In case you missed it, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board is condemning Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s “attitude about consumer protection,” which prioritizes personal “grandstanding” over the needs of Missourians.
In an editorial, the newspaper calls out Hawley’s “not so good” budget management, saying he could benefit by reassigning “someone from his office’s useless new federalism unit.” The editorial continues by adding criticism of Hawley’s stance against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which “protects Missourians from getting ripped off by banks, credit card companies and payday lenders.”
Read the full editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch below:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Editorial Board
April 4, 2017
Josh Hawley, Missouri’s new attorney general, has some parts of the job down better than others. He’s excellent at filing lawsuits challenging Obama-era regulations that Congress and the Trump administration already are throwing out. He’s not so good at managing his budget.
Last week the Republican-dominated House Budget Committee stripped $6.8 million from the Republican attorney general’s budget. The money was part of the consumer protection fund that pays for things such as the Do Not Call list. The committee voted to give the money to the Missouri Public Defender system instead.
“There was nobody there to represent the attorney general when the amendment was offered …,” House budget chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, told the online news site Missourinet. “I think that probably is a large part of the reason the amendment passed.”
During the budgeting process, proposed amendments are available shortly after 8 a.m. on hearing days. The public defender’s office picked up the amendment packet, noticed its budget was coming up and showed up at the hearing to argue its case. Hawley’s office didn’t. Legislators don’t like to be stood up.
Taking $6.8 million away from consumer protection and giving it to public defenders is an example of the kind of “Sophie’s Choice” budgeting decisions a state must make when it cuts taxes for special interests and refuses to bring its tax code into the 21st century. Both are deserving causes. No doubt somewhere in the budgeting process most of the consumer protection money will be restored.
Hawley has only been in office since January, so he’s new at this. He might want to assign somebody to stay on top of it. He could reassign someone from his office’s useless new federalism unit.
That’s his name for the lawyers who file lawsuits challenging federal regulations that the Trump administration is already getting rid of, after which Hawley issues a press release claiming some of the credit.
For example, Hawley filed suit in January against the Obama administration’s pending Stream Protection Rule. The Republican Congress repealed the pending rule in February.
Hawley’s press release said, “My office took on the federal government to protect working families in our state from soaring energy costs, and we won.”
The Stream Protection Rule had little to do with “soaring energy costs” in Missouri and everything to do with making it easier for coal companies in other states to dump tons of mining waste into streams. Some victory.
Hawley also is challenging energy rules that corporations don’t like, such as the clean air and water acts as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that protects Missourians from getting ripped off by banks, credit card companies and payday lenders.
With that kind of attitude about consumer protection, maybe he won’t even miss that $6.8 million.