Thank you very much. It's great to be home. I've been in a long time. I was born in Caldwell a long time ago in Caldwell Memorial Hospital. And I wanted to make mentioned of my wife, Tracey, she's here, my wife, my campaign manager, and you all know her.
Very interesting that as you pay attention to each campaign, you'll recognize that each candidate discloses their character.
First of all, let me ask for your vote on May 17. That's really important.
This campaign is about the rule of law. What does that mean? That means that each of us, including the Attorney General, are subject to the law. I don't get to make up words to put in the law, and I don't get to take away words from the law. I'm not the person who makes the law. That's the legislature. So I don't get to make it up.
The Attorney General's job is to call balls and strikes fairly and squarely. What does the Constitution actually say? What does the statute actually say? I often refer to this as a red light. If you and I are driving down the road, we see a traffic signal. You ask me, what color is the light? I can give you one of two answers. I can tell you the truth, and I can see the light is red. You get upset and say that simply because you're a red light lover. Or, I can lie to you and I can tell you the light is green.
The problem is, if I'm willing to lie to you, it does not change the color of the light. And when you go through the intersection, you are at risk. So, my job is to look and say, what color is the light? We talked about checks and balances and having an agenda in the Attorney General's office. The agenda ought to be to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state that I have taken an oath to do.
Texas versus Pennsylvania. Let's talk about it. Why didn't I join that case? How many of you here believe that California should control Idaho?
Not a one of you. Do you know why? That's the reason I didn't join that case, because that case wasn't about the integrity of the election. That case was about - could Texas, a sovereign state, sue Pennsylvania, a sovereign state, for what Pennsylvania did, exercising its sovereign power over its election? That's what that case was about.
And in fact, the United States Supreme Court, all nine justices, including the three that were appointed by Donald Trump, said I was right. Who is it who stood to defend Idaho's sovereignty? It was me. And I did so nearly alone. It wasn't to file a political lawsuit so I could get my name on Fox News. It was because we were at risk in that lawsuit. You want to talk about a bad precedent? That would have been a bad precedent. It would have said California could sue us over our water, our guns, abortion, you name it, they could sue us. That's why I did not join that lawsuit.
Now, what did I do regarding vaccine mandates? The President of the United States issued two executive orders and a directive. First, the executive order was regarding federal employees. The state does not have a legal interest in the employment responsibility between the President and his employees, so we didn't do that. In fact, no state did. The federal employees have brought an action. That's what they're supposed to do.
Number two, the President issued an executive order concerning federal contractors. We have state universities that are federal contractors, but they're part of the state. So we filed an action against the federal government saying, you can't control the elements of state government. We are continuing to pursue that case.
Third, the President of the United States did not issue an executive order he issued a directive to OSHA and said, OSHA, any company that has 100 or more employees, we want you to write, what's called, an emergency temporary standard, which is essentially an emergency regulation and require them to mandate vaccines. We filed an action against that standard, took that all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court didn't deny the case. What it did was it said, we're going to issue a stay on the implementation and, by the way, the reason is because the States are going to win. Now in the state of Idaho, I signed those documents. I was a participant. Ultimately then, we went back to OSHA and said, you're going to lose this, you need to withdraw your emergency temporary standard, which they did.
We also filed action on the CMS case, the Center for Medicaid Medicare Services. We also went to the United States Supreme Court to issue a stay and the court, unfortunately, did not see it the same way we did, but we are continuing to litigate that case, and we'll see where that goes.
There was another lawsuit filed by the state of Louisiana concerning Headstart. Why didn't I join that case? It's because the law is different in Louisiana than it is Idaho. In Idaho, we did not choose Headstart as a state-run program. It's a federal program, so that the individuals are agreeing to those federal requirements. So if I file a lawsuit, I'm actually inserting the state between the parent and the child. That's not where we should be.
So what did we do instead? We joined the separately situated States, and we sent a letter to the head of Headstart and said, you don't have the legal authority to do that. So we were trying to protect, again, our sovereignty, and play the right responsibility with regard to our constituents.
Why do I believe that I represent state agencies? Do you know why? It's because that's what the law says. Idaho Code section 67-1401 says Attorney General it is your duty to represent the state and to represent state agencies and to represent state officers, that's not a choice.
I don't get to just make stuff up. I don't get to add words and I don't get to do something different from that. The rule of law says that's my responsibility. I file lawsuits, not political suits.
What have I done? This past year, we recovered $44 million for the state of Idaho. We were appropriated $26.6 million. That means for every dollar I was appropriated, I returned $1.66 to you, the citizens of Idaho.
Consumer protection. We recovered $7 million for consumers. That is for every dollar we were appropriated, we returned $7.25 to Idaho consumers.
I recovered $22 million from tobacco companies.
I recovered $120 million in three opioid settlements that goes to the state, counties, and the cities, and regional governments.
ICAC, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. We had 1,500 cyber tips. We conducted 815 investigations. We completed 58 arrests. That's more than one a week. Those are people on the internet that are pursuing to harm your children.
Abraham Lincoln said, ”Put your feet in the right place and stand firm”. That's what I have done. I don't get to make up the law. I don't get to make up policy. Policy means what you think the law should be rather than what the law actually is.
I don't usurp the authority of the governor. I don't usurp the authority of the legislature. My job is to be the attorney, not have my own agenda to push on the people of Idaho. I ask for your vote on May 17. Thank you very much.