Searching the name “Brian Frosh” on the internet, one finds wonderful headlines for news stories such as:
He is suing FAA over airport noise
Suing EPA on power plant pollution
Urges Supreme Court to uphold weapons ban
Suing Trump for violating emoluments clause
“..is leading the country in fighting Trump’s hateful agenda.” (Really, the COUNTRY?)
When you ask most citizens what the job is of the Maryland Attorney General, they will say that it is to protect the interests of Marylanders. Indeed, the stories above illustrate a story of an Attorney General who is doing his absolute best to fight FOR the causes that impact citizens. One of the most high-profile stories of 2017 involving the Maryland Attorney General is the one involving the voter information that Trump’s voter integrity commission wanted: Frosh weighed in and said “NO”.
Once again, Mr. Frosh is the hero of the story! A social media page (public face) for Mr. Frosh has the following comments on the voter integrity news story he posted:
“I’m so thankful to know you stand for MD citizens”
“Thank you! (Please run for governor!)”
“Thank you for protecting our rights!”
“Thank you for your work on behalf of the people Maryland. We are grateful for your service and integrity.”
Sometimes public faces match up with the private one. Sometimes, they don’t.
This past Monday, a story hit the newspapers about Brian Frosh, the Attorney Grievance Commission, and an appeal involving Ty Clevenger’s quest to have a complaint about some high-profile attorneys taken seriously and investigated. The story’s headline is “Maryland Attorney General Seeks to Derail Probe Into Hillary Clinton’s Lawyers”.
The. Maryland. Attorney. General. Is. Doing. What?
As is quite visible in the comments for the story, people have a whole lot to say about their surprise that Mr. Frosh is involved. The Attorney Grievance Commission, according to their website “..is dedicated to protecting the public and maintaining the integrity of the legal profession.” The first two sentences on the “About AG Frosh” page reads, “Brian E. Frosh is working to ensure fairness, equality and justice for all Marylanders as the state’s 46th Attorney General. Fulfilling a pledge to serve as the people’s lawyer, Brian is focused on keeping communities safe, on limiting environmental damage by polluters, and on protecting Maryland consumers from fraud and predatory business practices.”
This is why so many people have the belief that his office works FOR Marylander.
But, the “our office” tab reads, “The Attorney General’s Office has general charge, supervision and direction of the legal business of the State, acting as legal advisors and representatives of the major agencies, various boards, commissions, officials and institutions of State Government.”
Okay, and THAT is the path from where the truth can be found.
The Attorney General’s office represents the state government.
That needed to be said, and that’s a whole lot different than representing citizens. In fact, that is ABSOLUTELY different! Being that I too was a person who thought that the AG actually represented MY interests as a Marylander, I’m in a great position to say how much it has floored me to learn that there are situations in which that office would potentially work AGAINST me. Admittedly, it’s partly because I don’t do so well when I learn that public and private faces don’t line up to each other.
“We work w/law enforcement to prosecute those who threaten communities w/violence, drug trafficking & gang activity.” (That’s from Mr. Frosh’s July 28, 2017 Twitter post.) That sounds great, and it definitely gives the impression that they work for what’s right…the truth, even.
So seeing a headline from the Capital Gazette that reads “Maryland Attorney General’s Office appeals judge’s order to investigate Clinton lawyers” was enough to make quite a few people scratch their heads in bewilderment. (to be accurate, it made quite a few people say essentially “here we go again… some ole bullshit in Maryland”, the comments for both stories will confirm). For everyone who wondered “why in the world is our AG filing stuff like that, aren’t they supposed to be concerned with getting to THE TRUTH?”, the statement from the AG’s website that essentially revealed “Look, we represent the agency and are doing what they want us to do” should tell you ALL you need to know.
The ACLU is on this campaign called Hey, Meet Your DA! to make voters aware of the importance of the people running for state’s attorney elections due to their critical role in the criminal justice process. I suspect they learned about the horrid numbers of people who either didn’t vote in state or local elections or who just voted for the girl/guy whose face and name is plastered around town the most. These are my words, not theirs. And if a name/face is what wins elections for people, then Mr. Frosh is well on his way to a re-election bid or a run for governor (will be interesting to see what’s next for Brian). And if the news tidbits his office circulates concerning multi-million dollar settlements reached gives voters the impression that his office is doing great things for Marylanders, then I suppose that might help him also.
I’m going to do everything in my power to get folks the information that they need to know before making decisions concerning such an important office: Attorney General. For instance, in a press release they say parties, “..will be notified if they are eligible to receive restitution from a settlement fund of $213.35 million. The balance of the settlement fund will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with state law.”
So, who gets that money exactly? And who has gotten money from these settlements? Which Marylanders? They (AG) should be revealing this information CLEARLY for people.
“Public confidence in the system” is something Mr. Frosh used to explain why they are trying what they are trying with the appeals court in the Clevenger case. In the midst of a climate of fake news, I’m not alone in saying that people are sick and tired of getting stories fed to them that are watered down for the optics or worse never revealed to them at all due to whitewashing by government.
Understand, before commenting, that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with Democrat vs Republican. I’m so sick of people lumping groups of people together with ideologies into Democrat or Republican buckets. What should be transcending EVERY issue and EVERY “party” FIRST is right vs wrong. Anyone suggesting that “I had to do it, I had no choice, it’s my job” is actually a viable defense for doing what is WRONG… has taken a wrong turn somewhere and needs to be course-corrected. When those people are public officials, it’s up to the public to do it. Some principles shouldn’t be compromised, and I’m tired of accepting politicians and “officials” who pass the buck to avoid having to do what’s right (even though it’s unpopular). Those who look the other way are just as bad.
Finally Mr. Frosh, YOU have perpetuated whatever culture exists at the Maryland Attorney General’s office. If your perspective is truly one of “I just do what I’m told to do…whatever the client wants”, then you should be relieved of your post next election cycle. Granted, the good ole boys and those who want things to stay as they’ve always been in Maryland will work to keep you in place, and they may actually be “the public” that you really work for. But ask yourself, how many more since the last election have jumped on the “things need to change” bandwagon? That’s the team I’m working for… and I’m not alone!
Your private face is coming out into the open sir. You should ask yourself, “is that good news?”
More on the Attorney General’s office in subsequent posts.