Yesterday, CLW posted about an interesting event from September 2017 involving the Bloomberg “State Energy & Environmental Impact Center”, established to place activist attorneys in state AG offices to promote the progressive agenda through investigations and prosecutions.
The video reveals the behind the scenes role that several state AGs played with Michael Bloomberg to get these private resources supplementing that push.
A second note of interest is the testimonial of Maryland AG Brian Frosh at this event, which came six weeks after Frosh briefed Democratic Attorneys General Association members with “talking points” provided by the Center.
Introducing the Center’s initial recruiter of AGs, Hayes said “Brian has been, from the beginning, another strong advocate for this enterprise that we’re trying out here, the notion of having a somewhat more coordinated effort among state attorneys general and from the beginning was supportive of NYU Law School being the home for the new Center”.
For his part, Frosh repeatedly calls SEEIC the “Bloomberg Center”.
Complaining at some length about his budget and the design of Maryland’s system, the AG made the point that, after President Trump’s election and the election of a Republican governor, Frosh specifically requested the legislature give him certain authorities that — after being sued to release his SEEIC application for donor-financed activist attorneys — his Office cited as allowing him to take a $125,000 a year “Pro Bono Assistant Counsel” (revolutionizing the principle in Maryland that “pro bono” means that no one pays for the work being done. Now in Maryland, “pro bono” lawyers get raises!).
After saying that the legislature had immediately given him what he sought, Mr. Frosh nonetheless lamented that, still, “we have two problems. We have an authority problem and a resource problem. And this is why the new Bloomberg Center is so vital I think to myself and many of my colleagues. I don’t have somebody, when I see the Trump administration try to postpone the mercury and air toxics rule or the methane rule or fail to enforce the federal law, I don’t have a body that I can turn to and say ‘ok look, here is your full-time job for the next six months, year, two years, go get ‘em.’ And having the Bloomberg Center fund resources for attorneys general is critical to me, it’s critical to most of my colleagues.”
 In Maryland, “Pro bono” means the attorney represents the client without compensation. State v. Westray, 444 Md. 672, 677 n.2, 121 A.3d 129, 133 (2015) (“[Defendant] uses ‘pro bono counsel’ to refer to an attorney whom he does not need to pay. ‘Pro bono,’ of course, means that not only does the client not need to pay, but also the attorney represents the client without compensation.”). Frosh’s Office grounds its expansion of “pro bono” to mean any arrangement so long as the State is not required to pay for the representation, citing to the Maryland Defense Act, specifically Md. Code Ann., State Gov’t § 6-105(f)(1).
 On January 16, 2018, Frosh appointed Maryland’s first “SAAG”, Joshua Segal, “Pro Bono Assistant Counsel” after NYU hired Segal earlier that month as a “Research Scholar in the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center” at a salary (plus benefits) of $125,000 per year, stating “During your employment, you will be seconded to the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Maryland (‘OAG’) as a Special Assistant Attorney General…Your employment in this position shall commence on January 16, 2018.”