IL, NY, MD AGs cited as having worked behind the scenes to make the donor-funded law enforcement reality
CLW spotted this video from September 2017 hiding in broad daylight. It records an event that came less than two weeks after numerous state attorneys general submitted applications for privately hired “Special Assistant Attorneys General” — as Virginia’s AG Office put it, “to advance the agenda represented by” a group created by Michael Bloomberg to place activist lawyers in AG offices to “advanc[e] progressive clean energy, climate change, and environmental legal positions”. Readers who have followed this curious arrangement might find it informative.
First a little background. Public records show that on July 20, 2017, NYU Law professor Richard Revesz emailed then-New York AG Eric Schneiderman to an NYU Institute for Policy Integrity event on September 26, 2017 “led by David Hayes, who will direct the State Impact Center.” Revesz copied Hayes, at his Stanford University email address.
At that event, Hayes read from the liturgy of climate catastrophist fears and complaints about Trump administration policy reforms and approaches. He then said that these “prompted a number of state AGs, including the ones to my left (Schneiderman, then-Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, and Maryland’s Brian Frosh) to come together, with Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the NY [sic] School of Law, and the ever-present Ricky Revesz, to form the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center.” Interesting.
Mr. Hayes emphasized priorities for the donor-provided resources as including “to help coordinate efforts across multiple state AG offices and with other parties that may be aligned with their interests, including identifying and coordinating outside lawyers who are interested in working on a pro bono basis with AGs on specific matters. We hope to serve as a centralized source of information for ongoing initiatives and through our in-house communications resources helping to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of the clean energy, climate change and environmental matters that attorneys general are handling.”
Hayes also thanked his advisory council, including “Dan Firger, the environmental program officer at Bloomberg Philanthropies is on our advisory council, thank you, Dan. And a big thank you to Bloomberg, uh, Philanthropies, that is supporting this very significant venture.”
Hayes went off-script and shined some light on the behind-the-scenes organization of the Bloomberg effort when introducing then-NY AG Eric Schneiderman (Schneiderman resigned soon thereafter in a domestic-abuse scandal).
Schneiderman in turn praised how “our coalition of attorneys general…have been getting a lot of support from non-profits, but from the bar in general, private law firms…and the steps that are being taken here by NYU… in really providing the real support to state attorneys general is a great example of leadership, I hope others will follow your lead”.
Others did, to provide “force multipliers,” though not at the Bloomberg level.
 “So now for my very short commercial, before I introduce our distinguished guests…. We are designed to support state attorneys general in defending and promoting clean energy, climate, and environmental laws and policies. We are non-partisan, but we are unabashedly progressive in terms of advancing legal and policy positions on clean energy, climate and environmental matters. Now as we gear up we hope to work with the attorney generals in a number of ways. First, by providing direct legal assistance through our center here at NYU to interested AGs on specific administrative, judicial or legislative matters involving these subjects, with a focus in particular on areas of regional and national significance. We are also working with interested attorneys general to identify and hire NYU Law Fellows, as many as thirteen of them, who will serve as Special Assistant Attorney Generals in state AG offices, focusing on clean energy, climate and environmental matters. We will have an announcement soon, of some of the states in which these Fellows will have the opportunity to work for AGs like the distinguished folks on my left. We hope to help coordinate efforts across multiple state AG offices and with other parties that may be aligned with their interests, including identifying and coordinating outside lawyers who are interested in working on a pro bono basis with AGs on specific matters. We hope to serve as a centralized source of information for ongoing initiatives and through our in-house communications resources helping to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of the clean energy, climate change and environmental matters that attorneys general are handling. And in that regard, we hope to leverage strategic communications to lift up the work of state AGs and shine the light on the seemingly mundane yet critical actions taken or not taken by the administration that undermine environmental protections, on renewable energy and contribute to climate change.”
 See, e.g., “With our Public Rights Fellowship, we recruit and embed public interest-minded attorneys for two years in state and local public law offices where they act as force multipliers to enhance government’s capacity”. Public Rights Project, https://www.publicrightsproject.org, last viewed August 19, 2020.