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Frosh: Suits Against Federal Officials Exactly What Lawmakers Intended

07.12.2017

July 12, 2017.
By Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090.

Attorney General Brian Frosh said Republican lawmakers shouldn't act surprised by his lawsuits against federal officials.

In a letter that subtly dug at what his office called "grandstanding" by aggrieved state lawmakers, he wrote that he's doing what the Democratic-majority General Assembly allowed him to do in a joint resolution.

In a letter addressed to Del. Haven Shoemaker of Carroll County and more than 40 Republican colleagues, Frosh wrote that his office has joined seven lawsuits pursuant to the resolution that allowed him to do so without expressly asking lawmakers or the governor. The suits include ones targeting environmental regulation roil-backs, the travel ban, for-profit college rules and one led by Frosh and District of Columbia counterpart Karl Racine against President Donald Trump that claims violations of the Constitution's little-tested emoluments clause.

"Each seeks to protect the health and well-being of Marylanders against harmful federal acts," Frosh wrote.

To the lawmakers' question of how much the suits are costing, he said his office is using existing resources.

"Already stretched thin, my staff has sacrificed additional evenings and weekends to meet these needs, and I am proud of their commitment to defending the health and welfare of Marylanders," he wrote.

However, around the same time that the General Assembly passed the measure granting him power to unilaterally pursue these suits, he requested and was given $5 million in additional funding for the 2019 fiscal year, which starts next July.

Frosh said his office will consider any objections raised by Gov. Larry Hogan, and has given Hogan appropriate notice of every suit thus far.

Showmaker, in criticizing Frosh's suits, said his actions may have "poisoned the well" for the state's relationship with the White House, and could have played into the decision to cancel plans to build a new FBI headquarters, which could have been in Maryland.