GAO Sues New Jersey AG for Climate Contract

Readers of Climate Litigation Watch are familiar with both the recent machinations in New Jersey, and also the curiousso-called “contingency” relationship between progressive politicians and the plaintiffs’ bar. Emails obtained in GAO v. Regents confirmed that the law firm filing the bulk of these suits is already being paid millions of dollars to file them. These millions first came as “charitable grants” for, oddly, purposes that differed year by year in reports to the IRS but which we know, from the UCLA emails, was to underwrite the lawsuits. Then, after a law professor raised an eyebrow about this, the loot was soon being split halvsies as “charitable grants” and compensation to a contractor. Then, after the UCLA revelations, the operation shifted to the “Democratic Dark Money Juggernaut,” “the ‘mothership’ behind a network of Democratic dark money nonprofit groups”.

CLW said this about that in a post about a NJ recruiting video:

But note the stunner. In a presentation to activists and potential governmental plaintiffs, at 1:01, the same lawyer says “The lawyers only get paid if and when there is a successful settlement of judgement at the end.”

Um, no.

The raging issue is, what did the politicians know and when did they know it? Are they knowingly double-dipping to pursue major donors’ pet project, or have they been kept in the dark about the payments already being made? Was Keith Ellison (et al.) a dupe, or was he in on the gag? The pols promise massive sums to a firm, which is already being paid to file these lawsuits, to file these lawsuits, only if they and prevail in or settle…but out of purported taxpayer damages (Of course, a video available at CLW shows participants joking about how much money they get and how they might use it to buy stuff they want). But, don’t they know what’s going on? Who faces peril here depends on what the answer to that is.

These two issues of New Jersey and contingency fee arrangements met when the appointed Attorney General of New Jersey, Mathew Platkin, filed a lawsuit last fall within three weeks of being confirmed by the state senate. That’s quite a priority for someone who had failed to mention such an undertaking during that confirmation process (one of these recruiting videos available at CLW shows locals indicating the AG is just doing Governor Phil Murphy’s bidding). Such details before or while under oath just lead to more questions. Or maybe it just occurred to him later.

Regardless, the Office does not want the public to see the terms of and relevant disclosures in its agreement with the law firm. Now, GAO has filed suit to obtain the state’s contract with the firm. The complaint explains things and can be read here. A hearing at which the OAG will be required to Show Cause for its curious redactions is presently set for mid-September.


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