Staff Columnist

Iowa GOP muzzles Miller to enable Trump

The State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
The State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

Iowa Republicans, as you might imagine, did not react favorably to news that Democrats who run the U.S. House are revving up an impeachment inquiry, with the support of Iowa representatives.

In a statement, Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann argued Democrats are “hell-bent on erasing the votes” of Iowans who voted for President Donald Trump. He said they’ll “stop at nothing to overturn the will of their constituents.”

Surely, Iowa Republicans would never do such a thing. Check with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller for a second opinion.

Laura Belin, who runs the Bleeding Heartland politics website, first reported this week that GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds has blocked Miller from joining or filing amicus briefs in ten lawsuits, including cases disputing Trump administration policies. The governor halted the Democratic attorney general’s participation in cases involving clean energy, the treatment of immigrants, civil rights and other big, critical issues.

You may recall back in April Republicans who control our Golden Dome of Wisdom tacked an amendment on to a budget bill canceling the attorney general’s authority to join out-of-state court actions. To do so, he would need to seek permission from the governor or the state’s GOP-controlled executive council. They were led by state Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, who can’t stand the idea of Miller challenging Trump’s wisdom.

Reynolds gave Miller a choice, either agree informally to wear the Legislature’s handcuffs or she would sign them into law. Miller, stuck between a legislative bulldozer and a governor unwilling to check her party’s most insane excesses, agreed to Reynolds’s demand. No other state attorney general faces a gubernatorial veto.

More than 880,000 Iowans voted for Miller in 2018, handing him his 10th term in office. Republicans didn’t field a candidate in the attorney general’s race. Miller received more than 200,000 more votes than Reynolds. The notion that Iowa voters, who elected three Democrats to Congress and reduced the GOP’s state House majority, truly wanted an attorney general who would not join the sort of legal actions Miller has been joining for decades is beyond a stretch. You could say Statehouse Republicans stopped at nothing to overturn the will of Miller’s constituents.

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Miller sought to join a legal effort forcing the Trump administration to provide safe and sanitary facilities for detained immigrant children. Reynolds blocked him.

Miller tried to join a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s drive to replace the Clean Power Plan, which called on the nation to embrace renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. Reynolds, governor of a state already exceeding the plan’s goals, blocked him.

Miller asked to join a series of cases arguing that federal anti-discrimination rules prohibit firing or not hiring Americans who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Reynolds blocked him.

Other cases involved strict limits on women’s reproductive rights, the sale of high capacity firearm magazines and other issues. More blocking.

All of this because the Iowa GOP is hellbent on protecting a reckless president. And with help from his enablers, Trump is running off the rails. Speaking of impeachment.

Comments: (319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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