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DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds used her line-item veto authority in appropriations bills to veto the limitations that the Iowa Legislature imposed on the Attorney General.

The approved a measure within the justice system appropriations bill that requires the Attorney General to have the Governor, Executive Council, or Legislature to sign-off on pursuing out-of-state litigation.

There was concern about Attorney General Tom Miller’s involvement in several multi-state lawsuits against the Trump Administration that did not have the backing of either the Governor or the Legislature.

Reynolds said in her veto message sent to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office she said shared those concerns.

“I share many of the concerns expressed by members of the Legislature about the past actions of Attorney General Tom Miller in courts outside of Iowa. He has participated in litigation throughout the nation, repeatedly taking positions in the name of the State of Iowa that are in conflict with Iowa’s statutes, the policy goals of the Legislature and Governor, and the best interests of Iowans,” she said. “But I am cautious about approving a provision that redefines the scope of the Attorney General’s duties because I am mindful that the Attorney General is also elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Iowa.”

Reynolds noted that she had come to an agreement with Miller over litigation practices that addresses those concerns.

“Attorney General Miller has agreed that so long as he serves as Attorney General, he will not prosecute any action or proceeding or sign onto or author an amicus brief in the name of the State of Iowa in any court or tribunal other than an Iowa state court without the consent of the Governor. He retains the authority to participate in litigation or author letters in his own name, as Attorney General of Iowa. Attorney General Miller has also agreed that if the Governor requests that he prosecute an action or proceeding or file an amicus brief in any court, he will do so or facilitate outside counsel, and that such participation requested by the Governor shall be conducted in the name of the State of Iowa,” she noted.

“This agreement is an appropriate interpretation of the authority and duties provided for under existing Iowa law and our constitutional structure. It ensures that the State of Iowa will speak with one consistent voice when it participates in court proceedings outside of our state. And it respects the Attorney General’s independent authority and accountability to the people of Iowa,” Reynolds added.

Miller said he entered into a compromise with Reynolds because of the damage he believed the measure would do to the Attorney General’s office, “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.”

He defended his involvement in lawsuits against the Trump administration but said he made a good-faith agreement with Reynolds.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Miller added. “This is a good-faith agreement between Governor Reynolds and me.”

Read Reynolds entire letter to the Iowa Secretary of State below:

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