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House GOP assails Frosh for less litigious ‘zeal’ with Biden than Trump

“It’s a piece of campaign literature as far as I can tell,” says Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, shown in 2017, of a letter from House GOP members accusing him of being eager to sue President Donald Trump but not President Joe Biden. “Trump violated the law repeatedly. We sued him for it.” (AP File Photo)

Maryland House Republicans assailed the state’s Democratic attorney general Monday for not suing President Joe Biden with the same gusto he took on President Donald Trump in court for federal actions perceived to harm the state or its residents.

The GOP House Caucus’ letter to Brian E. Frosh recounted the attorney general’s lawsuits after the Democratic-controlled General Assembly passed the Maryland Defense Act shortly after Trump, a Republican, took office in January 2017.  The MDA gave the attorney general authority to sue the federal government without prior approval from the governor or legislature.

The caucus stated that Frosh has not sued Biden and his Democratic administration for what the GOP alleges are the president’s offenses against Marylanders, including a relaxation of Trump-era immigration restrictions that the Republicans claim stanched the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic. The caucus also called on Frosh to take legal action against Biden for having rescinded Trump’s executive order withholding federal assistance from entities that hold training sessions in avoiding implicit bias.

“Since Joe Biden has been elected president, your zeal and ardor to carry out your marching orders as set forth in the MDA to take action ‘based on (the) federal government’s action or inaction that threatens the public interest and welfare of the residents of the state’ has waned considerably,” stated the letter signed by House Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel and Minority Whip Haven Shoemaker Jr.

“Accordingly, we ask that you and your office use the power granted you by the MDA to safeguard and protect the people of Maryland from action or inaction by the Biden administration that threatens the public interest and welfare with the same zeal you wielded that power against the Trump administration,” the letter added.

Frosh called the letter “just silly” in light of what he claimed were the numerous actions Trump took that would have harmed Maryland residents had litigation not been brought.

“It’s a piece of campaign literature as far as I can tell,” Frosh said of the letter. “Trump violated the law repeatedly. We sued him for it.”

Frosh’s lawsuits against Trump alleged that he unconstitutionally profited while in office from his Trump International Hotel in Washington and challenged his administration’s suspension of the Deferred Action or Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program; its exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census; its plan to build a wall on the United States’ southern border; and its effort to enable employers to deny health insurance coverage for contraception.

The GOP House caucus, in calling on Frosh to sue the Biden administration, also faulted Frosh for having paid too much attention to federal activities and not enough to Maryland.

“Shortly after the MDA was adopted, you zealously and tirelessly sued the Trump administration at every turn while ignoring your duties as the top law enforcement official in the state to combat rampant crime and the soaring murder rate in Baltimore City,” wrote Buckel, of Allegany County, and Shoemaker, of Carroll County. “You also sat idly by while the State Board of Education usurped local control over schools and forcibly masked them (students) with little or no justification during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In response, Frosh said his organized crime unit has had significant success in fighting gangs in Maryland. For example, the unit recently took down gang leader David Tico Brown and his associate Michael Anthony Copeland, who were involved in distributing cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County and were also involved in sex trafficking.

Brown and Copeland pleaded guilty to drug and sex trafficking last year.

Brown was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with all but 28 years suspended.  Copeland was also sentenced to 40 years, with all but 24 years suspended.

“They are just not paying attention,” Frosh said of Buckel and Shoemaker.