On December 30, 2019, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller stands next to a painting that represents the time in 2003 when he argued a case in the United States Supreme Court. The painting hangs in his office in the Hoover State Office Building in Des Moines. (Jim Slosiarek / The Gazette)
MONKS – Democrat Tom Miller, already the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history, hopes to add four more years to his record in 2022.
Miller, 77, from Dubuque who is serving his 10th term as attorney general of Iowa, plans to announce his intention to be re-elected for another four-year term as head of the Justice Department of Iowa in an appearance at Polk County Steakhouse. fry fundraiser.
“I’m really grateful to the voters for giving me so many chances and I’m asking them another one,” Miller said in an interview. “I continue to be challenged, energized and fulfilled by the office, and we have a lot of things outstanding, I think. “
At the top of this ongoing to-do list are bipartisan, multi-state antitrust actions against big tech giants like Facebook and Google and continued efforts to direct the proceeds of the role-related multibillion dollar clawbacks. of Iowa in the accountability of pharmaceutical, tobacco and other conglomerates. for actions that were detrimental to consumers in Iowa.
“In some ways I think we’re doing the best job we’ve ever done in the GA office. We have some of the best people we’ve ever had in the office, ”Miller noted. “This office is never boring. There are going to be a lot of big issues that I’m not even aware of yet that will emerge over the next four years that will be difficult and we will do our best. “
Serving the interests of the Iowan has caused the Democrat to clash with powerful enemies in his legal battles – the tobacco industry, Microsoft, bank mortgage lenders and the “Big Pharma” prescription drug companies. And earlier this year, Miller released a report citing “damning” incidents of abuse and “extensive” cover-up that spanned decades detailing 50 complaints his office has received about allegations of sexual impropriety by Catholic clergy, non-clergy or spiritual leaders – including 17 victims who had never come forward before to report the abuse to authorities.
In addition, prosecutors in his office last year had worked with the 99 Iowa County prosecutors to put more than 300 offenders behind bars for life sentences during his two terms that lasted from 1979 to 1991, then from January 1995 to today.
Miller said that improving consumer protection has been a very important part of his office’s mission, including its role in 1998 as a key player in the landmark settlement framework agreement with major consumer companies. tobacco that has brought in over $ 1.36 billion to the state and saved countless lives as Americans have made a cultural shift away from tobacco use and marketing practices. He also joined multi-state efforts to successfully challenge Microsoft’s monopoly practices, secure a $ 600 million settlement for a data breach from Equifax, and make Iowa part of a settlement of $ 25 billion federal mortgage service for foreclosure wrongs as well as establishing a helpline to help Iowans struggling with mortgage payments during a period of deep national recession.
“I want to take consumer protection to an even higher level,” he said, exploring ways to establish a better “early warning system” for “classic frauds, like social security,” the IRS and the “grandparents” fraud “and the more” intractable “frauds. , like telemarketing. Having a history of aggressively fighting sweepstakes, scams and other consumer fraud has sent a deterrent message to potential criminals: “Don’t do business in Iowa because of the cases brought before us and the recoveries we made for the Iowans. ,” he added.
“I think there is a clear indication that by being aggressive we are not only helping the people of Iowa get money back, but by being preventative,” he said.
Miller was educated at Wahlert High School, Loras College, and Harvard Law School before serving in several positions, including municipal attorney in northeast Iowa and legislative assistant to the U.S. representative of then John Culver, whom he described as his “mentor and hero”. Miller said he initially set his sights on Congress, but a series of events led him to seek the attorney general’s office as the Democratic candidate instead.
After the retirement of US Senator from Iowa, Harold Hughes, in 1974, Culver ran for his Senate seat and a close friend, Mike Blouin, announced for the seat of Culver’s House and Miller ran for the Iowa Attorney General.
In 1974 Miller won the Democratic nomination but lost the general election to Republican President Richard Turner. He was first elected to his current post in 1978 after defeating Turner in a rematch.
Miller’s four-year hiatus from office came in 1990 when he decided to seek his party’s nomination as governor. But Don Avenson claimed the award, and Miller spent four years in private law practice in Des Moines before running for the post of attorney general. He held the position, which last year paid nearly $ 124,000, since.
Following a measure passed in 2019 by the Republican-led Iowa legislature that would have limited the powers of the attorney general to pursue the policies of the Trump administration, Miller and GOP Governor Kim Reynolds agreed that ‘he would seek her permission before joining a multi-state lawsuit. Under this agreement, she vetoed the bill. The Associated Press reported last year that Reynolds later turned down two-thirds of Miller’s requests.
Miller said in an interview that we were “really comfortable” with his decision to run for another term. “I have to go through a campaign, I admit, but I look forward to another term if the voters choose me,” he said.
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