Lowell Sun

Oil and Gas Publishers Note: There are two legal systems in the United States. Democrat – and then everyone else. Jessica Towhey published a good article covering the billionaire Michael Bloomerg imposing his will on the US citizens. Where is the outrage from the media? We all need to vote, or our country will be lost. 

Michael Bloomberg’s billions aren’t just buying ads. In at least two Super Tuesday states, his money funds private lawyers working inside attorneys general offices, advancing his political agenda on the environment.

One Democrat AG compares accepting this private funding from a political candidate with federal funding from “President Trump’s” Department of Justice.

Bloomberg privately funds attorneys in state AG offices while running for president -oilandgas360

Democratic Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a rally Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Bloomberg Philanthropies gave $6 million in 2017 to create the New York University School of Law’s Environment and Energy State Impact Center to provide lawyers to state attorneys general whose sole focus would be on environmental and climate change lawsuits and regulatory actions.

Massachusetts and Minnesota, whose Democratic voters will go to the polls on Super Tuesday, are among at least 10 states where activist attorneys are working for the state AGs offices but are paid through the Impact Center. Their mission is to promote state legal action to advance Bloomberg’s political views, such as lawsuits against energy companies.

“Candidates who are approved by the attorneys general and the State Impact Center will receive offers to serve as SAAGs (or the equivalent appropriate title within the office) from the attorneys general, based on an understanding that they will devote their time to clean energy, climate change and environmental matters,” Impact Center Executive Director David J. Hayes wrote in an email inviting attorneys general to apply for the program.

Hayes is a former deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Department of the Interior for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

The email, obtained by Climate Litigation Watch, was sent to attorneys general offices in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C., on Aug. 25, 2017. The email noted that the State Impact Center would pay the law fellows’ salaries and explained that each would be an experienced attorney in environmental or related law.

New York participates in the program, and in December lost what environmental activists had dubbed “the trial of the century” against ExxonMobil. Originally brought by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the three-week trial ended with state Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager ruling that the energy giant had neither misled investors about the impact of climate change nor broken any state laws.

In the run-up to the trial, lawyers for ExxonMobil objected to what they saw as a conflict of interest in having “two employees of private parties who are currently working in the [New York] Attorney General’s Office … selected and paid for by private inte

rests who were pursuing an agenda” involved in the case, according to a court transcript. ExxonMobil attorney Justin Anderson said the lawyers are “compensated entirely by this third-party … that’s funded by Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy.”

Kevin Wallace, acting chief for the Investor Protection Bureau for the New York Attorney General, accused ExxonMobil of “picking on an individual, a young lawyer.” Emails from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh obtained by Climate Litigation Watch, however, indicate that the legal fellows are experienced attorneys.

“Do you know anyone five to 10 years out of school who would be interested in saving the planet from the predations of [former  EPA Administrator] Scott Pruitt and [former Interior Secretary] Ryan Zinke?” Frosh emailed to the dean of Yale Law School. Frosh served as a recruiter for the State Impact Center program, frequently exchanging emails with Hayes.

A spokesman for the State Impact Center declined to answer questions about the program, including whether anyone other than Bloomberg Philanthropies has provided funds for the legal fellows program. The spokesman also declined to comment on whether there was a conflict of interest with Bloomberg running for president while funding assistant attorneys general in at least 10 offices.

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