COLLUSION: Climate Campaigners and State Attorney General offices

CEI Report Details Campaign to Privately Fund State Attorney General Offices to Advance Climate Change Legal Positions

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today released a report, “Law Enforcement for Rent,” detailing how activist donors are paying to place prosecutors in state attorney general offices to pursue an expressly partisan agenda.

According to the author, CEI Senior Fellow Chris Horner, private interests underwriting the law enforcement power of the state raises ethical, constitutional, and other legal questions.

“Public records obtained by CEI show a pattern of law enforcement offices turning to off-the-books payments for privately funded lawyers to push a political agenda that was roundly rejected at the ballot box by the American people,” said Horner. “The scheme raises serious questions about special interests setting states’ policy and law enforcement agendas, without accountability to the taxpayers and voters whom these law enforcement officials supposedly serve.”

These public emails and documents reveal the details of an unprecedented, coordinated effort between environmental groups, plaintiffs’ lawyers, and major liberal donors using nonprofit organizations to fund staff, research, public relations, and other services for state attorney general offices. One nonprofit uses a center, established by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to pay for Special Assistant Attorneys General (SAAGs) for the AG offices that agree to advance progressive legal positions. Offices that have taken on board a privately funded prosecutor are Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Senior attorneys from the activist AG offices have even flown in to secretly brief prospective funders of another nonprofit, Union of Concerned Scientists, which has recruited AGs and served as their back-room strategist and advisor on this since at least 2015.

Records show this campaign to use the legal system to achieve political goals began as an informal coalition in 2016. That coalition disbanded under pressure from open records requests and media scrutiny. Eventually, it morphed into this new scheme to privately fund and place prosecutors in offices that promise to use “additional attorney resources” to “pursue progressive clean energy, climate change, and environmental legal positions.”

“Members of this coalition have already abused their law enforcement power by targeting opponents of their political agenda. They subpoenaed CEI in 2016 for a decade worth of private documents and donor information, trampling our First Amendment rights,” said Horner. “Fortunately, CEI took them to court and they backed down. Now, records show, others such as New York’s AG sought private funding specifically to pursue climate investigations. This mercenary use of state law enforcement power should be the subject of prompt legislative oversight.”

Note: The public records cited in this report were obtained over two and a half years from open records requests, and in some cases, by court order after some attorney general offices stone-walled the requests. CEI is releasing most of these documents here for the first time.

View the CEI report — “Law Enforcement for Rent: How Special Interests Fund Climate Policy through State Attorneys General

h/t to WUWT reader “Neo”

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95 thoughts on “COLLUSION: Climate Campaigners and State Attorney General offices

  1. Yet another example of leftist pressure groups running the world by subterfuge.

    Western progress in general is being stifled by these people.

    • “Public records obtained by CEI show a pattern of law enforcement offices turning to off-the-books payments for privately funded lawyers to push a political agenda that was roundly rejected at the ballot box by the American people,” said Horner. “The scheme raises serious questions about special interests setting states’ policy and law enforcement agendas, without accountability to the taxpayers and voters whom these law enforcement officials supposedly serve.”

      If true, is this not corruption, pure and simple, and is it not an indictable offence, punishable by prison time?

      It seems that these power-hungry “watermelons” always believe that “the end justifies the means” in their primary objective – to CONTROL everyone’s life.

      To be clear, their objective is not environmentalism, socialism or egalitarianism, it is the lust for POWER.

      The pattern of socialist movements is clear from the history of over one hundred failed countries – this is the path taken by sociopaths to gain absolute, abusive power and control of a society, by duping fools into believing there is an easy way to a better life.

      • After reading the report, I was aghast. The offending AGs allowed private prosecutors, who were beholding only to their private paymasters, to work in the Offices of said AG under the auspices of a public umbrella.
        How is this any different than if the Police department started allowing ‘private deputies’ to promote their own form of special interest justice on the streets?

          • How is that relevant? Should we be forced to join unions? The closed shop is the bane of civil rights. It creates classes, cuts off the workers from management, entrenches conflict and undermines other forms of cooperative management.

          • The fact that they don’t have unions is why the Democrats oppose private prisons.

            Perhaps you should stop projecting?

  2. Outrageous. I wonder if victims of these hired attorneys could sue the private organizations that funded them, as it is nothing short of a form of harassment and conspiracy.

  3. Essentially the report documents an attempted coup d’etat. They are trying to establish a republic in which philosopher-kings (people like themselves) are in charge while the hoi polloi (people like us) are to be lied to to keep them in their places – and on their knees

    • hoi polloi means “the many ” or “the people” hoi being the definite article.

      “the hoi polloi ” means “the the people” or “the the many”. If you want to drop in snippets of ancient Greek to appear smart , best to get it right, otherwise you don’t.

      • Tell me – do you cite an article by the major newspaper in the City of Los Angeles as “According to Los Angeles Times…”

        If not, you have the linguistic hypocrisy award for the day.

        • “Los Angeles Times” is a proper noun. “The Los Angeles Times” is quite correct, as is”the La Palma Gazette.”

          Pick another nit.

      • I was not writing Greek, I was writing English;and in English grammar the ‘the’ is perfectly normal usage. If it’s good enough for Henry Miller, it’s good enough for me.

        • According to Merriam-Webster: ‘Since hoi polloi is a transliteration of the Greek for “the many,” some critics have asserted that the phrase should not be preceded by the. They find “the hoi polloi” to be redundant, equivalent to “the the many”—an opinion that fails to recognize that hoi means nothing at all in English.’

          Here are some quotations from writers who disagree with ‘some critics’:
          1668 Dryden: Of Dramatick Poesie 65 If by the people you understand the multitude, the οἱ πολλοὶ.
          1791 in C. Wordsworth: Scholae Academicae (1877) 323 Poor Quiz Carver is one of the οἱ πολλοί.
          c1821–2 Byron in Lett. (1830) I. 633: [We] put on masques, and went on the stage with the οἱ πολλοι.

          So, you stick with ‘some critics…who fail to recognize…etc’ and I’ll stick with Dryden, Byron and the good Bishop Wordsworth who was not only a poet but also a noted Greek Scholar with an edition of the Greek New Testament to his name.

      • Greg, spare us your unnecessary & boring pseudo-intellectual word-policing. We know what Photios meant.

        • Thank you for your support Beng. However, I think ‘word-policing’ may not really be what Greg is about. I think that, perhaps, he disagreed with my substantial point States Attorney-Generals but did not feel sufficiently able to argue against it – so he took an ad-hominem swipe at me through my grammar. Well, he appears to have missed and hit the wall.

  4. As an Australian, I often wish that crooked Americans would cease demonstrating bad illegalities like these, for they get adopted in other countries.
    Mind you, each day it develops further that greenery had some hold over the former Prime Minister here and that sadly that hold, if real, seems to be continuing for the very new PM. Geoff

    • Geoff – I think you will find this sort of official corruption is already well-entrenched in the Magna Carta countries, including Britain, Canada, Australia and the USA.

      The corruption in the family law business is one such example, where extremists have taken control of the agenda, and have caused great harm to families, and especially to children.

    • I always wonder if they have some alien mind control worm 🐛 in their brains connecting them to their collective evil master.
      It’s the Only rational explanation aside from the pure pursuit of power over other people.

      • I think it’s simply utter disregard for their fellow human.
        Not a jot of care or concern in any way.

    • You inherited it from England a long time ago mate, just like the US 😀 #colonies
      Look at all of the former colonies, all of em are as bent as a 9 dollar bill, from Oz to Africa, bent as heck.

      Cronyism and nepotism are everywhere, part of the human condition, but this special kind of managed and controlled and very sophisticated corruption, was spread by the empire.

      Nigeria is still mired in it to the hilt, there they took it so far that you needed to bribe the bus conductor just to get a seat, and a guilty or innocent verdict in court depended purely on whether you could pay for an innocent verdict. If you wanted to see a doctor, pay up,then pay up again for the doctor’s actual services.
      Bribes became a part of the culture. Where do you think they learned that as it was not part of tribal cultures in the region before Britain had its colony.
      A secondary cause is, the British massed over 1000 rival tribes into one geographical entity and favoured one over the others.
      Lavished tribal leaders with wealth so they would control their tribes.

      Read The State of Africa. Very good book.

      As I said, nepotism is a human trait, but sophisticated corruption that transcends tribal loyalties is a very Empire thing. Belgian, German, British and I don’t doubt Eastern Empires too

      Education.. education enabled such systems to be developed, all that was needed was some greedy people to make use of said education 🙂

      • Corruption, graft, “introductions”, slavery, domestic violence and gross abuse of human rights was well established in African conqueror tribes long before the beginning of written records. The introduction of new kinds of exploitation and grasping materialism only made things worse.

        I say that as someone who lived for 30 years among people who killed other races as casually as you swat a fly, and who were feared slave catchers, a fact now suppressed behind a dark curtain of denial and convenience. The noble savage is a vain imagining.

  5. Pretty sure the same thing is happening in Australia. Think “Adani” using overseas activist funds to fund court action. Assuming the non-profits are non taxpaying orgs then it is no wonder the govt are not getting enough tax revenue – maybe the tax dept is green as well.

    • gowest

      I was thinking about how to reword your sentence: “Think “Adani” using overseas activist funds to fund court action.”

      Given the legal context I think the best choice is: “Think “Adani” using overseas activist funds to procure court action.

      “Procuring” is in this case an activity whereby one party seeks legal whores to service the predilections of political Johns who are in turn whoring themselves to Big Green.

      It puts a new cant on, “They are in over their heads.”

  6. That things like this are going on is why the US needs an actual Attorney General. Sessions seems to be captured by the “professional” staff at the Justice Department, who are mostly acting as if they represent the DC electorate–93% Democratic Party.
    The various State AGs should face Federal civil rights suits or prosecutions for these antics, but under the current AG, it will happen about the eleventh of never.

    • Don’t forget George Soros had (has?) an effort to influence the election of state AGs. Per Politico Aug 30, 2016:

      “Billionaire financier Geoge(sic) Soros has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district attorney campaigns in six states over the past year.”

      This is why I wish there were a Constitutionally acceptable way to allow political donations to be only from the jurisdiction in play. (E.g. no Hollywood money to Texas or Long Island races).

      (If I recall however, most of George’s candidates lost!)

      • I could agree to that if your US Representative and Senator were to promise to only vote on legislation that affected only your state.

        • I disagree. Representatives and Senators should be prohibited from voting on any measure that affects ONLY their constituency – we need states men and women, not people looking to gain voting support by funneling Government largesse to their constituents. Should have a similar prohibition at the state level.

          • Retired Engineer … they get around that appearance already by having Omnibus bills for the entire country with each section of the bill favoring one constituency.

  7. This mercenary use of state law enforcement power should be the subject of prompt legislative oversight.

    That’s bad. It means it’s not illegal. It means the only way to stop it is if state legislatures crack down on the practice.

    If the practice was illegal, the call would have been for enforcement. If it was a tort, they would have sued. The best we can hope for is that it becomes an election issue.

    Prosecutors going after political enemies is what they do in tin pot dictatorships. When President Trump sics his folks on the Democrats, they squeal like stuck pigs. link When the shoe is on the other foot, they are remarkably silent.

    • When the shoe is on the other foot, they are remarkably silent.

      That silence of the lambs being ignored always occurs because the favored groups attacking their political enemies are the favored groups of the national mass media. When democrat party groups are doing the attacking using the many state, county, and federal attorney generals, the democrat-socialist-party press corpse is dead silent – many times even applauding the extra law suites and complaints and fines and penalties. As that story shows, it is ONLY when a democrat-favored group is challenged that the charge becomes “political”.

    • Money dissolves integrity and there’s a big globalist slush fund out there.
      Everyone has their price.

      • Not everyone has a price, Tim. Some people are incorruptible.

        Some of those fine people are even attorneys. But, at least in most cases, incorruptible lawyers are incorruptible despite their legal training. They are taught to be mercenaries, advocating what they do not believe, for a price. In fact, they are taught that legal ethics and professional responsibility require them to do so.

        Of course, “donations” and legal fees are different. Attorneys are not necessarily bribable. But my guess is that when someone has spent much of his life as a legal mercenary, it weakens his resistance to influence by politically-motivated “donations.”

        • Even the “incorruptible” have their price, it just might not be monetary, and it might not be easy to discover, but they have it (it’s human nature).

          In regards to the overall subthread, I’m remind of this old story:

          Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?

          Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…

          Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?

          Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!

          Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

    • So, American ” Justice” for sale? What a surprise – not!

      Similar activities take place everywhere. Only the methods differ. The EU ‘system’ is different with the same (desired) outcomes.

  8. The PPP mania in full swing – PublicPrivatePartnerships. Even an attempt to privatize the Afghan War (Prince). Even trying to sell NASA and the ISS, using private oil refueling for the Navy. It is but a short step to private AG’s from eToll highways. Even Snowden said BoozAllen contractors had more clearance than the NSA staffers.
    It reeks of von Mises anti-Big-Gov’t radical economics – very ironicly coming from the C.E.I. itself.

    • I’m pretty sure von Mises was opposed to government authority in general regardless of the source of funding (or degree of corruption).

    • The very idea that government shouldn’t run all our lives drives you bonkers.

      Big government is evil. Period. End of Sentence.

      • I thin we have big government because people think it is necessary to protect us from Big business, big labour, big health problems, big environmental issues, etc. The reality is that big government is as bad or worse than any of those things.
        The fact that it is distant from individual lives is both a blessing and a curse.

        • Big business, big labor etc is only a problem when they join up with big government.
          By itself a business can’t force you to buy their products or to work for them.
          To do that they need the collusion of government.

          Monopolies are impossible unless enforced by government.

  9. So, it’s legal for activists to directly fund activities by government on their behalf? What could go wrong? Jail me for leaving my dog in the car on a cloudy 78 degree day with the windows down for 3 minutes?

  10. Is there any special reason the referencing is so bad?

    A large number of references are statements claiming that someone said something. They say that the actual source documents are located on another website, but don’t actually bother to link to them.

    If the original documents are available, then why aren’t the claims linked to the sources directly?

    “Due to the volume of records, not all cited records are included in the body of this paper. Key documents are provided in the paper’s appendix, which can be accessed at CEI.org. The complete collection of documents cited in this paper is available at ClimateLitigationWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight. ”

    I’m not comfortable with making statements about what was going on or what was said or meant without actually quoting the text, and instead just saying “it’s in a this document, which I’m not providing a link to, or relevant quotes from.”

  11. As PJ O’Rouke wrote, “When government controls buying and selling, the first thing bought and sold will be politicians”.

    Our government is out of control and it’s getting worse.

  12. “They subpoenaed CEI in 2016 for a decade worth of private documents and donor information, trampling our First Amendment rights,”

    But, if CEI has nothing to hide, that’s ok, right HotScot?

    • In a word, “YES”.

      CEI is a private organization, with the same rights as an individual.
      I don’t think YOU would like to have all your records published on a neighbors whim.

      In contrast, AG offices are public, paid for with our tax dollars.
      In addition, I expect my AG to be neutral in matters of law.

      BTW, most groups like CEI and Heartland have been burned by the left’s tactic of publishing names and addresses of PRIVATE donors with the intent of encouraging harassment of those people by the left’s more fanatic followers. Heartland for one had to close previously public records because of this. Peter Gleick then infamously committed mail fraud to get these donor records in order to distribute them to activist organizations for that expressed purpose.

    • While I don’t generally like the “if you have nothing to hide” argument (because it’s so abused), in this case I have to side with HotScot. Because in this case we are talking about public entities that are bound by FOI law, and they flouted that law in order to avoid handing over documents that in the end (as decide by the courts) should have been released. When something like that happens, it is more permissible (in my mind) to question their motives.

      • Paul, we’re not talking about public entities, we’re talking about private organizations like CEI. The whole phrase is a non-starter for me, though. By definition, public entities aren’t allowed to hide anything, so the phrase doesn’t apply to them, as much as some would like it to.

  13. As bad as politically-motivated prosecutions are, I’d say politically-motivated refusals to prosecute are almost as bad.

    For example, consider the case of Dr. Peter Gleick, who committed identity theft, and impersonated a Heartland Institute Board Member, to steal internal Heartland documents, hoping to find something incriminating that he could use against them.

    He didn’t find anything incriminating, so he forged it! He created a defamatory fake Heartland “strategy memo,” which contained snippets from the stolen documents (to make it look real), intermixed with nefarious Heartland “strategies” from Gleick’s delusional imagination, such as a supposed plot to “dissuade teachers from teaching science.” Then, with the help of DeSmogBlog, he distributed the forged and stolen documents far and wide, to smear Heartland and the people associated with that fine institution.

    Fortunately, Gleick’s delusions were not limited to climate alarmism and imaginary conspiracies by Heartland. He also had an absurdly high opinion of his own prominence and importance — so much so that he inserted into the fake document an incongruous reference to himself, with the strangely flattering description of himself as a “high-profile climate scientist,” in a document which said nothing complimentary about any other climate activists. What’s more, he apparently didn’t realize that his own writing is idiosyncratic in quite a few ways, from word choices to punctuation, which made the forged document recognizable as his own work, which led to his being identified as the perpetrator.

    Eventually, after he had been publicly identified, Gleick confessed to being the person who had impersonated the Heartland Board Member to steal the other documents, and who had distributed the forged and stolen documents, to smear Heartland.

    He denied being the forger, but his denial was a very obvious lie, since the reason he got caught was that his own idiosyncratic writing in the forgery gave him away.

    Gleick should be in prison. It was an open-and-shut case of multiple felonies, committed across State lines (Gleick in California, Heartland in Illinois). Heartland petitioned the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to prosecute him, but the U.S. Attorney (an Obama appointee) declined to prosecute.

    By the time the new Republican Administration took office and replaced the U.S. Attorney, the statute of limitations had run out for Gleick’s crimes.

    So Gleick got off scot-free.

    The episode didn’t even hurt his career much. He took a brief vacation from his position as head of the Pacific Institute, but was swiftly reinstated. The AGU let him “resign” for “personal, private reasons” as chair of AGU’s Task Force on Scientific Ethics, and did not revoke his AGU membership. The NAS did not revoke his membership, either.

    Leftist publications like The Guardian and Scientific American ran articles whitewashing his crimes, and even, in the case of The Guardian, denying the obvious fact that Gleick was the forger. Gavin Schmidt publicly minimized the significance of the scandal, and attacked Gleick’s victims (Heartland). National Geographic’s (now thankfully defunct) ScienceBlog subsidiary even rewarded Gleick with a blog there; he was their resident “scientist, innovator, and communicator” on “global water, environment, climate” (and presumably identity theft, fraud, character assassination, and forgery). Michael Mann and Huffington Post still sing his praises.

    • Now I cannot but think, that the greatness of a kingdom, and its changes into prosperity, often becomes the occasion of mischief and of transgression to men, for so it usually happens, that the manners of subjects are corrupted at the same time with those of their governors, which subjects then lay aside their own sober way of living, as a reproof of their governor’s intemperate courses, and follow their wickedness, as if it were virtue, for it is not possible to show that men approve of the actions of their kings, unless they do the same actions with them.

      (Flavius Josephus – 37- 100 AD)

    • There is an alternative world, where Gleick is a hero and there is no evidence that the Heartland doc is forged let alone by Gleick.

      We can see the desmogblog is a well-funded PR firm. Just read Wikipedia to note their good damage control on Gleick.

      And, the horror. Google rates dsb very high on keywords like Roy Spencer.

  14. Pffffft what do the people know? We progressives have superior insight and a mission to save the world. “By all means necessary”

  15. Unbelievable! This is like me buying a cop a doughnut and asking him to harass somebody for me. How is this not an offence of corruption?

  16. How could this be? The liberals are becoming more embolden to further their agenda. The general public needs to be informed about this situation in a manner which makes clear what is happening.

  17. …Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia…

    Translated that means, Democrats, Democrats, Democrats, Democrats, Democrats, and double ‘D’ Democrats.

  18. So much for Gov. of the people, for the people, by the people, maybe buy the Gov. is more fitting.

  19. Don’t believe that this is unique or a method used to just advance the AGW position. It has been done in various ways over the past couple of decades depending on what state you are in. One method is for a state agency to contract with attorneys in such a fashion so that the attorneys push a given political agenda, usually not the state’s, but never bringing the issue to a resolution. The attorneys or law firm get a nice taxpayer’s funded income for decades while at the same time demanding the court require the state to spend millions on the problem.

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