On September 15, 2017, the Oregon Office of Attorney General certified, to a non-profit group serving as the pass-through for billionaire Michale Bloomberg’s “climate” legal advocacy campaign, that it had the statuary authority to bring on a special prosecutor, funded by Bloomberg, to pursue issues of interest to Bloomberg. ATTACHED SAAG APPLICATION
On September 11, 2018, the Oregon Office of Legislative Counsel issued a legal opinion that the arrangement not only is not authorized by the provision of Oregon law that OAG cited to in making this claim, but that a different provision of law applies, instead, and that the arrangement violates it. That is, that Oregon’s AG has no authority to do what it is doing with Michael Bloomberg’s climate litigation campaign.
After CEI published its report “Law Enforcement for Rent: How Special Interests Fund Climate Policy through State Attorneys General“, and the Washington Free Beacon reported on the controversial claim of authority, on September 24, 2018 the Bend (OR) Bulletin published an editorial “Prosecution for hire”, decrying this mercenary use of lw enforcement, noting the Pandora’s box such a practice, if permitted to stand, opens, then noting:
When we contacted Rosenblum’s office on Monday, we were sent a legal opinion arguing that the hiring is legal under Oregon law. That responds to an issue raised in a news article. But it is not the only concern.
It turns out that legal opinion was dated the same day as the Bend Editorial, seemingly in response to this long-overdue media inquiry. It was addressed to Legislative Counsel, protesting that Office’s legal analysis. But that difference of opinion — in which OR OAG ignores both the plain reading of the statute (which Oregon law commands be *the* reading of the statute), but also the reality of its own practices — is not the only concern.
Specifically, the Oregon Office of Attorney General has since confirmed, in response to a request under the Oregon Public Records Act by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that this September 24, 2018 determination is the first/sole such analysis OAG has produced — despite having claimed to have the authority on September 15, 2017 and then specifically certified by contract, on June 7, 2018 (ATTACHED SECONDMENT AGREEMENT), that:
WHEREAS, ODOJ has the authority consistent with applicable law and regulations to accept a Legal. Fellow whose salary and benefits are provided by an outside funding source….ODOJ has determined that NYU’s payment of salary and benefits to the Legal Fellowand the provision of services by the Legal Fellow to ODOJ do not constitute animpermissible gift under applicable law or regulation.
It seems that was not the case. Even more seriously, it seems that OR DOJ had never in fact made any such determination. At most, it simply told itself yeah, we can do this, while touting a phantom determination grounded in the law.
Oregon’s Attorney General’s Office is plainly operating outside of the legal authority provided it by the legislature, self-certifying and after the fact that it can do what it wants plain legislative language notwithstanding, and defying the legislature to do anything about it.