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Archive for the ‘Attorney General News’ Category

State attorneys general: New Republican power

From Reuters:

Many of them participate in monthly phone calls coordinated by the Republican State Government Leadership Foundation, a group that raises money for conservative causes and helped arrange the March news conference. Chris Jankowski, the foundation’s executive director, said the calls are focused on strategy and policy yet can involve litigation decisions.

The officials also coordinate their efforts through the Republican Attorneys General Association, another fundraising group. That organization, started in 1999 out of frustration with environmental and other priorities of the then-overwhelmingly Democratic state attorneys general, raises money to help elect more Republicans to state office. The timing of that group’s founding was ideal, as Republicans took the White House in 2000 and made great strides at the polls over the next decade. (Democratic attorneys general formed their own group in 2002.)

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Attorneys General Join Forces to Call Into Account Illegal Obama Administration Violations

Yesterday, Attorneys General from 9 states joined forces to call into account numerous legal and constitutional violations by the Obama Administration.

From the RSLC:

As chief legal officers of the states and commonwealths, attorneys general are the last line of defense against an increasingly overreaching federal government. Attorneys general have a duty to uphold the laws of their respective states and uphold the U.S. and state constitutions.

One of the ways in which attorneys general protect the integrity of state laws and constitutions is by carefully reviewing the actions of the federal government and responding when they break the law or overstep the bounds of the Constitution.

Federalism is the division of authority between the federal and state governments that the Founding Fathers created to provide a check on federal power so that the federal government would not become destructive of the very liberty it was instituted to protect.

Read the Rest of the Memo at

The Good, the Bad, and the Predictably Ugly

Check out a new RSLC President’s Perspective column on the agreement between the Obama administration, state attorneys general, and our nations’ largest mortgage lenders on foreclosure practices.

The long awaited announcement last week that the Obama Justice Department and state attorneys general have reached a settlement with five of the largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure practices contains a mixed bag of consumer benefits: a regrettable lack of connection between the alleged legal violations and remedy provided, coupled with the all too familiar grandstanding by the Democratic attorneys general. As Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt indicated when his state refused to join the settlement, this settlement went beyond the actual alleged legal violations. It contains generous terms for those who may have fallen victim to shoddy foreclosure practices, but equally generous benefits for those who were never subject to any such practices. While I suspect that many of his fellow Republican attorneys general agree with Pruitt’s assessment, it is completely understandable given the dire housing market that some conservative attorneys general would reluctantly sign on to the settlement. And so it is that this settlement, which even the Washington Post described as “rough justice”, is firmly located in the American political neighborhood at the intersection of “Principles Street” and “Pragmatism Avenue.”

The banks should not be faulted for being willing to settle. Like all businesses, the mortgage lenders need regulatory certainty and predictability.  In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress did not enact laws requiring “cram downs” on mortgages and other features included in this settlement. The American public was truly divided on wanting to help get the housing market back on its feet and not wanting to reward irresponsible behavior – after all, while there were lenders that were making ill-advised and irresponsible loans, there were also consumers on the other side willing to accept them. (Yes, yes, I realize that some consumers probably could not understand the complex terms of the mortgages, but who, making $35,000 a year, would not wonder why they were being lent enough money to buy a $500,000 home with no money down and a poor credit history?)

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GOP AGs Co-Host Republican Presidential Forum with Mike Huckabee

Saturday night, Attorneys General Pam Bondi (Florida), Scott Pruitt (Oklahoma), and Ken Cuccinelli (Virginia), appeared on FOX News with Mike Huckabee to question the Republican primary candidates for President.

Watch the whole thing below:

Governing Magazine’s New AG Race Rankings: Dems Remain on the Defensive

From Louis Jacobson at Governing:

The outlook for the 2011-2012 state attorney general races has changed only modestly in the nine months since we last analyzed them. Our ratings have shifted slightly, but six of the 13 races are still competitive.

Currently, the national balance is split evenly: 25 Democrats to 25 Republicans, down from a 32-18 Democratic lead prior to last year’s election. The rapid erosion of Democratic control of state AG offices is an ominous development for the party, since it robs the party of a meaty policy office and a key job for building an in-state farm team for higher office.

For the 2011-2012 cycle, we rate four contests as tossups — two of them Democratic-held Montana and West Virginia, and two of them Republican-held Washington state and Pennsylvania. Two other AG seats, all held by Democrats, are rated lean Democratic (Kentucky and Missouri).

Meanwhile, seven contests in 2011-2012 look strong for the incumbent party — Utah, Indiana and Louisiana for the Republicans, and Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont for the Democrats.

Of these, two were competitive when we last analyzed them. But with Buddy Caldwell’s party switch from Democrat to Republican in Louisiana, the race is now safe for Republicans. And in Mississippi, the GOP opponent to long-serving Democratic AG Jim Hood has yet to demonstrate a strong likelihood of an upset.

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Court Upholds WA AG’s Authority to pursue Health Care Challenge

From Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna:

In a 9-0 ruling, the Washington State Supreme Court denied the City of Seattle’s request to require Attorney General Rob McKenna to withdraw Washington from the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law passed in March 2010 and upheld the Attorney General’s authority to defend the public interest.

“I’m pleased the court affirmed the authority and responsibility of the Attorney General to challenge the constitutionality of federal laws that threaten the constitutional rights of this state and its people,” McKenna said. “It’s important that the state’s constitutionally-established, independently-elected Attorney General – whomever it may be — have the authority to protect the legal rights of the state and its people in the years to come.”

The city argued the Attorney General overstepped his authority when he joined more than a dozen state attorneys general in filing the suit in late March 2010.

The state argued the courts have consistently recognized that the Attorney General’s constitutional and statutory role requires him or her to exercise independent legal judgment that takes into account the legal interests of the state of Washington as a whole when determining how to best protect its legal rights.

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Mississippi GOP Aims for a Sweep

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Republican Party has launched a major push to capture the Mississippi House of Representatives this fall, a goal that has eluded it since Reconstruction and that would remove nearly every vestige of Democratic control from the state’s government.

A win for Republicans in Mississippi on Nov. 8 would complete a near sweep of state governments across the South that began decades ago and accelerated in last year’s midterm elections. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee now have Republican governors and the GOP controls both houses of the legislature in those states and North Carolina.

Mississippi is one of only four states holding legislative elections this year. The others are Louisiana, Virginia and New Jersey, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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VA AG Says he may run for U.S. Senate

From the Washington Post:

Much of the speculation about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s political future has focused on whether the Republican who has made a name for himself suing the federal government would run for re-election, or for governor in 2013.

But in an interview with The Washington Post, Cuccinelli said he may run for U.S. Senate in 2014 — possibly setting him up to take on one of Virginia’s most popular politicians, Democrat Mark R. Warner.

And Cuccinelli didn’t hold back on his criticism of the former governor, who many assume has grown a bit restless with the great deliberative body that is the U.S. Senate.

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RSLC Expands Leadership Team

Alexandria, VA (July 12, 2011) – The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) today announced the further expansion of their team with the hiring of Jessica Medeiros Garrison as the Republican Attorney’s General Association (RAGA) Director. Garrison successfully managed the 2010 campaign of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and most recently served as Deputy Attorney General and Chief Counsel to the Alabama Attorney General.

“Jessica led me to win my first state-wide office. I am confident she will continue to fulfill an instrumental role in supporting Republican Attorneys General across the United States. This is a great opportunity for Jessica and the Republican State Leadership Committee. I look forward to working with her in the future through RAGA,” said Alabama Attorney General Strange.
As RAGA Director, Garrison will play a key role in organizing RAGA’s caucus activities throughout the year and supporting key Attorney General races across the country.

“Jessica has the perfect blend of fundraising, political, and substantive experience to serve as RAGA Director as we are poised to gain a Republican majority of attorneys general in the coming election cycles,” said Chris Jankowski, RSLC President.

Garrison served with former Alabama Attorney General Jeff Sessions (currently United State Senator) and as Director of Public Relations and Legislative Affairs for former Attorney General Bill Pryor (currently U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, 11th Circuit). She also served as law clerk for former Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge L. Scoot Coogler and was a partner with the law firm of Phelps, Jenkins, Gibson and Fowler. She has been an active leader and member of numerous community, business and charitable boards including the Business Council of Alabama, Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama, United Way of West Alabama, Family Counseling Service Board, Druid City Hospital Foundation Board, Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, Kid One Transport System, Tuscaloosa County March of Dimes, Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority Strategic Planning Committee, Farrah Alumni Law Society Board of Trustees, and National Association of Bond Lawyers.

Garrison has been admitted to the Alabama State Bar and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama, and maintains her membership with the American Bar Association and the Alabama State Bar.

The RSLC raised more than $30 million for the 2009-2010 cycle as part of an effort that picked up 20 legislative chambers, six Attorneys General, three Lieutenant Governors and seven Secretaries of State. The RSLC is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders and the only national organization whose mission is to elect down ballot, state-level Republican office-holders. Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates for the office of Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and State Legislator. The RSLC has more than 100,000 donors in all 50 states.

Law and Order Republican Enters Washington State Attorney General Race


Reagan Dunn, a local representative on the King County Council and a former federal prosecutor, entered the race Tuesday morning for state attorney general.

In a long-expected campaign announcement, Dunn, a Republican, referenced his experience at the U.S. Department of Justice as a key asset in the race, and rolled out a series of high-profile endorsements.

“I am running for attorney general because I am concerned about the overall direction of Washington state government and I believe we can do much better,” he said in a statement. “While Rob McKenna has done a very fine job as our AG, much more still needs to be done. Our state faces significant challenges, including high unemployment, an unfavorable business climate for job creation and crime levels that are unacceptable.”

Dunn is seeking to succeed Attorney General Rob McKenna, the leading Republican in the 2012 race for governor. McKenna launched a bid for the Governor’s Mansion on June 8.

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