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Gov. Ducey sues to stop Feds from taking back COVID aid money

$170M in dispute over anti-mask mandates
Doug Ducey
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 16:00:41-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KGUN) — Governor Doug Ducey has just sued in Federal Court to fight back against Federal attempts to force the State of Arizona to give back about $170 Million dollars in COVID relief funds.

The U.S. Treasury sent the Governor’s Office a letter threatening to take back the money because Ducey used some of it to offer grants and payments to school districts that are not imposing mask mandates. The Governor is also offering payments to cover expenses of families connected to shifting their children to district that do not require masks.

The Treasury Department letter contends the Governor should not be using money designed to reduce the impact of COVID for actions the Federal Government sees as undermining efforts to reduce spread of the virus.

Governor Ducey’s lawsuit says the law disbursing the COVID funds gives state governments wide latitude in how they use the funds. The suit goes on to say the Treasury Department’s threat to reclaim the money is based on a rule written after Ducey created the programs Treasury objects to, and that the rule does not officially take effect until this coming April.

This week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent the Treasury Department a letter pushing back against the threat to clawback the COVID relief funds. Brnovich threatened to sue to retain the money. The Governor’s Office says it did not co-operate with Brnovich on the matter.

Governor Ducey’s lawsuit has been filed by the General Counsel for his office.