Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes: No more ‘political lawsuits’

Jan 26, 2023, 11:37 AM

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes participates in a Martin Luther King Day celebration on Jan. 16...

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes participates in a Martin Luther King Day celebration on Jan. 16, 2023. (Twitter Photo/@AZAGMayes)

(Twitter Photo/@AZAGMayes)

PHOENIX – Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has withdrawn a student debt lawsuit filed by her Republican predecessor as she changes the direction of the state’s top legal office.

Mayes on Thursday called a number of former Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuits, including the one challenging President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive a portion of student loans for millions of borrowers, “highly political in nature.”

“We’re not going to be engaging in political lawsuits at the Attorney General’s Office anymore,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Mayes took office earlier this month after winning the closest statewide election in Arizona history. Her margin over Republican Abe Hamadeh was confirmed at just 280 votes through an automatic recount of more than 2.5 million ballots in December.

“This is an office that needs to get back to the core mission of fighting crime, prosecuting crime, prosecuting consumer fraud, going after and prosecuting elder abuse, protecting our water rights in Arizona,” she said.

“Suing the federal government over everything is not the answer, and it’s not what the people of Arizona want.”

Among her first moves were to withdraw the student debt lawsuit and pull Arizona out of a multistate investigation into companies engaging in environmental, social and governance investing, a practice known as ESG that has been vilified as “woke” by some on the right.

She said the student debt lawsuit was inappropriate and unlikely to succeed.

“You can anticipate that there will be a number of announcements in the coming weeks of us withdrawing from these lawsuits,” she said, declining to say which ones.

Last week, Mayes put a halt to executions after new Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs ordered a thorough review of the death penalty process.

Brnovich resumed executions last year after an eight-year hiatus that followed what some considered a botched case in 2014, when convicted killer Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours.

“We have the death penalty in Arizona, but in order to move forward for justice to be done, and because this is being done in the name of 7 million Arizonans, it must be done competently,” Mayes said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes: No more ‘political lawsuits’