‘There is no limiting principle on partisan appropriation of public legal offices other than that the donor and the cause be acceptable in certain polite circles…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Public records requests have revealed the extent to which former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is corruptly using state attorneys general to advance a political agenda by embedding attorneys in their offices.
Now, lawyers representing the federal Government Accountability Office are pushing back with lawsuits of their own to expose the crooked—and likely illegal—arrangements.
Bloomberg, one of the top donors to the Democratic Party, established the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, which is technically operated by and housed in New York University’s law school.
The organization’s stated mission is to provide ““direct legal assistance to interested attorneys general on specific administrative, judicial or legislative matters involving clean energy, climate change and environmental interests of regional and national significance.”
The center uses grants to provide state AG’s offices with litigators who are not only financed by Bloomberg’s philanthropy arm, but also report back directly to it.
A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal shed additional light on the scheme, which has placed at least 11 “special assistants” expressly for the purpose of thwarting President Donald Trump’s environmental policies in eight state offices—including New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia.
After the operation was exposed, Virginia’s GOP-led legislature passed a law that prevented the state agency from making outside hires without approval.
However, considerable outside money now is being directed at making the Virginia legislature blue in its upcoming state elections, which would likely lead it to dial back the law or else refuse to enforce it.
Additionally, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was sued last month by the Government Accountability Office for using the privately funded attorneys to embark on a legal crusade against ExxonMobil—despite their having ties to an anti-Exxon activist campaign, the Daily Caller reported.
“State legal officers taking money from private funders to pursue policy outcomes desired by those funders is inherently suspect” wrote GAO board member Chris Horner and attorney Victoria Toensing in the WSJ op-ed.
“It also raises questions about the laws governing gifts, campaign contributions and bribes,” they wrote. “To the extent these Bloomberg-funded lawyers are involved in prosecutions, it raises serious due-process concerns as well.”
Not only are the far-left attorneys general involved in the shady operations, but some also have attempted to cover up their tracks.
While Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was candid in his request about his unabashedly partisan effort “to advance the agenda represented by” Bloomberg and his cronies, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh returned a heavily redacted application in response to public records requests.
That prompted another GAO lawsuit to force the full disclosure of the application.
It later revealed that even though the Bloomberg lawyer was appointed on a “pro-bono” basis the lawyer was receiving $125,000 plus benefits as compensation, noted the WSJ piece, which said under Maryland law he “had no legal authority to enter this arrangement.”
Bloomberg also offered millions to support the political campaigns to elect both Frosh and Herring.
While the brazenness of the operation was concerning in and of itself, the legal implications and potential precedent established by allowing it was even more frightening.
“If no other state joins Virginia in standing up to Mr. Bloomberg’s scheme, there is no limiting principle on partisan appropriation of public legal offices other than that the donor and the cause be acceptable in certain polite circles,”said the WSJ op-ed.
“These agreements to serve a donor-driven agenda threaten the legitimacy and important work of attorneys general offices,” the article continued. “This apparent trade in buying and selling official functions demands a full public airing and unbiased reckoning.”