Also read Gov. Reynolds’ statement here.
Also read debate on the bill in the Iowa Senate here.
Today I have entered into a compromise agreement with Gov. Kim Reynolds concerning lawsuits filed by my office. I do so for the following reasons.
The legislation would limit the ability of my office and my successors to bring litigation outside the state courts of Iowa. My greater concern was always about the institution of the Attorney General and its powers and duties. My successors were always more important than the current Attorney General. By vetoing the legislation, Governor Reynolds is protecting this interest and concern. A long time ago when I was first elected Attorney General of Iowa, my elders — the other state Attorneys General — preached to me the importance of the powers and duties of our office and the great obligation to protect those powers and duties. I will not be haunted by the ghosts of my elders.
While I am Attorney General, I agree to get the consent of the Governor to bring out of state cases when the State of Iowa is the plaintiff, but not when the Attorney General of Iowa is the plaintiff. This means that generally I will not be suing the Trump administration. I brought a selective number of lawsuits against the Trump administration in the last two-plus years. I believe they were well grounded in the law. According to the available polling data, these cases, such as the ones concerning the Dreamers and separating children from parents, were supported by a majority of Iowans. The cases were also supported by Iowans in their overwhelming re-election of me just last November. I am reassured by the fact that the cases will continue to be brought by my 26 Democratic Attorney General colleagues, and they will do a very effective job.
This agreement allows my office to continue to protect Iowans through consumer enforcement actions, which are primarily filed in Iowa courts. It also allows me to express my opinion on matters affecting Iowans before federal agencies and Congress.
This is a good-faith agreement between Governor Reynolds and me. In my opinion, there are too few good-faith compromises today in Washington and Des Moines. This also leads me to make this agreement.