How stupid does new Attorney General Josh Hawley think Missourians are?
Dumb enough, it appears, that they will fall for Hawley’s absurd claim that he doesn’t have to live in the state capital of Jefferson City even though that’s what state law appears to require.
In short, the guy who praised himself constantly on the campaign trail as a law-and-order guy doesn’t mind skirting — or flat-out violating — a law that specifically applies to him.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Kurt Erickson outlined what Hawley said when confronted about the situation.
Oh, wait, the Republican didn’t have the courage to publicly discuss it: “At the Capitol on Monday, Hawley declined to discuss his residency decision with the Post-Dispatch.”
Instead, spokesman Ryan Cross trotted out to say Hawley thinks he just has to work in Jefferson City, “not actually live within its borders.”
In reality, Erickson reported that Hawley lives in nearby Boone County — home to Columbia.
So does Hawley’s contention hold water?
Take a look at the state law. Section 27.010 says, in part: “The attorney general shall reside at the seat of government and keep his office in the supreme court building.”
Missouri’s Constitution explicitly names Jefferson City as the “seat of government.” The General Assembly has the right to “remove the seat of government” from Jeff City — but has not done that.
There’s more. The law literally outlines the distinction that the attorney general — after having to “reside” in a specific place — has to actually work in an office somewhere specific. That’s in the “supreme court building.”
People not involved in the political fight didn’t back up Hawley’s contention. And Democrats pointed out the ridiculous position taken by the new attorney.
— Jason Hancock (@J_Hancock) January 24, 2017
Later came this query from a journalist for St. Louis Public Radio:
— Jason Rosenbaum (@jrosenbaum) January 23, 2017
Missourians are smart enough to tell Hawley the answer: No one should have to spend time and money to ensure the attorney general actually follows the law.
Find a home in Jefferson City, Mr. Hawley, and start to “reside” there.