House GOP votes to curb authority of Iowa’s Democratic attorney general

DES MOINES — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, soon may have to seek permission from Republican officeholders to join lawsuits outside the state of Iowa.

Republicans in the Iowa House like Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake are upset with Miller’s participation in lawsuits challenging Trump Administration policies.

“The attorney general’s client is the people of the state of Iowa, but does that election give him carte blanche to do whatever he cares to do?” Worthan said. “We don’t believe so.”

Democrats like Representative Marti Anderson of Des Moines called the GOP move a “power grab.”

“Don’t rearrange our good government for no good reason,” Anderson said.

Miller sat in the House balcony and watched the House debate. Miller said filing lawsuits is a fundamental function of the office he’s held for 37 years.

“I’m an independently elected official, given these fundamental powers,” Miller told reporters this evening. “…No other state does this. I think that tells us something as well.”

Miller is the longest-serving attorney general in the country and in 2018 no Republican candidate challenged his bid for a 10th term. The Republican-led House tonight voted to force Miller to get permission from Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, the Republican-led state executive council or the Republican-led legislature to join any lawsuit outside the state of Iowa.

The plan now goes to the Republican-led Iowa Senate for a vote.

Governor Reynolds told reporters on Tuesday she hasn’t seen the proposal.