KEITH RIDLER Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — Idaho will add a new position of attorney general to challenge federal government policies and policies when Republican Raul Labrador becomes the state’s new attorney general in early January.
Labrador on Thursday announced two staff positions to be filled by former members of President Donald Trump’s administration: David Dewhirst will become Labrador’s deputy and Theo Wold will become attorney general. Neither is listed by the Idaho State Bar as authorized to practice law in Idaho.
Dewhirst resigned as attorney general for Montana earlier this month, a position he was appointed to in January 2021. He was that state’s first attorney general and sued the Biden administration over federal coronavirus vaccine mandates and the canceled Keystone XL pipeline project.
During the Trump administration, Dewhirst was Principal Deputy General Counsel at the US Department of Commerce.
In announcing the positions, Labrador said the attorney general will “ensure that the interests of Idaho are protected from federal encroachment.”
Only about a dozen states have solicitor generals. States range from generally conservative to generally liberal and include New York, Alabama, Ohio and Washington.
“I am committed to modernizing and improving the office, and these dedicated and trusted officers will help me achieve that goal,” Labrador said in a statement. “I look forward to serving the people of Idaho in building a more prosperous, safer, and free state.”
Ilana Rubel, the Democratic House Minority Leader, said Labrador’s early moves worried her.
“I really don’t expect the attorney general to be a warrior against the federal government,” she said, noting that lawmakers rely on the attorney general’s opinions on the legality of proposed legislation. “I remain confident that it remains an office willing and able to provide sound legal advice. I see some dangers at the moment.”
Wold has held several positions in the Trump administration. He was Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.
Labrador, who has promised to make the attorney general’s office more partisan, beat five-term incumbent Lawrence Wasden in the GOP primary in May and then easily won the general election this month.
At least eight attorneys have left the office before Labrador takes over, including the chief deputy and an attorney defending the state’s restrictive abortion laws. The law firm has a total of 132 legal positions.