Virginia Legislature Restores Prohibition on AG Participation in Bloomberg Scheme - Climate Litigation Watch

Virginia Legislature Restores Prohibition on AG Participation in Bloomberg Scheme

As CLW readers know, billionaire climate activist Michael Bloomberg spent more than $2 million to elect Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

Herring’s Office then agreed to place a lawyer hired by Bloomberg’s group as a special prosecutor in Virginia’s top law enforcement office, to promote Mr. Bloomberg’s climate agenda.  

In return for the lawyer, other outside counsel and some PR help, AG Herring promised to use Virginia’s Office of Attorney General, “to advance the agenda represented by” Bloomberg’s activist group. Seriously.

This not only violated several existing Virginia laws and the AG’s own outside counsel policy, but became the subject of ongoing open records litigation in Richmond (the AG’s Office claims that, although it promised the Bloomberg group it had checked and this was on the ethical up and up and there aren’t actually any Virginia-specific laws that might pose problems (?), the Office also claimed it didn’t in fact write anything down about any of those inquiries or conclusions).

In response, last Spring the Virginia legislature voted to again bar Herring from entering this scheme.

Then, Gov. Ralph Northam quietly stripped that ban from his budget.

This left Bloomberg’s group free to place private lawyers in the Attorney General’s office, “to advance its agenda” — if, admittedly, only in a world where an AG’s Office so disdains existing guardrails. 

The House of Delegates did not include the prohibition and, when an amendment was offered to restore it, its new majority actually voted it down. 

See the link here, go to February 20, 2020, Regular post-Session Recess. Discussion starts at 3:45:27. 

Del. Charles Poindexter made some good points, the sum and substance of which is, “This is not accountable. This is not who Virginia is.” 

And to his credit he offered the counterfactual raised often at CLW, if in his own way: be careful what you say is ok. You won’t always be in charge.

Some in the crowd seemed to not appreciate his call to “keep Virginia clean.”

Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. ran an ad pointing to this remarkable turn of events (as before)(as well as a summary video of the movement to capture AG offices, of which this plan was a key part).

It was apparently contentious but the Senate has restored the prohibition, which is now in the two-year budget (57#1c) awaiting an up-or-down vote.

After that, the question remains whether Gov. Northam wants to draw attention to what’s been going on in his friend AG Herring’s Office of Attorney General, and line-item veto the measure.