A bill passed Wednesday by the state Senate gives state Attorney General Brian Frosh up to $1 million to hire five attorneys to help his office challenge federal policy. The measure, which already passed the House, is a direct response to executive actions taken by President Donald Trump.
Republicans questioned why Frosh needs the money, given that his office has money already for 30 currently vacant positions.
“This body has given the attorney general, already over the past five years, including this year, over $5 million in a slush fund for positions that were never filled,” said Sen. Robert Cassilly, who represents part of Harford County. “There’s absolutely no reason to provide any more money to the attorney general’s litigation slush fund.”
Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for Frosh, said the office must keep 19 jobs empty because of budget constraints, and 12 are non-lawyer jobs.
She also said several jobs are paid for by “special funds” and must go to lawyers with specific expertise under the terms of that funding. For example, one position funded with federal money must be filled by a lawyer who specializes in Medicaid fraud cases.
The legislation was one of 27 bills sent Wednesday afternoon to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature. He has until April 5 to decide whether to veto the bill, sign it or let it become law without his signature. Hogan has been very critical of the measure, but spokesman for the governor Doug Mayer would not say whether the governor will veto it.