A Virginia-based law firm sued Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Monday for using attorneys financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to engage in a climate crusade against Exxon Mobil.
Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO) filed the lawsuit against Healey for using two privately funded attorneys to focus on prosecuting oil and gas companies. The attorneys are paid through a $6 million grant from Bloomberg and have ties to the anti-Exxon campaign.
GAO, which is filing on behalf of Energy Policy Advocates (EPA), is seeking correspondence and documentation of the hiring and work of these attorneys. Healey, a Democrat, is a critic of President Donald Trump and has promised her constituents that she will work to prevent the president from opening up coasts for oil and gas drilling.
Bloomberg, a prominent Democratic donor, launched the Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2017 with a $6 million campaign to embed attorneys in AG offices to push back against Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations.
Various AGs are reportedly using them to engage in climate lawsuits against Exxon. For instance, Gavin McCabe, a lawyer connected to Bloomberg Philanthropies, signed an amicus brief in June 2018 supporting New York City’s yearlong climate lawsuit against Exxon and Chevron.
Critics believe Bloomberg uses his group as a type of pass-through entity through which donors can support elected officials with resources that legislatures will not provide and which donors cannot legally provide directly. Much of his money targeting oil companies goes through Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Timothy Cornell, an attorney representing EPA, said agreements between private parties and the attorney general should be made public. “I’m not anticipating anything specific in these agreements. All I know is that the public should know what’s in them,” Cornell said to the Boston Herald. “The public should know what’s going on with their government.”
Healey’s office has not responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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