A.G. Continues Skirmishing

Nov 13, 2017

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry appeared on C-Span last week and was asked about the duties of the state’s chief legal officer.

"Over the last couple of decades, you’ve seen the role of attorney generals become more and more important as the federal government has encroached more and more on the state’s ability to govern itself," said Landry. "And you’ve seen attorney generals push back on those particular federalism issues."

Yet when asked for specifics, he seemed to contradict the spirit — if not the fact — of "pushing back on federalism."

"We’ve got a plethora (sic) of issues that we’re working on," Landry said. "On the civil side, we just created a federalism department, working on important constitutional issues. On the criminal side, one of the biggest sections is the Medicaid fraud unit — to help root out corruption, fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid system."

Medicaid is, of course, primarily a federally-funded and regulated program.

The A.G. was also asked about sanctuary cities — where police don’t question arrestees about their federal immigration status.

"Those cities that engage in sanctuary city policies see a greater crime rate, and really, it’s just common sense," he said. "When you disregard the law, you’re basically setting the tone. You just say, ‘Don’t worry, you broke the law, but there are some laws you don’t have to worry about following.’ And I think that that continues to breed criminal activity."

Landry has been urging state lawmakers to enact penalties against sanctuary cities — specifically New Orleans — since he took office in January 2016. That city is under a federal consent decree regarding profiling, which effectively prohibits cops there from questioning arrestees about their immigration status.

Still, Landry insists: “New Orleans, I think, by having that particular policy is only exacerbating the violent crime epidemic that is in that city right now."

Lastly, Landry was asked to comment on his recurrent clashes with Gov. John Bel Edwards.

"I don’t disagree with him. He seems to disagree with what the law is here in Louisiana," the A.G. insists.

Subsequent to his C-Span appearance, Landry went on the offensive against one of the governor's signature achievements — Medicaid expansion, saying, “It is exacerbating the opioid problem that we already have."

The Edwards administration and the state Department of Health dispute that assertion, issuing a statement that: “Since the first month of Medicaid expansion (July 2016) to August 2017, there has been a 40.1-percent decrease in the amount of opioids dispensed for average claims.”