Legislature included the funding in the Justice Systems Appropriation Bill, and Governor Vilsack signed the measure last week.

Miller said $785,000 will be spent for 37 new State Patrol vehicles, $904,206 will be spent for lab equipment and staffing to upgrade the state's DNA capability, and $25,000 will be spent to upgrade the on-line Sex Offender Registry. About $350,000 of Iowa's $2 million payment from Microsoft was allocated earlier for other antitrust enforcement efforts.

"The State Patrol cars will help ensure safety on our highways," Miller said, "and the DNA money will be used to establish an all-felons data base, which I have long advocated. Everyone convicted of a felony must give a DNA sample, and that will aid future investigations as well as help solve and prosecute more previously-unsolved crimes."

Under the 2002 settlement of the antitrust case brought by Miller and other Attorneys General, Microsoft agreed to pay the states a total of $28.6 million. The amount included $25 million in compensation for the states' attorney fees and costs of litigation, and $3.6 million the states will use for continued enforcement and compliance. Iowa's share, about $2 million, was higher than the average payment because of Miller's leadership in the case. Such attorney fees are calculated at rates that would be paid to private attorneys, even though state attorney general offices undertake cases as part of their day-to-day work at much lower salaries. Miller said the lawsuit also has resulted in continued monitoring of Microsoft for antitrust violations.

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