State AGs for hire on environmental activism

My new Cato post looks at a low-profile program in which a nonprofit backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg places lawyers in state attorney generals’ offices, paying their keep, on the condition that they pursue environmental causes. We know much about this and other AG entanglements thanks to two reports by Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) based on public records requests that had been strenuously resisted by the state AGs. (CEI was itself the target of a notorious subpoena engineered by AG offices.) The New York Post also takes a critical view of the program.


  • I’m all for allowing private prosecution if the same access is given to all groups that want to pursue it and are willing to pay the lawyers involved. (I would expect this to work like private prosecution societies in the UK, which still exist.) Other groups that might benefit from such access include CEI itself, ACLU, IJ, Judicial Watch, and many like them.

    I hope that such access will lead to the reexamination, and hopefully the repeal, of all forms of immunity from prosecution, whether given to prosecutors, cops, judges, or legislators. Any law that we’re going to have should apply to everybody and be prosecutable by anyone harmed, even indirectly, by a violation.

  • Silly me. I thought that the Legislature controlled the budget. If a former NYC Mayor gets to hire and direct the work of states’ AG Office attorneys, cannot all other special interest groups do the same?

    • This is where asset forfeiture comes into play.State Attorney Generals, District Attorneys and Police Departments have a revenue stream coming in that is not controlled by Legislatures and other elected officials. This allows them to pretty much do what they want.