Behind the eco-curtain: How Bloomberg Pays to Prosecute the Trump EPA

By Chris Horner and Victoria Toensing

The State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, a group created by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2017, is hiring and placing lawyers in the offices of state attorneys general. The mission of the group, which is led by a former Interior Department official and housed at New York University’s law school, 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.” At least one of the two Bloomberg “special assistant attorneys general” placed in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is involved with the prosecution of Exxon Mobil for its supposed offense of “climate denial.”

Emails obtained under a public-records law show that the center submits detailed biweekly reports to Bloomberg Philanthropies. State legal officers taking money from private funders to pursue policy outcomes desired by those funders is inherently suspect. It also raises questions about the laws governing gifts, campaign contributions and bribes. To the extent these Bloomberg-funded lawyers are involved in prosecutions, it raises serious due-process concerns as well.

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg. By Bloomberg Philanthropies – https://www.flickr.com/photos/bloombergphilanthropies/29828795984/, CC0, Link

The NYU law center’s principal focuses are thwarting Trump administration policies and advancing a green agenda. “The gist is that Bloomberg is funding through NYU some fellowship positions for midcareer environmental litigators to be farmed out to State Attorneys General to join the fight against Trump’s rollback of our environmental protection laws and regulations,” wrote Maryland’s Deputy Attorney General Carolyn Quattrocki in a November 2017 email to colleagues. Bloomberg-funded lawyers are currently assisting in dozens of lawsuits against both the Trump administration’s regulatory reforms and private entities involved in any business contrary to the green agenda.

The office of New York’s then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked the NYU center to send two Bloomberg-funded lawyers in 2017 because it was understaffed and wanted to “expand” litigation against the Trump administration and private parties. Without a privately underwritten special assistant attorney general, Mr. Schneiderman’s office claimed, it would have trouble “opposing the Scott Pruitt nomination as EPA administrator, advocating for the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Accord,” and pursuing other green political goals, such as “building models for two different types of common law cases to seek compensation and other relief for harm caused by fossil-fuel emissions.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s application got straight to the point. His office would use Bloomberg resources “to advance the agenda represented by” the donor. Only the intervention of the state Legislature stopped him from doing so.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, whom Bloomberg supported in a 2013 primary race and who served as the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center’s lead recruiter, heavily redacted his office’s request for Bloomberg resources, forcing the public-interest law firm Government Accountability and Oversight to file suit to obtain the full application. The suit revealed that Mr. Frosh requested a $125,000 salary plus benefits for his Bloomberg-funded special assistant. Mr. Frosh appointed the lawyer under his “pro bono special counsel” authority. The term “pro bono” is generally understood to mean that the client doesn’t pay the lawyer. But under Maryland law, as affirmed in the 2015 case State v. Westray, it also means “the attorney represents the client without compensation.” Mr. Frosh had no legal authority to enter this arrangement.

The scheme is more troubling the closer one looks. Mr. Bloomberg is a major donor to Democratic politicians and causes. He has made electing progressive attorneys general his priority. Two Bloomberg-funded groups, Independence USA PAC and Everytown USA for Gun Safety, put more than $2 million into electing and re-electing Mr. Herring.

The State Energy and Environmental Impact Center has placed at least 11 special assistants in eight attorney-general offices. There could be more, but the center has stopped announcing new placements, possibly as a result of scrutiny from groups like ours. 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. These agreements to serve a donor-driven agenda threaten the legitimacy and important work of attorneys general offices. This apparent trade in buying and selling official functions demands a full public airing and unbiased reckoning.


Originally published in the Wall Street Journal here

Mr. Horner is an attorney and member of the board of directors of Government Accountability and Oversight PC. Ms. Toensing is a partner in the law firm diGenova & Toensing, which represents GAO in its lawsuit against the Maryland Attorney General.

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Behind the eco-curtain: How Bloomberg Pays to Prosecute the Trump EPA

  1. This looks like a violation of campaign finance law, and arguably would also fall under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, for violations of civil rights under color of authority.

    • It looks pretty close to bribery as well.
      Offering to support, but only if they agree to prosecute people disliked by the donor.

  2. “State legal officers taking money from private funders to pursue policy outcomes desired by those funders is inherently suspect.” Suspect if should be illegal. I am certain that if a similar scenario was playing out relative to similar behavior from the skeptic side of the aisle. It is bad enough that we have supposed tax exempt environmental groups, e.g., Environmental Defense Fund, that send lawyers into help and even lead the way but to have lawyers paid for by outside groups is corruption of the worse kind.

    However one of the legal ploys that was used in our state when the Democrats were in charge was to contract with various law firms to handle cases. Often they would get a consent degree that provided them with the excuse for long term contract renewals.

    • How will that complete a rational sentence :

      I am certain that if a similar scenario was playing out relative to similar behavior from the skeptic side of the aisle.
      __________________________________________________

      Is the beginning. To what ends.

  3. I don’t know if this is strictly prohibited by the US Constitution regarding separation of powers, but it ought to be. Private individuals should not be able to emplace their own personal armies into public controlled institutions. It subvert the entire purpose of democratic elections and undermines the trust in governmental institutions.
    We expect governmental institutions to be somewhere between ineffective and incompetent, but at least not biased toward or run by private individuals.

    • Keep in mind that these efforts are being pursued at the state level, not national. The Constitution regulates federal behavior, not the states in these sorts of matters.

      • Much of the activity, coordination, and funding are interstate. Federal RICO laws should apply.

        • If there is no federal law against the activity, there can’t be a RICO situation. Not federal, anyway. States may have their own versions.

  4. Wow. Blatantly corrupt, publicly corrupt, shoving this down peoples’ throat whether they want it or not and

  5. I wonder if the state’s Attorneys General accepts donations from Bloomberg?

    You bet they do.

    • Not just AGs – There is information rattling around that Washington’t Governor, Inslee, previously a prosecuting attorney, gets a significant paycheck from the Bloomberg fund. There are many questions being raised about the ethical propriety of this practice. Questions like ‘who does the Governor work for if his paycheck does NOT come from the State Treasury?’

  6. “State legal officers taking money from private funders to pursue policy outcomes desired by those funders is inherently suspect.”

    I would rate that as the understatement of the year.

  7. Yesterday there was this:

    Berkeley to consider another environmental first with proposed ordinance banning new natural gas hookups.

    California is banning coal fired power plants effective 2027.

    Is California ready to ban gas-powered cars? Not yet. But they’re thinking about it LINK

    How long before they convict and sentence deniers to re-education camps? Or worse?

    • Re-education camps would probably not work as intended.

      “A man convinced against his will
      Is of the same opinion still”

      ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

  8. Bloomberg wants to go behind the backs of the American People to get his personal agenda implemented.

  9. How is this not a RICO violation of the foundational principles of the US Constitution established by We The People?
    Specifically, the separation of powers where ONLY the Legislature is authorized to legislate the use and allocation of taxes and ONLY the Executive is authorized to spend those funds. Bloomfield is establishing an unelected 4th branch that both provides partisan funds INDEPENDENT of the Legislature AND then spends those funds working directly WITH the Executive Branch for a Partisan outcome.

  10. Participants in the Bloomberg crime syndicate should be subjected to extended Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act investigation, prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment.

    • The problem is, who’s going to prosecute them. They are already the highest legal authority in their state and the US Dept of Justice is filled with left wing activists who approve of this kind of behavior.

  11. This illegal misconduct has been discussed previously on wattsup. Here are two previous comments:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/31/law-enforcement-climate-schemers-get-exposed-by-tv-ads/#comment-2505954

    ALLAN MACRAE October 31, 2018 at 3:53 am
    Re the comment in the article: ‘this is OUTRAGEOUS!’

    If true, this situation is much more than ‘Outrageous’.

    This is the subversion of the Law through bribery – this is serious criminal conduct, the destruction of Rule of Law, the very basis of national prosperity and personal security.

    Excerpt from the article:

    “Citing to key records from each AG’s office, the exposés lay out the tie-ups between a ‘Center’ funded by New York billionaire activist Michael Bloomberg, and various state AGs across the country. Each AG specifically requested the outside group provide attorney salaries and benefits, as well as other “services that may be available to your offices on individual matters”, including still more attorneys, and public relations advocacy, to “advance progressive…legal positions” on specific issues.

    For the word ‘progressive’ above, read ‘Marxist’. Progressives follow a Marxist agenda, but many are just too stupid to realize it.

    In my opinion, the above conduct is treason.

    Tom Abbott October 31, 2018 at 6:07 am
    “If true, this situation is much more than ‘Outrageous’.

    This is the subversion of the Law through bribery – this is serious criminal conduct, the destruction of Rule of Law, the very basis of national prosperity and personal security. ”

    That’s exactly what it is. ‘Justice’ For Sale. Buying and using the Power of the State for partisan political purposes.

    People ought to go to jail over this.

    • Agreed, though I will not hold my breath.

      Some time ago, I cancelled my WSJ subscription.

      I’m going to cancel DirecTV (ATT) and redirect the funds to WSJ.

      There are very few news sources worth paying for.

    • Allan, what’s the case here:

      For the word ‘progressive’ above, read ‘Marxist’. Progressives follow a Marxist agenda, but many are just too stupid to realize it.

      Is the case here Marxist?

      __________________________________________________

      What jurisdiction bases on “Marxist”.

      Go on. Allan. You should know better.

    • Allan,

      Basing your jurisdiction on a word, being the word “Marxist”,

      You have no case at all.

      But you’re opposing freedom of mind and speech. Baseless.

      How about that.

  12. In the world of your average leftist, morality is determined solely based on whatever helps them.
    You can bet if the NRA would try to do something similar, Bloomberg would be demanding jail terms for the perpetrators.

    • MarkW,

      In the world of your average leftist, morality is determined solely based on whatever helps them.

      __________________________________________________

      And the case?

      average? leftist? morality?
      __________________________________________________

      You didn’t even begin to try.

  13. “State legal officers taking money from private funders to pursue policy outcomes desired by those funders is inherently suspect.”

    You’re damn right it is.
    We seem to have entered an alternate universe where people can get away with some pretty outrageous things as long as they claim to be saving the planet.

  14. The State Attorney Generals using these privately funded lawyers for in-house work are also violating their state constitution by avoiding funding oversight from the Legislative Branch.

    The SAGs are part of the executive branch. Their official duties and work MUST come from appropriated funding from their legislature. Using non-appropriated funded staff to pursue legal actions to include subpoenas and or case investigative work is patently unconstitutional. Any work they produce as officers of the state is therefore illegal and the courts and the State Bar overseen by the Sate Supreme Court must sanction these actions by those SAGs. It is a no-brainer.

    Another reason that any action these SAGs take in these matters using these non-appropriated attorneies will be thrown out of court by any judege who is not biased and actually follows the law.

  15. Suggestion above re NRA trying the same stunt.
    Surely this is the quick and easy way to rubbish the Bloomberg plan.
    Simply set up groups to offer what Bloomberg does, with more attractive commercial terms.
    Being proper does not stop you from being cunning. Geoff S

  16. Another charming aspect of the USA’s deep left deep state, is permanent and unconditional racist loathing of Russia. Thus the grief-stricken denial of the Mueller report across the left. The US representative in the US Nikki Haley publicly declared “we will never be the friend of Russia”.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/423422-us-russia-stalemate-haley/

    With both Russia and Iran, US foreign policy is taking up and raising high the meme of “untermenschen” (German for subhuman) that was wielded by another state in the last century.

    If you’ve got dark skin you’re a holy cow, of course. But if you’re Russian or Iranian, you are subhuman. In your case, racism is just fine. There does not need to be any reason for eternal hostility to these racial enemies of the United States of Left Wing America.

    Sieg Haley! Way to go Nikki!

  17. The surface has been barely scratched regarding this subject. The “Rabbit Hole” of corruption has been slowly dripped out to the public so as to help people process the level of corruption that exists in America and the world. Now the pace is about to increase considerably. These authors are part of a new movement which the elites throughout the world are terrified of.

    For multiple centuries nations, races and religions have been manipulated into wars and conflict by those such as Bloomberg. They have to always conduct their schemes in secrecy in order to keep others fighting each other. Meanwhile these same groups collect the spoils from both sides. The fact that they have to wade through spilled blood in order to gather the treasures of the fallen and defeated not only does not phase them, it delights them. One of these secrets is that there is no winner only losers in these wars set off by deception, propaganda, disinformation and what today has been called out as Fake News.

    Trumps election has threatened to expose countless areas of corruption that people like Bloomberg are involved in. Follow the Brian Epstein case closely. There are many High Society people involved who are panicking because they need to keep their appearance of being above the rest of society when the truth is that they live lives which when revealed to the public will instill nausea and unbridled anger.

    People throughout America and the world who have personas of sophistication and wealth are systematically being stripped of their masks. Hollywood celebrities, political leaders, kings and queens, entertainers and MSM talking heads will find it impossible to walk the streets once their secret are revealed.

    Many here on WUWT have the life skills to handle the level of depravity and corruption that is in the process of being shown to the world. Still I implore everyone to be kind and compassionate to themselves and each other as the Darkness is brought to Light. Your mental and emotional strength will be sorely needed by most of society as we travel through this turbulent time.

    With that being said I want to say to many here at WUWT,.. Thank You for all the hard work that you have done and are still doing in your life. Your dedication to truth is a Treasure.
    And Most of All,…Thank You Anthony.

Comments are closed.