Updated 8:04 p.m.
Republican attorneys general from nine states called themselves the “last line of defense for an out-of-control federal government” at a press conference Monday, launching an effort to educate voters about what they called the “illegal” actions of President Barack Obama’s administration.
These attorneys general, speaking at a Republican Attorneys General Association-sponsored event, represent the states that have filed the most lawsuits against the Obama administration, and have formed a “de facto task force” to fight back. They said their actions aren't political, but rather a reaction to the federal government overstepping its bounds like never before.
“This president and his administration, in my view, represent the greatest set of lawbreakers that have run the federal government in our lifetimes,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said at the press conference at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where the group is holding its winter national meeting this week.
“The fact is, President Obama and his appointees have ignored federal laws, they’ve ignored binding rulings of federal courts and they’ve ignored the limits on their power mandated by the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said.
The attorneys general each described issues in their states where they said Obama and his appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have implemented policies that have circumvented the democratic process and Congressional approval.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed the most lawsuits with 20, including 13 related to the EPA.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne described how the Obama administration fought against his state’s voter ID bill, and how the National Labor Relations Board sued his state to reverse a law allowing secret ballots in union votes.
Georgia State Attorney Sam Olens said his state has fought court battles over federal immigration policy, and will appear in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit next month to argue about a new cross-state air-pollution rule that he says will cost his state jobs.
The attorneys general said they are turning up the rhetorical heat because this is an unprecedented number of states fighting the federal government over important subjects like the health care mandates and pollution rules that could cause utility bills to rise for even the poorest Americans.
“It’s kind of like boiling a frog. You throw a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. If you put a frog into lukewarm water and slowly cut up the heat, the frog will boil to death,” said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. “That’s what you’re seeing…a slow boil of erosion of state sovereignty and individual liberties by this administration.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said late Monday that Obama approved fewer regulations in the first three years of his presidency than George W. Bush did in his.
"But there is no question that past regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly," Schultz said in a written statement. "That is why the President ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don't make sense and as part of that effort, we have already identified 500 changes, just a fraction of which will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years."
The other AGs at the event included Pam Bondi of Florida, Bill Schuette of Michigan, Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma, and Marty Jackley of South Dakota.