‘Using officers as private mercenaries to achieve policy results that otherwise would have been unattainable through legislation undermines the trust held between citizens and law enforcement…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) A strange outpouring of recent lawsuits and investigations from state attorneys general offices has all the hallmarks of a coordinated attack. And if you follow the money, the funding leads to the doorstep of liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
The plan is stunning in scope, as nine state attorneys general and the District of Columbia have partnered with activist lawyers from New York University Law School to shakedown large energy companies and push left-wing agenda items.
All in the name of climate change.
But after the New York Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit on Thursday against ExxonMobile, free-market watchdogs began sounding the alarm. Now, FreedomWorks, a grassroots free-market organization, and three other allied conservative groups are calling on Congress to investigate the apparent abuse of power.
The NYU activist lawyers—not students, but seasoned professionals—are paid by NYU’s Bloomberg-funded State Energy & Environmental Impact Center and embedded in state AG offices under the titles “Special Assistant Attorneys General.”
“Using taxpayers resources, Special Assistant Attorneys General operatives attempt to extract billions of dollars from American energy companies in the name of climate change,” said Patrick Hedger, FreedomWorks’ director of policy, last week.
There are 14 in total, and their coordinated goal is to achieve critical mass by exercising state policing powers to force energy companies to submit to progressive clean-energy standards, climate-change proposals and other environmentalist positions that are almost exclusively political in nature.
“Using officers as private mercenaries to achieve policy results that otherwise would have been unattainable through legislation undermines the trust held between citizens and law enforcement,” FreedomWorks said.
The free-market group is calling on lawmakers to examine how outside money is improperly influencing state-government prosecutorial priorities and law-enforcement actions, particularly as it’s been shaped by Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and potential Oval Office aspirant.
One of the questions posed in last week’s letter to Congress asks, “Why is the NYU Law Center working exclusively with Democrat AG offices?”
Another question asks, “What is the role of the New York Attorney General’s office in soliciting and organizing a private funding stream from Mr. Bloomberg exclusively for Democrat attorneys general?”
Copies of the letter were sent to the House and Senate Judiciary and Oversight committees, which have subpoena powers, and the committees on Energy and Science in both chambers.
The practice of hiring privately trained and well-funded activists to work within taxpayer-funded government offices is itself unsettling. But deploying them within a state’s supposedly nonpartisan attorney general’s office to pursue Democratic Party goals—and target perceived climate change enemies—is beyond the pale, the groups say.
“Though all attempts have been unsuccessful so far, the lawsuits and investigations brought by these operatives represent a major threat to American businesses, economic growth and job creation. Congress should exercise its federal oversight authority to investigate the misuse of taxpayer resources to subsidize state law enforcement in these Democratic state AG offices,” Hedger said.
Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a report on the NYU center called “Law Enforcement for Rent.”
Horner says the AG fellowships come with specific strings attached, and that the multi-state coordinated shakedown effort, which dates back to 2012, is “an extensive and elaborate campaign using elective law-enforcement offices, in coordination with major donors and activist pressure groups, to attain a policy agenda that failed through the democratic process.”
The report also highlights how professional activists use nonprofits as pass-through entities for donors, like Bloomberg, to support elected officials who, in turn, use their offices to advance donor-driven political agendas.
Effectively, it’s a way for deep-pocketed donors to buy public officials when voters reject climate-change proposals and state legislatures refuse to fund them through taxes and regulation.
This appears to fit Bloomberg’s state AG scheme. The NYU center was launched in mid-August 2017 with a reported grant of nearly $6 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity controlled by the progressive billionaire. Interestingly, it’s billed as a nonpartisan project to help “state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks” relating to climate change.
According to Real Clear Investigations, some of the fellows from the NYU program came from left-wing advocacy organizations such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council. Others served under Bloomberg’s New York City mayoral administration.
The NYU fellows have played a role in filing at least 130 regulatory, legal and other challenges since 2017, according to a review of their legal filings.
Bloomberg has donated millions of dollars to Democratic attorneys general campaigns in the current midterm election cycle, in addition to his pledge to spend $80 million helping Democrats all over the country this year.
Bloomberg ran as a Republican during his first two terms as mayor of New York City. He switched to Independent in an unprecedented, and successful, third-term bid. In October, Bloomberg re-registered as a Democrat amid expectations of a run for president in 2020.