Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Steve Marshall’s Example

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Kudos to Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall for officially cutting ties with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

For those unfamiliar with the organization, NAAG describes itself as a “nonpartisan national forum” for state attorneys general. But it functions more like a left-wing litigation shop, with close and lucrative ties to plaintiffs’ firms. Not only have those firms been collecting gigantic attorneys’ fees from litigation they landed with the organization’s assistance, but NAAG itself has directly profited.

A recent $574 million settlement in multistate litigation against the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm included a $15 million payment to NAAG. That is almost double the amount that Alabama and other smaller states received. The organization’s net assets exceed $138 million, and its Mission Foundation has an additional $103 million. NAAG is now in essence a very well-funded liberal dark-money group.

Behind the veneer of bipartisanship, Republican members have privately complained that NAAG’s platform has been regularly used to encourage initiatives favored by Democrats on both the federal and state level, including consumer-protection initiatives that would outsource work to plaintiffs’ firms and increased regulation.

Conservatives have been revisiting their ties to ostensibly nonpartisan organizations that have chosen liberal approval over standing up for what is right. It is especially important that conservative attorneys general take a fresh look at the landscape now that they have become the front line in pushing back against the excesses of the Biden administration.

Explaining his decision with respect to NAAG, Steve Marshall asserted, “I can’t justify spending taxpayer dollars to fund an organization that seems to be going further and further left.” Good for him. Alabama appears to be the first state to cut ties with NAAG, and hopefully it will not be the last. Indeed, Austin Knudsen, Montana’s attorney general, applauded Marshall’s example and announced that “Montana is also examining whether continued membership advances our priorities.” Stay tuned.

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