Wednesday, October 03, 2018

A Colossal Waste of Taxpayer Money

On the radio on my drive home tonight I heard California's attorney general bragging about promoting "progressive values" in the 44 lawsuits he's filed against the Trump Administration.  These lawsuits have so far cost California taxpayers $12 million.  The major Sacramento newspaper has the details:
California’s war against the Trump Administration is costing state taxpayers millions for lawyers and other costs connected to nearly four dozen lawsuits.

Costs to fight the federal government in court have more than tripled since President Donald Trump took office, according to data provided to The Sacramento Bee by the California Department of Justice.

California has filed 44 lawsuits against the Trump administration in the past 21 months, with major battles on health care, immigration and energy policy. The federal government, meanwhile, has filed three suits against California. The price tag for the California vs. Trump war was $9.2 million for the 2017-2018 fiscal year ending June 30, up from $2.8 million the previous year — which included six months of the president’s first year in office...

“We are the No. 1 economy in the country, large enough that we’ve become the fifth largest in the world. That happens because we made investments — we made decisions which others have been unwilling to make,” Becerra said. “Our prosperity is intertwined with our progressive nature.”

But Republican leaders and taxpayer advocates say the lawsuits amount to a political stunt and a waste of taxpayer money.

“Just because California and its Democratic leaders disagree with something the president or his administration does, that doesn’t mean the courts are the place to have that disagreement,” said Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney and committeewoman for the Republican National Committee. “Xavier Becerra is misusing the courts to score political points.

“Not only is this a massive waste of taxpayer resources, but every time he files one of these frivolous lawsuits, that takes federal resources and court time — that means less time for immigration cases, business disputes, trademark cases, asylum cases.”
I disagree that this is the same thing as when Republican attorneys general filed suit against the Obama Administration, especially against the EPA. I view those as legitimate concerns about federal overreach, whereas these California cases are, as shown by the attorney general's own words, about his own "progressive nature".
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the spending reflects poorly on Democratic leaders, who hold all constitutional offices in California.

“These lawsuits, including some of the more complicated ones, represent little more than political posturing by California politicians,” Coupal said. “Compared to the $120 billion state general fund, it may not seem like much, but it’s symbolic of an attitude of waste and foolish pursuits by our state government officials.”
Pretty much, yeah.


Steve USMA '85 said...

Just curious Darren, which are the frivolous lawsuits? I read the Sac Bee article and the only lawsuits listed are ones that could affect CA directly. Especially the Census 2020 lawsuit. The article didn't list all 44 which makes me wonder how many of them are truly frivolous versus the Fed is trying to change how CA does business?

Darren said...

While I don't have a list of the 44 cases, a lawsuit against the border wall--when immigration is clearly in the federal domain, is an example. I'm not sure if California joined in any of the now defunct so-called "travel ban" cases or not.

Does California get to determine what questions are on the census? Just because something might "affect" California does not mean a lawsuit is justified. Losing population "affects" California, too, but the state can't sue over conducting the census just because there's a possibility of losing representation.