GAO Asks Court to Compel New Mexico AG to Stop Stonewalling in Discovery, Provide Answers to Questions About Work with Activists and Activist AGs

Reposted from Government Accountability and Oversight.

CHRIS HORNER GAOIn The News

EPA reveals AGO’s claim that records are shielded by “pending litigation,” secrecy pact directly contradicted by New York Attorney General claim to WSJ

Albuquerque, NM, December 8, 2020 – The public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. (GAO) and local counsel Pat Rogers have filed a Motion to Compel answers in litigation discovery against a stonewalling New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, in a lawsuit filed under the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) on behalf of the government-transparency group Energy Policy Advocates (EPA). GAO seeks to end six months of AG Office obstructionism, hiding records relating to its work with outside parties to, as one document sent to a Michael Bloomberg-funded activist group that placed attorneys in Balderas’s Office puts it, “identify ‘pressure points’ on which litigation can be used to most effectively influence policy.”

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AG Balderas has extended his refusal to release public documents and information, keeping secret his work and even contracts with outside activists, the tort bar and other state AGs to advance private ideological, political and financial agendas. As EPA’s Motion notes, the AG’s Office has refused to provide good faith answers and an adequate privilege log, explaining why to EPA’s lawyers in one call: “This is a very confidential matter.” This claim is irrelevant, if telling, and EPA now seeks compelled responses and sanctions against Balderas’s Office.

As the Motion notes:

The [IPRA] requests relate to a multi-state campaign by certain offices of state attorneys general to coordinate the advancement of a sweeping private policy agenda. Although this campaign was undertaken in consultation with outside activists and other parties, these AG offices are obscuring their involvement under so-called common interest agreements. These common interest agreements themselves are being withheld, now in discovery, so that the Plaintiff, the public and the Court are expected to simply trust OAG that the details of these common interest agreements—which in turn are used to justify the withholding of volumes of public documents—do represent valid common interest agreements, and are legally privileged.

Although Balderas’s Office claims that the records detailing this coordination are privileged because of imminent litigation it plans to file, the Motion notes “The author, ringleader and lead signatory of the effort to shield discussions about suing to obtain federal “climate” regulations [New York Attorney General Letitia James] has just publicly denied that the parties have moved beyond such theoretical discussions, and flatly admitted that there is no reasonably anticipated litigation Defendant can point to supporting the claim that a preposterously broad purported common interest agreement shields the records Plaintiff seeks”. This admission by New York’s James was reported in a Wall Street Journal story by reporter Tim Puko that ran just last week, seeking to dismiss the reporter’s interest in these same machinations.

The Motion also notes:

The Defendant has invoked these secret common interest agreements to withhold correspondence to and from outside parties, and at least one Power Point presentation prepared by an outside activist, while also withholding the very agreements themselves. Both the purported common interest agreements at issue in this case and certainly the correspondence with outside parties that the Defendant continues to withhold  are of enormous public interest and importance for the light they shed on the use of a critical public office and public funds to pursue and keep secret a private agenda, the actual work of the “quasi-public employees” involved and the details of the collaboration between plaintiffs’ attorneys, private partisan political donors, ideological activists and states’ attorneys general.

In New Mexico the AGO is specifically commanded by law to enforce the Inspection of Public Records Act but is now holding itself above the law it is obligated to enforce. In so doing, AGO attempts to avoid New Mexico citizens’ right to the sunlight of public disclosure by entering self-serving agreements to keep the secret operations hidden from disclosure to the public.

As EPA informed the Court, “Defendant also changed its practice of releasing the identities of outside parties to responsive correspondence, and began reflexively, automatically and improperly withholding the names and identities of all individuals from outside of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office who were copied on correspondence the Plaintiff requested.”

This unlawful behavior is being undertaken in fealty to several secrecy pacts one of which, EPA has learned, arranges for state AGOs to serve a supporting role for private tort firms pursuing municipalities in “climate nuisance” litigation. This suggests the prospect that the records’ details have also been shared with the tort bar, and others.

Other records obtained by EPA and hidden by AGO reveal a campaign with outside activists to impose the equivalent of the “Green New Deal” on the country through the courts, “purport[ing] to memorialize an agreement to take judicial or administrative action to require the Federal Government or private parties to take action or defend the right to take action to reduce or limit greenhouse gases. More concisely, it is an agreement to share information that may be used to do something against some public or private entity or entities, under some authority and maybe the Clean Air Act or not, at some point in time, but most definitely regarding greenhouse gases. As such it is not only a parody of a common interest agreement but also a clumsy effort at a secrecy pact, implemented in this case as an instrument to provide allies notice of requests and a plausible means to delay or refuse releasing public records… This is not a common interest agreement; this is an attempt to shield the workings of the New Mexico Attorney General from public scrutiny in violation of public policy.

“The public has a right to know how public dollars and the Attorney General’s Office are being used to advance private political agendas, and what contracts it enters in the public’s name,” said GAO’s Chris Horner. “New Mexico’s AGO has engaged in unlawful and often clumsy behavior to hide precisely what they are up to, which stonewalling today’s Motion seeks to finally end.”

Government Accountability & Oversight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to transparency in public officials’ dealings on matters of energy, environment and law enforcement

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December 17, 2020 6:50 am

One can only hope the judge that will make the final ruling agrees that the public interest is at stake. Exposing this sham to the public eye would be a huge service. Crossing my fingers.

DonM
Reply to  Paul Stevens
December 17, 2020 10:16 am

In the end the courts will have no choice. The defendants know this, but they are just trying to string it out.

The scheme has been exposed, repeatedly. Too bad the general public doesn’t see it (lack of coverage, public ignorance, etc.) YET.

My hope is that the “EPA” (Energy Policy Advocates) & “GAO” (Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C.) will help add significant information (or bulk) the the existing evidence, and it will be enough to not only stop this type of action, but it will be enough to go after the Bloomberg group.

The Bloomberg group knew that, in Oregon, what they are doing is constitutionally explicitly prohibited … they tried anyway. Proving conspiracy is generally the difficult part; they are past that with these guys. Once all of the public info that can be gathered is gathered, then hopefully it is on to Bloomberg in some way.

Ron Long
December 17, 2020 7:26 am

The unholy alliance of Never Trumpers, Socialists, Marxists, CAGW, and Green Wienie New Deal advocates now emboldened to run out the clock and wait for Biden et al to allow them to run amuck. The Georgia Senate election looms large. Also waiting for SCOTUS to take up the more egregious voter fraud cases. Four years from now will actually be a “tipping point” and I’m not certain of the outcome. Stay safe.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 17, 2020 9:55 am

Rather than “Be Safe” we desperately need, “Be Bold.”

December 17, 2020 8:15 am

PATRICIA ADAMS: WESTERN GREENS ARE CHINA’S USEFUL IDIOTS
Financial Post, 16 December 2020
https://financialpost.com/opinion/patricia-adams-western-greens-are-chinas-useful-idiots

Monster
December 17, 2020 8:30 am

What’s with these organizations naming themselves such that they have the same acronyms as government agencies? The GAO is the Government Accounting Office. The EPA is the Environmental(ist) Protection Agency. I find the obvious attempt to confuse people very aggravating. It doesn’t help anyone’s arguments to be associated with such childish behavior. It undermines credibility when arguing a serious problem like this, IMO.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Monster
December 17, 2020 8:44 am

Totally agree. It’s disingenuous, at best.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 17, 2020 9:06 am

Nobody owns the acronym. If a PI law firm wants to call itself Sue the Cojones Off Twits Using Scams (SCOTUS) it’s okay with me.

The evil actor in this drama is the NMAG Hector Balderas who ought to be RICO-ed.

The credibility problem adheres to the Greenies, who are actually Reds, and to the Bloomberg Undercover Lefty Litigious Commie Revolting Army of Plutocrats (BULLCRAP).

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 17, 2020 10:01 am

You’re right, nobody owns them. But using those already well-known acronyms only serves to confuse the issue. It seems like they went out of their way to come up with those.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 17, 2020 11:29 am

Yes. The issue has been deliberately confused by the BULLCRAP perps through their use of Law Enforcement to advance a tyranny of lies and oppression.

The strategy to combat them is to confound with equally obscurantist tactics. So Mini-Mike Bloomberg et al are being sued by the EPA and the GAO. What’s a sheeple to think? I for one am not confused, but then I’m not a sheeple.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 25, 2020 10:25 am

Seems that more people agree with Monster and me than with you…

Tom Abbott
December 17, 2020 9:25 am

Trump needs to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate this leftwing billionaire corruption of our judicial system and our whole form of government.

Thank Goodness, Chris Horner is on this case!

Oldseadog
December 17, 2020 9:36 am

If anyone is in the “greenhouse gas game” they must, or should anyway, stick to the science, and if they don’t cite H2O as the main greenhouse gas they are not sticking to the science.
So let everyone have a day in court, and scupper those that don’t cite the gasses in the correct order of importance.

December 17, 2020 9:53 am

The corruption democrats bring to public office has no limits. They take the corruption as far as they can if allowed to.

ResourceGuy
December 17, 2020 9:54 am

It’s not like they have anything else to do in NM, the poorest U.S. state if you subtract out two federal labs and some casino execs.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 17, 2020 3:23 pm

Nothing to do includes reading. According to the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy

https://newmexicoliteracy.org/about-us/literacy-facts/

46% of the adults in NM are functionally illiterate.

Darrin Burgess
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 19, 2020 11:40 am

I lived in NM for a little while and they have a couple major issues when it comes to literacy. First is some of the schools are your “feel good” schools that so long as you “tried” you passed. One of the guys I knew had a daughter who tested at an 8th grade level when she took her college entrance exams. in other words all of high school was a waste. FYI, her dad kept trying to get her to do better but she just kept telling him she didn’t need to because she was passing….

Second issue is the population in general. Very poor reservations who as a whole don’t appreciate education (those who do get out ASAP). Then they have a large immigrant population from south of the border (legal and illegal) who came from areas where education takes second place to putting food on the table from a young age.

Steve Richards
December 17, 2020 11:39 am

As a Brit, I find it strange that a private company can fund AGs. What about conflicts of interest?

Taphonomic
Reply to  Steve Richards
December 17, 2020 12:21 pm

Well, Soros has funded many of their elections.

MarkW
Reply to  Steve Richards
December 17, 2020 2:20 pm

Technically, they aren’t allowd to fund AGs, that’s one of the reasons why everything has to remain hidden.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Richards
December 18, 2020 5:52 am

“As a Brit, I find it strange that a private company can fund AGs.”

As an American, I also find it strange, and I find it strange that these Leftwing Billionaires haven’t already been put under investigation for undermining our Republc.

I guess everyone would like to have a District Attorney or State Attorney General ready to do their bidding, but most people don’t have enough money to buy one.

Buying politicians to promote personal agendas is wrong and should be prosecuted and stopped.

The Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are missing in action. This is a huge scandal. Not only the buying of Attorney General offices across the United States for personal agendas, but the failure of our law enforcement to do anything about it.

Major reform is required.

MarkW
December 17, 2020 2:18 pm

Following the law is for the plebes.
Progressives are morally superior beings which allows them to do whatever they feel is necessary to achieve their goals.

J Mac
December 17, 2020 3:13 pm

This sounds like the kind of racketeering that Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson would gladly participate in.

December 17, 2020 7:56 pm

WHAT’S DRIVING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN HYSTERIA? SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA EXPLAINS

Sky News exposes the “Great Reset” the latest wild scheme from the World Economic Forum (WEF) .

Listen to assorted lunatic villains straight out of a James Bond film tell us how we have to abandon capitalism in favor of Marxism, the greatest political disaster of the 20th Century, where countries like Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China killed ~200 million of their own citizens “to maintain order and control the masses”. Neo-Marxists tell us “It will be different this time. No, it won’t!

Klaus Schwab, the founder of the WEF, plays the part of “Doctor Evil”, straight out of Austin Powers, but if anything Dr Evil sounds much less loony.

The WEF plotters have linked the global warming/ climate change fraud with the Covid19 lockdown fraud, and say the only solution to these twin frauds is the “Great Reset” – the rejection of capitalism in favor of Marxism.

The WEF is relying on the stupidity of the populace to buy into their lunatic schemes – they have captured the minds of many of the world’s political and business leadership and many famous celebrities, proving that you don’t have to be intelligent to be rich.

George Carlin explained it thus: “Think of how stupid the average person is; and then realize half of them are stupider than that!”

December 17, 2020 10:17 pm

NURSE PASSES OUT AFTER RECEIVING COVID VACCINE

https://mobile.twitter.com/robbystarbuck/status/1339768567659683840?s=20

When it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, I keep saying the same thing:
I will be the most polite guy on the planet, at the back of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine, saying “No no, you go first, I insist”.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
December 18, 2020 6:13 am

I’ll take the vaccine as soon as it is available to me. I’m not allergic to anything that I know of, so don’t expect to have any problems with the vaccine.

I do want to introduce my body to something that causes it to build a defense against the Wuhan virus.

I think the potential danger to me from the Wuhan virus is much greater than the potential danger from an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 19, 2020 9:32 pm

Tom
Depends how old you are – if you are under 65, the odds of dying from Covid-19 are about 1 in 300,000.
Take about 4000 units of Vitamin D per day and you’ll be even safer.
If you still feel at risk, you should stop all “risky” activity: stay home, quit driving on public roads, avoid all carbs, red meat and cease all sports including bike riding, skiing, baseball and tennis – essentially, don’t do anything!
You won’t live forever, but you’ll be so bored it will feel like forever.

Stan Sexton
December 18, 2020 8:14 pm

What he is not admitting is he is owned by George Soros. Soros financed the boats from Africa to Europe, the Guatemalans to the Border, and Antifa. He buys AGs by the dozen and finances their campaigns. He is truly a criminal disruptor. And the MSM can’t even mention his name. Newt Gingrich mentioned his name on Fox News and Fox had a fit. He owns the MSM as well.

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