GAO Praises Virginia General Assembly: 1st Legislature to Strike at Bloomberg Attempt to Capture AG Offices

Government Accountability & Oversight
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For Immediate Release:

February 24th, 2019

Contact Dave Mohel: (703)217-2660
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GAO Praises Virginia General Assembly: 1st Legislature to Strike at Bloomberg Attempt to Capture AG Offices

(Washington, DC) — Today the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. (GAO) congratulated the Virginia General Assembly for becoming the first to act in response to Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to capture attorneys general offices to pursue his ideological agenda.

Bloomberg established a “State Impact Center” to hire and place “Special Assistant Attorneys General” (SAAGs), with the statutory authority of AGs, to promote policies of interest to Bloomberg. Incredibly, in applying for these privately funded attorneys — and public relations services promoting his own activism — Virginia AG Mark Herring offered to use his office “to advance the agenda represented by” the Center.

Thankfully, in a mid-day vote on Sunday adopting the Commonwealth’s budget, the legislature restricted monies appropriated to the OAG, precluding the arrangement Bloomberg’s Center has used to place 14 SAAGs in 10 states and the District of Columbia – so far.

The “Virginia OAG insists to the Court, as it has for weeks to media outlets, that it never actually participated in the Bloomberg-financed SAAG scheme”, said Chris Horner, a Virginia taxpayer and attorney for GAO in the FOIA suit Horner et al. v Herring. “This claim not only makes no sense in our case, but indicates OAG can’t get its story straight”, Horner continued. “After making the extraordinary offer to use the office “to advance the agenda represented by” Bloomberg’s group, AG Herring even publicly claimed “I’m glad Virginia is participating in its fellowship program”.

That this vote by the General Assembly was even necessary is itself incredible given that not one but four provisions of the Virginia Code already prohibit this unprecedented arrangement — as GAO has argued in ongoing litigation against Herring’s office for documents related to this scheme.

Today’s vote is a statement from Virginia’s elected representatives that Bloomberg’s money can’t buy a donor’s way into Virginia law enforcement. GAO applauds this vote by the Virginia General Assembly, while wondering, what’s wrong with the rest of these legislatures?

Government Accountability and Oversight, a 501(c)3.



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