Shoemaker urges Franchot to 'quit playing politics' in response to Alabama abortion law

Shoemaker urges Franchot to 'quit playing politics' in response to Alabama abortion law
Carroll Delegate Haven Shoemaker (R-District 5) takes his seat on the floor of the House of Delegates on the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

After Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot asked officials to review whether the state’s pension system has investments in Alabama, Carroll County Del. Haven Shoemaker sent a letter to him decrying the move.

The letter from Shoemaker’s office urged Franchot to “quit playing partisan politics over the sovereign state of Alabama’s recent actions to abortion.” Franchot had made his announcement after Alabama enacted a law that bans almost all abortions.


Shoemaker said in his letter to Franchot that he is “dismayed that you have decided to opine on a matter that rests solely within the province of Alabama’s elected officials.”

In the letter, Shoemaker went to compare Franchot’s actions to those of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

“You may recall that I have taken Attorney General Brian Frosh to task for doing this same sort of thing regarding this penchant for wasting tax dollars on filing frivolous lawsuits against President Trump” Shoemaker said in the letter. “I am disappointed that you are endeavoring to take a page from this same playbook, ostensibly for partisan political purposes.”

Franchot posted on Facebook Thursday that he has “no direct control over the behavior of Alabama lawmakers would thrust their religious interpretations upon those they are paid to represent.”

Franchot said he’s asking the pension system’s managers to review any assets that the state has in Alabama and whether it works with any investment managers or brokers that have offices there.

He also said he will ask the retirement system not to send any employees or trustees to Alabama for any meetings or conferences.

At the end of the Shoemaker’s letter, he suggested that Franchot shift his focus.

“In essence, what you should concentrate on is investigating Maryland’s pension funds where it can earn the greatest return,” Shoemaker said in the letter.

Regardless of the letter, Franchot still has not frayed from his original mindset.

“Comptroller Franchot regards Delegate Shoemaker as a nice guy,” Alan Brody, press secretary to the comptroller, said in an email Friday afternoon. “However, as vice chairman of the State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees, the Comptroller is well within his bounds to seek more information about the state’s investments with Alabama-based entities. Furthermore, he will continue to be a fierce advocate for women’s rights that are under assault in Alabama and other states.”

Alabama is the latest state to pass laws further restricting access to abortions. Bills restricting abortions have also been passed or are moving forward in Missouri, Louisiana, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio and Georgia, among others.

Many believe that the Alabama law, or one of the laws from another state, will make its way to the Supreme Court. Supporters hope Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this report.