Nine Democratic state attorneys general have hired or are looking to hire privately funded lawyers to fight the Trump administration’s repeal of environmental regulations, The Daily Caller reports.
Five states, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington, have hired legal fellows whose salaries and benefits are provided by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center (SEEIC) at the New York University School of Law. The center was founded in August, 2017, and is financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
According to the SEEIC’s website, the center is non-partisan, and its mission is to support "state attorneys general in defending and promoting clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies." One way the center provides assistance is by "working with interested attorneys general to identify and hire NYU Law Fellows who serve as special assistant attorneys general in state attorney general offices, focusing on clean energy, climate and environmental matters."
"What you’re talking about is law enforcement for hire," said Andrew Grossman, attorney with Baker Hostetler and Adjunct Scholar with the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, told the Daily Caller.
"And I think that problem would be apparent to anybody if you’re talking about a conservative donor paying for a special attorney general to investigate and prosecute planned parenthood on any possible ground that might be out there," he added.
SEEIC Deputy Director Elizabeth Klein told the Daily Caller that fellows "provide a supplemental, in-house resource to state attorneys general and their senior staffs on clean energy, climate change, and environmental matters of regional and national importance."
Klein added that "each AG office participating in the fellowship program has the authority consistent with applicable law and regulations to accept a Legal Fellow whose salary and benefits are provided by an outside funding source."
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