The Bloomberg-funded State Impact Center and the state attorneys general he loves have adapted in the face of increased scrutiny of their questionable outsourcing of law enforcement to “advance the agenda represented by” the group (as memorably named by Virginia AG Mark Herring’s Office in its application for a “Special Assistant AG”).
Climate Litigation Watch readers will recall our posts running on July 9, July 10 and July 31, about the sudden humility of the State Impact Center and their compatriot AGs on the placement of new SAAGs The project was rolled out in the autumn of 2017 with media rose petals and continued with self-congratulation, apparently on the assumption that the media free-ride was the way of their world.
As it typically is. Rather than pose any curious inquiries about the apparent quid pro quo relationship, apparent gift and campaign implications or the counterfactual of special prosecutors placed by organizations and in AG offices not sharing the Washington Post worldview — NRA- or Right to Life-Chaired prosecutors, anyone? — the media seemed to have accepted anything advancing their favored cause as ok. ‘But, I mean, well, global warming…’ (or is it, ‘But, I mean, well, Bloomberg…’?)
However, rational observers like Climate Litigation Watch began asking the obvious questions like, “is this legal?”, “under what authority?” (looking at you, Oregon, Maryland…), and “surely they aren’t seriously contending that this is an acceptable arrangement?” Both the Center and the AGs suddenly stopped boasting.
So much so that in August 2018, the previously irrepressible Center didn’t bother with a press release when putting out word of yet more funding, for three new SAAGs. They settled instead on a NAAG-circulated email recruiting more comers on behalf of the Massachusetts AG, who took over from Maryland’s AG running the show for Bloomberg (wait, what?).
As noted in CLW’s “Where Has All the Boasting Gone? series, the scheme didn’t stop, the players just stopped talking about it publicly. Either Team Bloomberg and the AGs decided it was no longer worth the legal, ethical and political risk to do this…or it was no longer worth the legal, ethical and political risk to admit it.
In fact, as CLW detailed, Virginia and Pennsylvania OAGs went to great pains to stress we didn’t do it! New York’s OAG informed a Court in a letter that it had terminated the deal prematurely, coincident with legal challenges to the propriety of the arrangement.
Turns out, however, not only did Minnesota’s AG quietly bring a Bloomberg SAAG into his (into Minnesotans’) Office in June — revealed not by Team Bloomberg or OAG, but by his LinkedIn page. At risk of being immodest, CLW seems to have forced Bloomberg’s hand to veerrrrry quietly admit to other arrangements they’d not talked about before.
We now know, on a website sub-page, that Connecticut’s and Delaware’s AGs have done the deed (other early players have brought on more SAAGs, without fanfare).
This comes in a recent, one-line addition to the Bloomberg group’s website that it has placed “18 NYU law fellow positions in eleven attorney generals offices.” The Internet’s Wayback Machine confirms this was was quietly dropped in some time after CLW began drawing attention to the odd silence. An archived page of the Center’s website from July 12 identified no offices or numbers of SAAGs placed to advance the objectives of Bloomberg’s group.
Read what you will into this swerving from boastful to “on-second-thought-if-you’re-going-to-ask-questions-secretive to better-do-something-about-this“.