The U.S. Justice Department is sending a message to state and local governments: Failure to comply with federal laws could have big consequences.
This year, most of the conversation has focused on whether sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities will be able to keep grant money for their police departments. But veterans of the Justice Department said that's only a piece of what could be at stake.
A little-noticed portion of a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed on March 31 directed his deputies to review local and state compliance with "all federal laws."
"I think it's cause for concern," said Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor who now works with newly elected district attorneys and state attorneys. "With federal money moving forward, there could be the potential for federal strings to be attached."