No, Bloomberg’s Center and AGs Didn’t Cut it Out. They Just Clammed Up
CLW readers will recall how billionaire climate activist Michael Bloomberg’s “State Impact Center” promiscuously shot off press releases boasting of this or that eager state AG agreeing to participate in a scheme placing private attorneys in their offices, to pursue matters of concern to the donor. Even about AGs who thought better of such an outrageous move after public scrutiny.
For example, ambitious AGs from Pennsylvania and Virginia — respectively, Josh Shapiro and Mark Herring — insist that in the end they declined to consummate. This after after pleading for approval, only to be then subjected to the indignity of the public’s right to know.
An Omertà about these partnerships set in. No new press releases issued from Bloomberg’s group, let alone activist AGs, after it was clear that media scrutiny wasn’t going to be all puffy and breathtakingly incurious WaPo promotional pieces, as it was in the beginning.
This was puzzling, given that public records show that money was pouring in for more “Special Assistant Attorneys General”, and Massachusetts’ Maura Healey picked up the baton as lead recruiter from Maryland’s Brian Frosh.
New York’s OAG even told a court in June that it should ignore problems raised by these “SAAGs’” participation in cases, as NY OAG had terminated its participation in the Bloomberg “fellows” program so, really, it’s time to move on.
So, did top law enforcement officials decide that the legal, ethical and political risk was just too great to do this deed? Or, these being politicians, did they simply decide the legal, ethical and political risk was too great to admit to doing this deed?
Of course it was the latter.
In March a WaPo-like MST editorial suggested, even at the time, that maybe Minnesota AG Keith Ellison had prepared the paper’s edit board for his own participation in a scheme to provide privately funded SAAGs. But the office has said nothing publicly about joining in this arrangement that previously no one could stop talking about because it’s totally proper and something a conservative AG could do with, say, the NRA or pro-life group.
However, you can get politicians and donors to clam up when their actions aren’t going to look good. Yet the occasional, say, LinkedIn profile will tell the world the beat goes on.
Here is one, of a June Bloomberg placement “embedded with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as an Environmental Litigator and Special Assistant Attorney General”. Though, like the rest of this new breed of activist, he is in fact employed “as a Fellow with the NYU School of Law’s State Impact Center”.
Welcome aboard, Pete.