Opinion

Bloomberg Privately Funds Attorneys in State AG Offices While Running for President

BloombergMichael Bloomberg’s billions aren’t just buying ads. In at least two Super Tuesday states, his money funds private lawyers working inside attorneys general offices, advancing his political agenda on the environment.

One Democrat AG compares accepting this private funding from a political candidate with federal funding from “President Trump’s” Department of Justice.

Bloomberg Philanthropies gave $6 million in 2017 to create the New York University School of Law’s Environment and Energy State Impact Center to provide lawyers to state attorneys general whose sole focus would be on environmental and climate change lawsuits and regulatory actions.

Massachusetts and Minnesota, whose Democratic voters will go to the polls on Super Tuesday, are among at least 10 states where activist attorneys are working for the state AGs offices but are paid through the Impact Center. Their mission is to promote state legal action to advance Bloomberg’s political views, such as lawsuits against energy companies.

“Candidates who are approved by the attorneys general and the State Impact Center will receive offers to serve as SAAGs (or the equivalent appropriate title within the office) from the attorneys general, based on an understanding that they will devote their time to clean energy, climate change and environmental matters,” Impact Center Executive Director David J. Hayes wrote in an email inviting attorneys general to apply for the program.

Hayes is a former deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Department of the Interior for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

The email, obtained by Climate Litigation Watch, was sent to attorneys general offices in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C., on Aug. 25, 2017. The email noted that the State Impact Center would pay the law fellows’ salaries and explained that each would be an experienced attorney in environmental or related law.

New York participates in the program, and in December lost what environmental activists had dubbed “the trial of the century” against ExxonMobil. Originally brought by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the three-week trial ended with state Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager ruling that the energy giant had neither misled investors about the impact of climate change nor broken any state laws.

In the run-up to the trial, lawyers for ExxonMobil objected to what they saw as a conflict of interest in having “two employees of private parties who are currently working in the [New York] Attorney General’s Office … selected and paid for by private interests who were pursuing an agenda” involved in the case, according to a court transcript. ExxonMobil attorney Justin Anderson said the lawyers are “compensated entirely by this third-party … that’s funded by Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy.”

Kevin Wallace, acting chief for the Investor Protection Bureau for the New York Attorney General, accused ExxonMobil of “picking on an individual, a young lawyer.” Emails from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh obtained by Climate Litigation Watch, however, indicate that the legal fellows are experienced attorneys.

“Do you know anyone five to 10 years out of school who would be interested in saving the planet from the predations of [former  EPA Administrator] Scott Pruitt and [former Interior Secretary] Ryan Zinke?” Frosh emailed to the dean of Yale Law School. Frosh served as a recruiter for the State Impact Center program, frequently exchanging emails with Hayes.

A spokesman for the State Impact Center declined to answer questions about the program, including whether anyone other than Bloomberg Philanthropies has provided funds for the legal fellows program. The spokesman also declined to comment on whether there was a conflict of interest with Bloomberg running for president while funding assistant attorneys general in at least 10 offices.

“The nonpartisan State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law brings academic rigor and independence to its mission of supporting state attorneys general who are protecting existing environmental regulations, addressing climate change and respecting the law,” spokesman Tom Lalley said in an email. He also declined to name any participating attorneys general who are Republicans to back up the “nonpartisan” description of the program.

Most of the attorneys general offices known to be participating in the program declined to comment either on the program or on the potential conflicts of interest accepting funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office participates in the program, is suing ExxonMobil in a case that bears several similarities to New York’s. Healey’s office declined to comment.

A spokesman for New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas compared private money given through an individual’s foundation to federal tax dollars.

“Our office accepts fiscal support from President Trump by way of the Department of Justice, as well as NYU, because the Attorney General is independent and only focused on representing the interests of New Mexico,” said spokesman Matt Baca.

Although Bloomberg is a late entrant to the Democratic presidential primary, he has already far outspent his opponents. According to Advertising Analytics, he has spent $209.3 million on broadcast television, $13.7 million on cable, $1.1 million on radio, and $27.2 million on digital ads. His Super Bowl ad reportedly cost $10 million.

Bloomberg’s campaign is entirely self-financed, and he is presenting himself as a centrist in a field crowded with candidates from the progressive left. The Democratic National Committee recently dropped a requirement that candidates receive a minimum number of donors to qualify for debates, prompting an outcry from some former candidates who were unable to meet the arbitrary thresholds that Bloomberg was using to buy his way to the nomination. Bloomberg skipped the Iowa Caucuses to focus on Super Tuesday states.

Steve Milloy, founder of JunkScience.com and a senior fellow with the Energy & Environment Institute, severely criticized Bloomberg’s donations to New York University and the legal fellows program.

“God help anyone on the right who tried to do that,” Milloy said. “The Left and allies in the [mainstream media] would be in total outrage mode if they discovered that the NRA or pro-life movement had funded state AGs to carry out the groups’ political agenda.”

A spokeswoman for the NRA scoffed at the privately funded program.

“No one should be surprised,” said spokeswoman Amy Hunter. “This is yet another example of billionaire Michael Bloomberg using his money to impose his personal agenda on the American people. He wants to be emperor of America, and make every citizen his subject.”

Reprinted with Permission from - Insider Sources by - Jessica R. Towhey

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Shirley

Whatever the dems accuse others of they are doing ten times over. It is the only way they have a chance is to buy it.

PaulE

Nothing new here. Bloomberg, as well as Tom Steyer (the other “progressive” billionaire in the race for the Democrat nomination), have both been funding state races across the country for quite a while. They’ve been doing this for years. The goal of both men has been to elect as many so-called “progressive” (socialist) Democrats in various states as possible. That way they can get control of state legislators to enact progressive policies and the judicial system to deem them all valid in various states. What they both want is a Democrat monopoly, like they California and New York, replicated nation-wide.

Burt R hamm

If Trump did that the House would draw up Impeachment Papers the same day.

Bill hastings

And Soros reportedly funded local DA elections and lawyers are at the heart of fisa/mueller/deep state. And if we help Donald Trump he will beat them all to the great glory and well being of this great nation. Protect the Bible and Constitution from all deceivers.

Betty Haga

All conservatives better wake up and do everything in their legal power to vote President Trump back in and vote to take back the house. Pelosi and her do nothing impeachment cult need to be defeated. We need to do it for the preservation of our country and for our children and grandchildren’s sake. Do we want them to grow up in a Socialist nation? Absolutley NO, NO NO!

Sarah Pursley

Must be nice to throw around millions and millions of dollars so you can get what you want even though what you want is disastrous for your country.

Diana

Remember this guy wants GUNS gone RELIGION, gone wants the Constitution Gone his is a lying thief and hope he really looses every dime he works against America Americans he also wants China to get control his money his nose all about China , Pete that guy is an immoral pig a pervert, not to mention he wants our GUNs and Religion gone as well most likely even the hole. Constitution, Bernie is a Communist what the hell is wrong with the Americans we would never allowed this garbage in our government we all better start paying attention and teaching our children the TRUTH because they are next in line and what they are being taught is a disgrace and against America, scab these teachers, Fire the inappropriate ones, same for judges and any of these politicians I have never seen our government act and work against America and the… Read more »

Michael J

State Attorney generals are usually in lockstep with their govenors, and they tend to be their personal enforcers rather than the watchdog of the people. In California, the AG has personally allowed confusing propositions on the ballots to further his govenor’s demands than that of the people.
State AG are supposed to hold the government accountable, not the citizenry, we have lessor courts for that.

Mike B.

Bloomberg, Styer and Soros are like the people who control the government in Russia and previously the Ukrain. They are rich and enjoy their privllege and want the power to control its citizens. This must not be allowed in America. Unfortunately there are many who can and will be bought.

Joanna Johnson-Smith

He has ALREADY bought and paid for numerous, Democrat Governors. HOW on earth can this D_ckhead Dwarf be allowed to run for office under those circumstances?!?!?

Veteran

While they are perpetually trying to fool the cognitively impaired into believing they are for the people all these leftist, “elite”, globalist/socialist/communist billionaires are nothing but a bunch of wannabe feudal monarchists who want to remove the ladder up from our society in the form of any advancement. What made America great and helped them to get where they are now, they now see as a threat to their personal empires; that’s why they have as their goal the destruction of America’s middle class and equal poverty and slavery for all but them. If you believe that the likes of Bloomberg, Soros, Steyer, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, Omidyar, and Buffett have the good of the people at their heart and want to represent the poor I have a tropical resort in Greenland at a reasonable price for sale. Bloomberg figures buying all these attorney generals will later pay off when he… Read more »

mytake

His ego has the best of him. Power monger.

Paul DAscenz

Any State that buys in to Bloomberg’s 🐂💩! Proves that they are for Socialism/Communism.
Bloomberg, wants to be the 21 st Century Stalin. Trump 2020! Trump Jr.2024!

Paul

Just a dull leftist trying to buy his way in. Loser.

Shoe

It is almost like Bloomberg made his billions and then an evil spirit took over his brain and now wants to destroy America

R N

Gonna get impeached before the election for being unethical in swaying votes!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Stephen Russell

Hey Sanders do U know this?? Hey Dems wake up & Bloomberg hates farmers & working Joes.
Like Soros buying legal help??> Is this Legal?

Steve

What we need, sadly, is 50 years of communism followed by a revolution in order to prove for the 100th time that
government does not, and never has, worked. Government attracts only those of limited ability. Any smart person
with ambition joins the private sector. This is a fundamental reality. It is a law of nature.

Lorey

Funny soldiers in the seventy we’re accused of double dipplng serving country & the companies that supplied the war effort. They were told they couldn’t by the demonrats. Now 50 years later people who r lawyers 4 the government r gonna get paid by both. Isn’t this considered double dipping? But then demonrat have been doing this 4 the last 30 years

Steve

I think Bloomberg, Soros, and Steyer should fund the entire federal budget so that the rest of us pay no tax.
If the left were smart , which they aren’t, they would demand that the government be funded by only
wealthy liberals which would enable the left to control everything.