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Lawrence Wasden

Attorney General

Biography & Background

My name is Lawrence Wasden. I was born in Caldwell and lived my young life in Nampa. As a child, I lived for a few years in Lewiston on Airway Avenue in the Orchards. My family moved back to Nampa when I had a sister born with some health issues. We then moved to Twin Falls where my father owned two pharmacies. I worked there as a teenager and went to jr. high and graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1976. I then went to college in Utah and on a church mission. Upon returning, I finished my degree at BYU in political science with a minor in English and graduated in 1982. I was admitted to the University of Idaho law school in 1982 and graduated and passed the Idaho state bar examination in 1985. I maintained Idaho residency while at college and during my church mission.

My first professional job was at the Canyon County Prosecutor’s office, prosecuting misdemeanor and felony crimes. After a couple of years there, I went into private practice in Nampa as an associate in the law firm of Hamilton, Clark and Michaelson. While employed there, the Owyhee County Prosecutor resigned and no attorney in the county wished to hold the position. So, I was sworn in as the Owyhee County Prosecutor and handled all of the civil and criminal work for the county while I also maintained a private civil practice in Nampa.

While at Owyhee County, I prosecuted a case concerning the murder of a police informant. That case was set for trial after I left office, so I turned the case over to the Idaho Attorney General and was also hired by the Attorney General to litigate tax cases. Ultimately, I was selected as the Deputy Chief of Staff and then the Chief of Staff to Attorney General Al Lance. In 2002, I ran for and was elected Attorney General.

My wife and I have been married for nearly 42 years. We have four children who are grown, married and have children of their own. We have 13 grandchildren. We are active church members and serve in our community and in the Republican party.

Top 3 Issues:

1. The Rule of Law. The Rule of Law means that everyone is bound by the law. I have taken an oath to uphold the United States and Idaho Constitutions and to perform my duties. Under the Idaho Constitution my duties are those provided in the Constitution (the Land Board and the Board of Examiners) and as “prescribed by law.” That means that the Legislature can pass a law to set the duties of the Attorney General. The legislature has done so and passed Idaho Code § 67-1401 which requires the Attorney General to, “represent the state and all departments, agencies, offices, officers, boards, commissions, institutions and other state agencies.” This law requires me to represent the state. As a result, I represent the people collectively and not individually. I am bound by that law. To do otherwise, would violate the Rule of Law. Some argue that I have chosen to represent the bureaucracy. That is not correct. Instead, I have chosen to obey the law. The law determines those to whom I give legal representation. The law also requires me to provide legal services to the Governor upon request. Idaho Code § 67-1406. As the Governor’s attorney, I cannot usurp the Governor’s authority or undermine his choices. To do so, would violate the law, my oath of office and my duties as an attorney. The principle of limited Government means that I must limit myself to the duties that are prescribed by law. I believe in the Rule of Law.
2. Texas v. Pennsylvania I chose not to join Texas in its lawsuit against Pennsylvania because that lawsuit was contrary to the United States Constitution. The lawsuit was not about election integrity. Instead, it asked whether Texas could sue Pennsylvania over Pennsylvania’s exercise of its sovereign power over its own election. Think about that for a moment. If Texas can sue Pennsylvania for its exercise of its sovereign power, then California can sue Idaho when we exercise our sovereign power. Do you think California or Washington should control Idaho? I don’t. That’s why I didn’t join Texas. Nearly alone, I stood up for your sovereignty. All nine members of the United States Supreme Court, including the three appointed by President Trump, said I was right. Texas could not sue Pennsylvania. California would love to sue us over exercising our sovereign power concerning water, abortion, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and a myriad of other things. The Governor of Washington would love to sue us over COVID-19. He has already said that Idaho is filling Washington hospitals with Covid-19 patients. Many people refuse to acknowledge the terrible precedent the Texas case would have set had the Supreme Court allowed Texas to proceed. Under the Rule of Law, every legitimate legal scholar recognizes this case as a unanimous decision by the United States Supreme Court that Texas cannot sue Pennsylvania and other states over this issue. I believe in the Rule of Law.
3. What I have accomplished. During the last year alone: A. My office recovered $44 Million. The legislature appropriated $26.6 million. For every dollar appropriated, we returned $1.66 for Idaho Citizens. For the 19th consecutive year we returned more money than was appropriated. B. The Consumer Protection Division obtained over $7 Million in consumer restitution. That amounts to $7.25 for each taxpayer dollar appropriated for consumer operations. C. We recovered $22 Million from tobacco companies stemming from the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. To date, these yearly payments have totaled more than a half billion dollars. D. We settled three opioid cases that will result in $120 Million that will fund opioid abatement for state, regional and local governments in Idaho. E. We filed three lawsuits over the Biden Administrations vaccine mandates. F. We among five states that filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s executive order changing the minimum wage for federal contractors. G. We continue to litigate one lawsuit against Facebook and two against Google. H. We recouped nearly $15.3 Million in Medicaid estate recovery. I. Our Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit received 1500 cybertips, opened 815 investigations and made 58 arrests and trained more than 100 law enforcement officers and will continue our training. J. Most recently, the Governor and I sent a letter to the Washington Governor opposing Washington’s proposed tax on gasoline exports. Washington has withdrawn its proposed legislation. I will continue to protect our children and defend the sovereignty of our state.

Integrity in Affiliation

Submission: Yes

“I have read the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Republican Party Platform. Except for the provisions specifically noted below, I support the Idaho Republican Party Platform and accept it as the standard by which my performance as a candidate and as an officeholder should be evaluated. I certify that I am not a candidate, officer, delegate or position holder in any party other than the Republican Party.”

My oath is to support the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions not the Party Platform. If they deviate, I support the Constitutions. That’s my duty. For example:

1. Article 1, supports the repeal of the 17th Amendment. Until amended, I uphold the Constitution as written.

2. Article 1, supports nullifying federal laws. Nullification is prohibited by law. The Court held that federal law cannot, “” be nullified . . . by state legislators or state executive or judicial officers.””, [and that], “”if . . . legislatures may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, . . ., the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery. . . . Cooper v. Aaron 358 U.S. 1, pp. 17, 19-20, (1958).

Until changed, I uphold the law as written.

3. Article I, supports amending the Idaho Constitutional reapportionment commission. Until amended, I uphold the Constitution as written.

4. Article X, supports the state’s management of federal lands. Until changed, I uphold the law as written.

5. Article XIV, Section 2, declares that, “Idaho is authorized to nullify any federal congressional act, federal mandate or court opinion that is contrary to traditional marriage.” I defended Idaho’s definition of marriage in the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Court held against us. Idaho cannot nullify a Supreme Court decision. Until changed, I uphold the law as it exists.

6. Article XIV, Section 3 claims that, “Idaho has the sovereign authority to defy the federal judiciary.” However, the Constitution provides that, “this Constitution, … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Law of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” The Idaho Constitution also provides that, “the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”
Idaho does not have the sovereign authority to defy the federal judiciary. Until changed, I uphold the Constitutions as written.

7. Article XIV, provides that, “we oppose all abortion.” My religious views differ slightly. Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is the taking of a human life. However, some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion.

8. Article 1, suggests that Congress should provide, “a more orderly process”” . . . similar to that of the Idaho Legislature.” Although I believe that Congress is broken and must be improved, I am not convinced the Idaho Legislature creates the best environment.

9. Article 1, provides, “the Federal Reserve Bank should be abolished. . .” I am uncertain whether the Federal Reserve should or should not be abolished.

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