On the same day the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear an important, related case, with local counsel Tim Cornell of Cornell Dolan, P.C., the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. (GAO) filed a motion with the Suffolk County Superior Court seeking summary judgment against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office (OAG), for its refusal to release public records that would shed light on the use of law enforcement at the request of private parties, and to advance private interests, particularly those of a major political donor. The memorandum in support can be read here.
Specifically, the nonprofit group Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) seeks release in full of eleven records which OAG is still withholding in part, all of which relate to AG Healey’s work with billionaire activist and major Democratic Party donor Michael Bloomberg. In August 2018, AG Healey took over recruiting of state attorneys general for a “State Impact Center” Bloomberg created to hire and place “Special Assistant Attorneys General” (SAAGs) in, and provide public relations resources and counsel to, friendly AG offices to pursue matters of concern to the donor.
Healey has brought two Bloomberg SAAGs into the Commonwealth’s top legal office under this unprecedented arrangement, which has been the subject of great controversy. Virginia’s legislature acted not once, but twice, to ban its AG, Mark Herring, from following through on his written promise to use his office “to advance the agenda represented by” Bloomberg’s group. Oregon’s legislative counsel declared that the scheme violates its own state law. Maryland’s AG brought on three “pro bono” [sic] SAAGs hired by Bloomberg’s group – at six-figure salaries plus benefits and (almost immediate) raises. The public deserves to see AG Healey’s statements made to a major financier of her political party in order to obtain privately funded prosecutors, installed to push an agenda.
Healey at first refused to release even one record reflecting how her Office came into the deal and what it promised Bloomberg’s group in return, such as her “application” for the private resources. The lawsuit as originally filed also complained of Healey’s refusal to produce six pages of emails about a briefing by plaintiffs’ “climate nuisance” lawyer Matt Pawa, notorious for seeking “a single sympathetic attorney general” to investigate private parties and subpoena private records in order to give a boost to his tort litigation campaign. That pitch to Healey’s attorneys apparently was successful.
OAG abandoned spurious claims of privilege for those records once EPA sued. The released records prompted further requests seeking details about OAG’s relationship with Pawa, and a pressure group Pawa confessed he was coordinating with on his pitch, Conservation Law Foundation (those requests are now also in litigation brought by EPA). CLF has direct ties to the Bloomberg arrangement, as EPA noted in this most recent filing:
[T]he Bloomberg Center/SEEIC has two SAAGs pursuing this agenda out of OAG at present, one of whom is named Megan Herzog. Ms. Herzog is a former staff attorney with The Conservation Law Foundation which is the group that – records released in this matter document – coordinated with Matt Pawa on “the Exxon issue” and Pawa’s briefing of OAG. OAG is withholding discussion of why bringing Ms. Herzog in in this capacity.
That email is among the 11 pages involving the Bloomberg arrangement whose redaction EPA challenges, among over 300 pages OAG released, again only after being sued.
The filing notes the massive financial support Bloomberg is providing Healey’s political party:
Records obtained from other OAGs show that the Bloomberg Center provides participating attorneys general offices with a Retainer Agreement. This Agreement requires OAGs to “provide periodic reports to the [Bloomberg Center] regarding the work of the [SAAGs]” including “a narrative summary” of her work. In turn, the Bloomberg Center reports bi-weekly to a proxy or alter ego for the donor-in-fact, Michael Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor and current climate activist and major political donor of advertisements and other beneficial support to candidates of Attorney General Healey’s party. That proxy or alter ego is “Bloomberg Philanthropies”.
Among the redactions is the Budget discussion of OAG’s application to the Bloomberg Center:
OAG’s SEEIC application described the very investigation that advocates were at that time urging AGs to initiate against “major carbon producers”, particularly at what one presenter told colleagues was a “secret meeting at Harvard” in April 2016. The co-host Union of Concerned Scientists described the event, in an email to the same presenter, as a briefing for both AG staff and “prospective funders” (funders of whom or what, and how they would fund AG litigation, the email did not specify, though it is possible that one such funding avenue was providing AGs with the “Special Assistant Attorneys General”).
Public records created by MA OAG and released by another OAG assert that AG Healey’s Office had five attorneys in attendance at that briefing, all five of whom were among the seven MA OAG attorneys who filed the suit against ExxonMobil.
The public deserve to see all such records pertaining to this arrangement, in their entirety.
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
 This is of great public interest for reasons including that any such reports would waive privilege. Notably, when this contract item drew attention in litigation being undertaken by “SAAGs” placed in the New York Attorney General’s Office, public records released by other OAGs show that SEEIC made the rounds among its partners to let them know they could dispense with these records that now appeared to be vulnerable to discovery.
 Zack Budryk, “Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch $6M in Spanish language ads in Florida,” The Hill, September 23, 2020, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/517929-democratic-groups-using-bloomberg-money-to-launch-6m-in-spanish-language.
 Brian Schwartz, “Mike Bloomberg plots spending blitz to support Joe Biden’s run for president,” CNBC.com, May 15, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/15/mike-bloomberg-plots-spending-blitz-to-back-joe-biden-campaign.html; Mark Niquette, “Michael Bloomberg to Spend $100 Million in Florida to Aid Biden,” Bloomberg News, September 13, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-13/michael-bloomberg-to-spend-100-million-in-florida-to-help-biden; see also, Associated Press and Ariel Zilber, “Florida attorney general calls for investigation into Michael Bloomberg after billionaire Democrat paid off $16million in felons’ debts so they can be allowed to vote,” Daily Mail (UK), September 23, 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8765897/Florida-seeks-investigation-Bloomberg-donation-voting.html.