State Attorney General Alan Wilson says he is not a litigious prosecutor. He says he has more freedom in his elected position than attorneys general in other states, so he is often approached to join in major lawsuits.
“Some states can’t get involved because there are state laws that prevent them for doing so. Some don’t because the attorney general is appointed or the attorney general works for the governor or there is some other restriction. In South Carolina, the office has been around for 314 years, actually older than the state itself. The office has evolved over centuries and it is an office that it very important,” Wilson says.
He has mounted a few high-profile cases against the federal government since he took office in 2010, including defense of his state’s voter ID and immigration laws and a massive lawsuit to block the Affordable Care Act.
In the latest, Wilson is fighting a set of White House-backed banking regulations known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank).
“Dodd-Frank is to the financial sector what the Affordable Care Act is to the health care industry. It increases the size and power of the government in Washington at the expense of the States, our taxpayers and the Constitution,” Wilson says.
Wilson has problems with the entire Dodd-Frank law, but he is only opposing the parts of it that he says are unconstitutional. He joined a group of plaintiffs, attorneys general and banking interests, in challenging the new federal oversight.
He says the new law centralizes power and control over the finance industry with “unelected bureaucrats.” He says South Carolina invests millions of dollars of state pension funds with Wall Street firms.
“We have limited judicial review under Dodd Frank,” Wilson says. “If the federal government wants to liquidate a financial institution that the State of South Carolina is a creditor for, then a court only has 24 hours to hear the decision by… the Treasury Secretary. We won’t even know as a state until it is too late that the company was liquidated.”
“The Constitution allows Congress to have the power to create laws affecting bankruptcy throughout the country. This does away with bankruptcy law, ” Wilson says. ”It puts states like South Carolina and others as a second-class creditor and we can lose millions and millions of dollars.”
He uses the example of the state of Indiana’s pension fund not being able to recover about $6 million when the government restructured Chrysler.
Wilson also argues that the sweeping regulations, designed to remedy the banking troubles that led to recent recession, do nothing further with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
AUDIO: Wilson lays out the argument against Dodd-Frank (9:34)
The lawsuit is in the early stages.