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Republican Attorneys General Association

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Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) is a Washington, D.C. based, 527 type of U.S. tax-exempt organization of Republican Attorneys General. It was created due to "concerns arising out of the industry-wide lawsuits that seek to promote public policy changes via the courthouse rather than the statehouse," and out of a desire to stop those with "a wish list for future mass state lawsuits-car rental companies, pharmaceutical firms, makers of lead paint and gun manufacturers" leading the Texas Observer to coin its members "Corporate Attorneys General."[1] The group was formed in 1999[2] by "a handful of conservative state legal officials" who were "reluctant to sue big business."[1] As of April 2019, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is the Chairman of RAGA, and 22 AGs are listed on the RAGA site.

As a 527 political organization, RAGA can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations, and spends millions of dollars each cycle in an effort to elect state Republican attorneys general.[3]

RAGA offers corporations access to GOP AGs correlated to the amount of money they donate. According to a 2018 “Membership Benefits” document, obtained by Documented, $25,000 and above allows corporate donors to shape legal policy via “a secret online bulletin board,” and $125,000 per year allows them to “lead issue briefings” with the GOP AGs. But, the benefits of giving at the highest level -- $250,000 -- are only available “upon request.”[4] Per the New York Times, “more money equals more access.”[5]

The pay for play organization often receives funding from corporations who have legal stakes in outcomes decided by the GOP AGs. In recent years, the Pharmaceutical industry has followed "a playbook used by other corporations fighting off investigations by state attorneys general" via its donations to RAGA, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington."[6]. Fossil fuel companies gave millions to RAGA and GOP AGs made decisions favorable to the interest of those companies. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has exposed coordination attempts between fossil fuel lobbyists and RAGA members "to coordinate on shielding ExxonMobil from scrutiny” as the public grew aware of Exxon’s efforts to hide what it knew about climate change from shareholders and the public.

Major recent donors to RAGA include Koch industries, Entergy, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers , the American Petroleum Institute, The National Rifle Association (NRA), the Judicial Crisis Network, Amazon, Oracle, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Pharma, Cigna Health And Life Insurance Company, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and others.[7]

Known Contributers

Some of RAGA's previous contributors include:

Personnel

Attorneys General

As of April 24, 2019:

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, executive committee member[9]
  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
  • Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, executive committee member, former chairman (2017-2018)[9]
  • Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
  • Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr, executive committee member[9]
  • Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
  • Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Vice Chairman[9]
  • Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, executive committee member[9]
  • Lousiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, executive committee member[9]
  • Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt
  • Montanna Attorney General Tim Fox
  • Nebraska Attorney general Doug Peterson, executive committee member[9]
  • New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. Macdonald
  • North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem
  • Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
  • Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter
  • South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson
  • South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg
  • Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Chairman
  • Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, executive committee member[9]
  • West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

The following attorneys general are known to have been a part of RAGA:

  • Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, founder of RAGA and pending President Bush federal appellate court nominee.
  • Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), State Attorney General of Texas before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002.
  • Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley.
  • Delaware Attorney General Jane Brady.
  • South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, RAGA's first chairmen.
  • Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery.
  • Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg.

Staff

As of April 24, 2019:[10]

  • Adam Piper, Executive Director
  • Danielle Cleveland, Deputy Executive Director/National Finance Director
  • Peter Bisbee, Policy Director
  • Greg Cairns, Research Director & Deputy Policy Director
  • Amanda Gonzalez, Administrative Director
  • Jason Heath, Director of Operations
  • Ashley Highlander, Finance Director
  • Johnny Koremenos, Senior Advisor
  • Hannah Ray, Policy Coordinator
  • Lee Russell, Chief Financial Office
  • Maria Valerio, Finance Coordinator
  • Seth Wimer, Political Director
  • Mary Collins Atkinson, Office Manager

Contact

Address: 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: 202-296-5910

Email: info@republicanags.com

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External links

Other Related SourceWatch Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Andrew Wheat Corporate Attorneys General The Texas Observer, May 11, 2001
  2. RAGA about organizational site, accessed April 24, 2019
  3. Jaime Corey KOCH INDUSTRIES AMONG MAJOR DONORS TO GOP ATTORNEYS GENERAL GROUP FOR 2018 ELECTION CYCLE Documented April 18, 2018
  4. Jaime Corey 2018 RAGA Membership Benefits Documented accessed April 24, 2019
  5. New York Times Interactive RAGA as a Money Machine New York TimesOct. 28, 2014
  6. John Morgan DRUG COMPANY STEPS UP CONTRIBUTIONS TO ATTORNEYS GENERAL GROUP AMID LEGAL TROUBLE CREW, April 7, 2016
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Jaime Corey REPUBLICAN ATTORNEYS GENERAL GROUP HOSTING “OIL AND GAS SUMMIT” Documented April 8, 2019
  8. Jaime Corey REPUBLICAN ATTORNEYS GENERAL GROUP HOSTING “OIL AND GAS SUMMIT” Documented April 8, 2019
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 RAGA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE organizational website, accessed April 24, 2019
  10. RAGA staff organizational site, accessed April 24, 2019