Consider the timeline involving some activist donors and the elected, law enforcement officers they love, who previously couldn’t shut up about how many of the latter the former was underwriting — including with privately hired “Special Assistant Attorneys General” — but who, after facing (apparently unexpected) scrutiny and pushback, have gone radio silent about that scheme.
October 17, 2017 — Michael Bloomberg’s ‘Center’ at NYU, through which he has run millions in “climate” activist dollars, announces 7 SAAGs (actually 10, with 2 each in NM, MA, NY OAGs. Emails also show MD expected to bring more on)
December 13, 2017 — Bloomberg’s group announces 3 more AGs have signed up for the free stuff from a policy activist, major party donor if they use their offices a certain way (these guys are lawyers, right?)
Why, Virginia AG Mark Herring is even quoted saying “I’m glad Virginia is participating in its fellowship program” — although since then his office has been insisting to a Richmond judge this is not true, and they never brought on a Bloomberg-hired lawyer. Pennsylvania’s OAG, too, declares “no records” whenever asked for any of its own contracts or similar arrangements.
August 30, 2018 — much more privately, through the good graces of MA AG Maura Healey the ‘Center’ offers up 3 more SAAGs in an email circulated by NAAG. No press release.
That makes far more SAAGs than have been publicly acknowledged, even more than were announced as the goal. Were there not enough takers for all that free stuff including PR — hello, AGs! (Aspiring Governors) — and outside lawyers lined up to support them, too?
Why? It’s all super great and legal and stuff. Otherwise, surely all those journalists NYU tapped to promote the scheme would have raised the issue (we kid). Yet we have heard nothing from NYU or their loquacious AG partners on this arrangement since December 2017; and two of those AGs announced at the time then bailed out, whether or not because of the scrutiny of FOIA requests.
More money, presumably more SAAG placements, yet no new announcements.
It appears that things began as planned, with fawning media assistance touting the scheme, carefully avoiding obvious inquiries like, so, you’re saying by this act that the NRA and Right to Life groups can place special prosecutors to investigate opponents of the 2nd Amendment, and abortion providers? Or are you, just, you know, special?
Then public records requests began exposing the unseemly nature and apparent quid pro quo (a no no). The press releases stopped. And one of the following occurred.
Either Bloomberg’s group and activist AGs decided it is not worth the legal, ethical and/or political risk to enter this facially improper arrangement.
Or, Bloomberg’s group and activist AGs decided it is not worth the legal, ethical and/or political risk to publicly admit to entering this facially improper deal.
Which is it?
Do the AGs merely no longer wish to draw attention to their participation in such a scheme?
Or, has the Bloomberg mercenary-AG program flatlined, after scrutiny prompted belated evaluations of the legality and ethics of the scheme? (if so, what about the AGs who joined up: WA, OR, NM, IL, MD, MA, DC (much more about DC soon) — what does this belated sentience say about them? And, have more than NY, VA and PA dropped out?)
There’s no good answer for any of them. But they ought to answer.
The public have a right to know how their elected — indeed, law enforcement — offices came to be used this way, and who is so using these offices.