GAO Praises Virginia General Assembly: 1st Legislature to Strike at Bloomberg Attempt to Capture AG Offices
(Washington, DC) — Today the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. (GAO) congratulated the Virginia General Assembly for becoming the first to act in response to Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to capture attorneys general offices to pursue his ideological agenda.
Bloomberg established a “State Impact Center” to hire and place “Special Assistant Attorneys General” (SAAGs), with the statutory authority of AGs, to promote policies of interest to Bloomberg. Incredibly, in applying for these privately funded attorneys — and public relations services promoting his own activism — Virginia AG Mark Herring offered to use his office “to advance the agenda represented by” the Center.
Thankfully, in a mid-day vote on Sunday adopting the Commonwealth’s budget, the legislature restricted monies appropriated to the OAG, precluding the arrangement Bloomberg’s Center has used to place 14 SAAGs in 10 states and the District of Columbia – so far.
The “Virginia OAG insists to the Court, as it has for weeks to media outlets, that it never actually participated in the Bloomberg-financed SAAG scheme”, said Chris Horner, a Virginia taxpayer and attorney for GAO in the FOIA suit Horner et al. v Herring. “This claim not only makes no sense in our case, but indicates OAG can’t get its story straight”, Horner continued. “After making the extraordinary offer to use the office “to advance the agenda represented by” Bloomberg’s group, AG Herring even publicly claimed “I’m glad Virginia is participating in its fellowship program”.
That this vote by the General Assembly was even necessary is itself incredible given that not one but four provisions of the Virginia Code already prohibit this unprecedented arrangement — as GAO has argued in ongoing litigation against Herring’s office for documents related to this scheme.
Today’s vote is a statement from Virginia’s elected representatives that Bloomberg’s money can’t buy a donor’s way into Virginia law enforcement. GAO applauds this vote by the Virginia General Assembly, while wondering, what’s wrong with the rest of these legislatures?
Government Accountability and Oversight, a 501(c)3. Source
From the Washington Times:
Virginia bill blocks Bloomberg from embedding climate lawyers in attorney general’s office
Virginia has become the first state to crack down on billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg’s effort to embed within the attorney general’s office privately funded lawyers dedicated to pursuing climate change litigation.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly inserted an amendment in the 2019 biennial budget requiring those working for the attorney general to be state or federal government employees — with certain exceptions — and paid solely with public funds.
Last week’s addition to the $100 billion budget bill, which goes to Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, for his signature, would appear to nix any effort by Attorney General Mark Herring to bring on climate lawyers paid for by the Bloomberg-funded State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the New York University School of Law.
Cheering the amendment was Chris Horner, senior fellow at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute who hailed Virginia as the first state to take action against what he has called “private mercenaries” engaged in “law enforcement for rent.”
“Sunday’s vote is a statement from Virginia’s elected representatives that Bloomberg’s money can’t buy a donor’s way into Virginia law enforcement,” Mr. Horner said in a social media post. “We applaud this vote while wondering what’s wrong with the rest of these legislatures.”
Full story here