Attorney general candidates vying for lawsuit against Biden administration

Republican candidate for Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird has said she plans to sue the Biden administration if elected in November. Outgoing Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, says that’s not the purpose of the office and that he will focus on serving everyday Iowans.

If elected, Bird said she plans to challenge the Biden administration on any regulations she believes fall outside the rule of law, including mask and vaccine mandates, environmental restrictions and restrictions. border policies that allow undocumented people and illegal drugs to enter the United States. Bird said she would fight the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulatory stimulus.

Miller said his view of the attorney general’s role was different.

“That’s the fundamental difference between me and my opponent: She sees the office primarily as a lawsuit against the Biden administration. I see it primarily as serving the interests of ordinary Iowans,” Miller said. “…It is part of the major theme of his campaign which is a kind of crusade against the Biden administration. I think the Iowa Attorney General’s Office is different from that.

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds criticized Miller in May when she told a crowd at a GOP event she wanted her “own” Attorney General. Reynolds’ remarks were in turn criticized by Democrats, who pointed out that the attorney general is an independent office holder who does not work for the governor.

When asked how she would stand up to political pressure to deliver justice, Bird said she was glad to have the governor’s support.

“I think we need an attorney general who is going to represent Iowa and take on the federal government in court, which is what I will do,” Bird said. “What I’m hearing is Governor Reynolds wants an Attorney General who won’t sit on the sidelines and follow Biden, but rather one who will stand up for agriculture, stand up for Iowans, for their rights and freedoms. constitutional cases before the Federal Court. ”

GOP lawmakers worked to block Miller from suing the Trump administration

Miller’s office joined other states in half a dozen lawsuits in 2018 challenging Trump administration policies, including separating migrant families at the US border and demanding citizenship information. in the U.S. Census, the Des Moines Register reported.

That stopped in 2019, when the GOP-controlled legislature approved legislation requiring an attorney general to receive approval from the governor, legislature, or executive council before bringing charges outside of the state. State. Reynolds vetoed the measure in exchange for a “good faith agreement” with Miller, saying he would receive the governor’s consent if he wished to join an out-of-state lawsuit on behalf of the State. At the time, that meant Miller would not sue the Trump administration.

Reynolds and Miller came to this conclusion after discussing the importance of preserving the power of the position for the future, Miller said at the time.

Miller is the longest-serving United States Attorney General

Miller has served as attorney general since 1978, except between 1990 and 1994. He ran for governor in 1990 and came second to Don Avenson in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1994 and has served since.

He is now the oldest attorney general in the country and he is president of the National Association of Attorneys General. As president, Miller has chosen consumer protection as a broad area of ​​focus for the association, which includes support for big tech. Miller’s office has joined other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against Google alleging antitrust violations.

Bird sees excitement for this year’s campaign

In 2018, Bird was elected Guthrie County District Attorney. She also worked as chief counsel for former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Under the Branstad administration, Bird joined a lawsuit to challenge the Affordable Care Act. She was the GOP nominee for attorney general in 2010, but lost to Miller by 11 percentage points.

This election year is different, Bird said, and she’s finding stronger support as she travels through Iowa. “Being in the state, there’s a lot of excitement,” Bird said. “I think people are disappointed to see our attorney general sitting on the sidelines and accompanying the Biden administration.”

More goals for candidates

Along with pushing back against “overreach by the federal government,” Bird said she supports blue and would be an advocate for law enforcement. As attorney general, she said she would support the office’s Criminal Appeals Division, which works to defend criminal convictions and sentences against appeals.

“I would also make sure the Attorney General’s office works hard for Iowa, serving all of Iowa, including those outside of Polk County,” Bird said. “I campaign in all 99 counties, work hard and meet people. There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm and we feel a lot of support.

Miller said his office has served as a sounding board for law enforcement agencies in the county and also focuses on supporting victims of crime. He said he wanted to continue fighting the opioid crisis and protecting consumers from the big tech industry. He plans to campaign the same way he did when he ran for office in 1978: using politics to serve the people.

“We decided to use the law to serve ordinary Iowans, that’s what I talked about during the campaign and that’s what we’re doing in office,” Miller said. “And then we call them what we see them, we do what we think is the right thing, especially when interpreting the law. I try to reach voters by doing these things every day.