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A look at how Schmitt has taken on the federal government as attorney general

  

Attorney General Eric Schmitt officially announced his bid for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s seat on March 24, pledging to defend former President Donald Trump’s policies again the Biden administration.

“As attorney general, I’ve already sued the Biden administration and I’m going to keep suing Joe Biden to protect all Missourians when necessary,” Schmitt said. “I’ve been holding the Biden administration and the Democrats accountable on important issues like border security, the Second Amendment, and regulations that cripple our economy.”

Here’s a look at the federal challenges leveled by the Republican in his role as attorney general. 

Washington, D.C. statehood

Schmitt joined 21 other Republican attorney generals on a letter to Biden on April 13 opposing a push to establish statehood for Washington, D.C. The coalition said doing so would “constitute an unprecedented aggrandizement of an elite ruling class with unparalleled power and federal access.”

Migrant Protection Protocols 

Schmitt filed suit against Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and other members of the administration on April 13, calling on them to reinstate Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols.

Under the policies, individuals arriving at the southern border seeking asylum were turned back to Mexico and given notices to appear in immigration court. The protocols were suspended in January.

“President Biden’s failure to control the massive influx of migrants — an influx invited by his lax policies — has opened the floodgates to human trafficking that will have lasting effects on Missouri and the United States and puts our nationally-recognized efforts to fight human trafficking in jeopardy,” Schmitt said.

State tax policy

Schmitt sued the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on March 29, pointing to the interpretation of a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act Schmitt said would force states to pick between COVID-19 relief funds or their tax policies. Schmitt said the suit was meant to provide clarity on the reach of the bill’s tax provisions.

“Properly understood, the tax mandate imposes only a very narrow restriction on the states’ ability to cut taxes — it merely prohibits the states from taking COVID-19 relief funds and deliberately applying them to offset a specific tax reduction of a similar amount,” the lawsuit said.

Oil and gas operations on federal land

Schmitt joined 13 states on a suit against the new president on March 24 for an executive order imposing a moratorium on future gas and oil leasing and drilling permits on federal land.

“President Biden’s actions will negatively impact a wide swath of Missourians and Missouri industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and more,” Schmitt said in a statement. “Missourians are already feeling the pain at the gas pump, and if President Biden continues to rule by executive order, it will only get worse.”

Climate change executive order

Schmitt joined 11 other state attorneys general in a suit against the Biden administration in March, fighting an executive order enacted by the new president. 

Executive Order 13990, signed in January, revoked a number of policies from the Trump administration while mandating their review. It also underscored the White House’s focus on clean energy and the environment. The coalition contested the expansion of federal regulations through the executive order, pointing to the potential impacts the mandates could have on various industries.

“Manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production are essential to Missouri’s economy and employ thousands of hard-working Missourians across the state,” Schmitt said in a statement. “From higher energy bills to lost jobs, this massive expansion of federal regulatory power has the potential to impact nearly every household in this state — that’s why today I’m leading a coalition of states to put a stop to this executive order and protect Missouri families.”

American Rescue Plan Act

Schmitt and 20 other attorneys general signed a letter March 16 asking the U.S. Department of Treasury to ensure the American Rescue Plan Act will not impede states’ ability to implement taxes, noting the act forbids states from offsetting reductions in tax revenues with COVID-19 relief funds.

“Congress should have no say or control over Missouri’s ability to cut taxes, and the American Rescue Plan should not hinder Missouri’s ability to cut taxes,” Schmitt said. “That’s why I joined this 21-state coalition — to get a clarification from the Treasury Department and ensure that the federal government isn’t overreaching into state tax policy.”

Keystone Pipeline

Schmitt joined 20 other state attorneys general on a suit against the Biden administration for the revocation of the Keystone XL Pipeline on March 17. The suit argued the administration did not have the authority to cancel the permit under the U.S. Constitution and violated the separation of powers by making a move relegated to Congress.

Schmitt backed a letter urging Biden to reinstate the permit in February. The letter alleged the revocation would lead to thousands of displaced workers and increase the nation’s reliance on energy produced in other countries. 

“The revocation of the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline is a job-killing decision that will burden Missourians with higher energy bills, including those who are already being crushed amidst the pandemic,” Schmitt said. “President Biden needs to reverse his decision immediately – the jobs and livelihoods of thousands are at stake.”

Immigration

Schmitt led 18 states in a letter asking the president to reverse the cancellation of Operation Talon, an ICE initiative focused on removing illegally present sexual offenders from the country in February. The letter argued the program’s cancellation could encourage predators seeking to illegally enter the country and exacerbate human trafficking. 

The program has not been reinstated as of April 13. 

Election integrity

In December, Schmitt threw his weight behind Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s challenge of the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The suit alleged the four battleground states leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic to alter voting laws improperly and sway the election. Schmitt led 16 other states in the amicus brief.

“The integrity of our elections is of critical importance to maintaining our republic, both today and in future elections,” Schmitt said at the time. “The stakes of protecting our Constitution, defending our liberty, and ensuring that all votes are counted fairly couldn’t be higher. With this brief, we are joining the fight.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case that same month.

China

Another notable suit was leveled against another country: Schmitt sued the Chinese government — namely the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party — alleging the suppression of important information and the silencing of whistleblowers over the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Missouri was the first state to do so, with Mississippi following shortly thereafter. 

“In Missouri, the impact of the virus is very real — thousands have been infected and many have died, families have been separated from dying loved ones, small businesses are shuttering their doors, and those living paycheck to paycheck are struggling to put food on their table,” Schmitt said of the suit. “The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their actions.”

The case is ongoing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

This story has been updated. It was originally published March 15.