The Attorneys General Racket – WSJ

Pat J. Fraley


A political dispute inside the National Association of Attorneys Standard is revealing some unsavory procedures that deserve more community publicity. 1 issue is no matter if Republican AGs are willing to stroll away if the group won’t shape up.

NAAG—no acronym jokes, please—describes itself as the national discussion board for AGs from the states and U.S. territories. It is supposed to be nonpartisan, but it has been steering left. One particular sign of this development is the group’s close ties with trial attorneys, who bring tort instances on behalf of the AGs and then give some of the settlement proceeds to NAAG. Individuals proceeds have develop into a fund that then funds more tort instances.


Kentucky AG

Daniel Cameron

laid out his considerations about these techniques in a 5-website page Could 24 letter to

Chris Toth,

who was then NAAG’s govt director. Mr. Cameron’s letter was joined by seven other GOP AGs from Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

“There requirements to be greater transparency prior to NAAG obtaining, holding, and expending specified varieties of money,” Mr. Cameron writes. He cites “some multi-condition settlement agreements, which include the McKinsey opioid settlement,” that offer money “directly to NAAG.”

He says NAAG received $15 million in the McKinsey settlement, which is nearly double what some states gained “and nearly 40% additional than Kentucky been given.” But the citizens of these states suffered from the opioid scourge, even though NAAG has no electoral constituency. Mr. Cameron states “NAAG offers a lot more than $164 million in assets” and the amount is a lot more than $280 million if you contain NAAG’s Mission Foundation.

This issue is about extra than dividing the spoils of these settlements. Most states, like Kentucky, vest the electricity of the purse in their legislatures. Kentucky regulation needs that state receipts be deposited in state coffers and claims they ought to be employed for “public applications only.” Still NAAG money are proceeds from point out lawsuits that NAAG can use without having the permission of the legislature or even all AGs. If NAAG invests that money in resources to acquire a fiscal return, that could violate state legislation.

Mr. Cameron provides that NAAG’s “fund committees are now issuing grants that are additional like loans than grants.” And loans have to be repaid. So this presents states an incentive to go after litigation for a monetary return no issue the deserves of the concern.

“The consequence is NAAG’s marketing of ‘entrepreneurial litigation’ and ‘suing organizations for earnings,’ all of which is ‘more in line with the plaintiffs’ bar’ than earning whole individuals who have been harmed,” writes Mr. Cameron.

In other terms, NAAG has grow to be a company in its own appropriate, getting funds from lawsuit settlements and redistributing it to finance additional lawsuits. It is a perpetual lawsuit equipment. This is quite fantastic for the trial attorneys who do the job the situations and for AGs who can get publicity from those people situations.

But no one particular elected NAAG team, and this independent lawsuit machine weakens political accountability. This is accurate regardless of bash. But NAAG has been dominated by Democratic AGs, and the present-day president is

Tom Miller

of Iowa. “Consumer Protection 2.: Tech Threats and Tools” is his “presidential initiative,” in accordance to a NAAG push launch.


Mr. Cameron raises essential questions about governance and accountability that are entitled to to be answered. His Might 24 letter requested for a reaction by June 6, but as significantly as we know there have been no comprehensive composed responses and no arrangement to reform NAAG’s strategies to create bigger transparency about how its hard cash cache is utilized.

Al Lama, NAAG’s interim government director, stated in an e-mail that Mr. Miller has “had several successful conversations with AG Cameron about his issues and tips.” He added that final week NAAG produced a “select committee of NAAG members” to review Mr. Cameron’s tips and “consider reforms” in NAAG’s bylaws, construction, and processes. The committee involves 3 Democratic and 3 Republican AGs.

Elizabeth Kuhn,

spokeswoman for Mr. Cameron, emailed that “we have had successful discussions with NAAG and await a reaction from the govt committee.”

Kudos to Mr. Cameron for raising this issue soon after as well lots of Republican AGs ended up asleep or complicit. We hope he and other AGs insist on unique coverage and exercise changes fairly than words and phrases and claims. NAAG does not ought to have the blessing of their membership if it is an unaccountable litigation shop for paying out to enrich trial legal professionals.

Jimmy Carter dropped the 1980 basic election by a landslide to Ronald Reagan, so it’s challenging to understand why Joe Biden continues to abide by the Carter ‘malaise’ playbook now. Bettman through Getty Pictures/Shutterstock Composite: Mark Kelly

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