Longtime Maryland OAG attorney John B. “J.B.” Howard is one of three Bloomberg-funded “Special Assistant AGs” pushing the climate agenda that AG Brian Frosh has quietly brought into his Office. These positions are filled with hires made by Bloomberg’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (Bloomberg group, or “the Center”).
Public records show that Mr. Howard recently converted from serving as the Bloomberg-funded “environmental-focused position” to the Bloomberg-funded “energy position”.
As Howard considered this move, he sought a little more insight on what the energy-focused Special Assistant AG would do and how, with whom. Recall that, by this time, Howard had been serving for the better part of a year as a Bloomberg SAAG. So he knew how this otherwise unprecedented arrangement worked. What he wanted to know, about this move, was “what the Center envisions for these [“energy” SAAG] positions”. (emphases added).
That is, to understand expectations for the OAG energy position, what being this Special Assistant Attorney General for Maryland entails, Howard turned to Bloomberg’s group.
Given all of the rhetorical hand-waving by OAG and NYU, it’s weird that the Center’s vision, let alone anything beyond what the it posts on the Center’s website, would even matter (Mr. Hayes did not direct Mr. Howard to the website, but suggested a call instead).
We note that reading CLW is a good place to start, of course, although OAG and the Center are working hard to keep key information from the public record. Indeed, answering what did Frosh tell the Center about these very questions? is at issue in Government Accountability & Oversight’s lawsuit seeking his application to Bloomberg’s group which led to three “SAAGs” – the most, so far, than the Center has placed in any other Office of Attorney General.
Whatever Mr. Howard heard he must have liked. One day after speaking with Center director David Hayes, OAG confirmed that Howard was switching Bloomberg jobs, presumably to do whatever it is that Hayes told him he would be doing, how, and with whom.
OAG did not release any OAG documents indicating that this move required Howard to enter a new contract with Bloomberg’s group, or receive a new appointment as a “pro bono” [sic] energy prosecutor. (Curiously, the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates asked for, but has not received any, contract or appointment letters for Mr. Goldstein; curious since Bloomberg’s group did also purport to give Mr. Goldstein (and SAAGs Howard and Josh Segal) a “pro bono” raise in salary, and extended his OAG position, two weeks ago).
It’s really too bad Bloomberg’s Center and the AGs decided they were better off if they stopped publicly boasting of their entanglements. It turned out not everyone found this as great as the Washington Post did. Before this reversal of course, the public at least had some sense of what was going on. Only after some public pressure did the Center quietly acknowledge the offices it is “embedded” in. And now, OAGs drag their feet and increasingly make the public sue to learn how law enforcement offices are being used, and donor-funded, to advance a donor’s agenda.
Anyway, really, these prosecutors – hired and paid by Bloomberg’s group, given raises by Bloomberg’s group, having their terms extended by Bloomberg’s group, and who turn for advice on what their position really is to…Bloomberg’s group – are independent, OAG positions. Really.