The Arizona Sun Times reported last week on rumors that Arizona Attorney General (AG) Mark Brnovich might withdraw from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) due to its leftward drift, and he did this week. He became the fifth state attorney general to leave NAAG over its left-leaning agenda, an exodus that began with Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall last year, followed by the AGs of Texas, Missouri, and Montana last week.
“We are hereby notifying you that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office had decided to withdraw its membership from NAAG,” Brnovich said in a letter to NAAG President and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. “The Association is supposed to function as a nonpartisan forum but the speakers and topics presented at recent NAAG meetings indicate otherwise. We believe NAAG must take immediate steps to remedy this partisan permeation.”
The three AGs who dropped out last week did so after NAAG’s annual conference in April revealed to them that the organization was not stopping its trend toward the Left. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “much of the conference’s programming was decidedly progressive, featuring a keynote appearance from left-wing moneyman Tom Steyer’s brother.”
The three AGs who left last month said they attempted to speak with management about their concerns but nothing was done.
“While we have been a driving force for NAAG’s success – both financially and on key issues – the Association’s leftward shift over the past half-decade has become intolerable,” they wrote in their exit letter. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said when he withdrew last year, “I can’t justify spending taxpayer dollars to fund an organization that seems to be going further and further left.”
Brnovich said he might consider rejoining NAAG if they addressed his concerns. “Our Office might consider a future membership at such a time as NAAG employs new leadership and provides an action plan to address our concerns,” Brnovich concluded. “We look forward to discussing next steps to effectuating our withdrawal.”
NAAG describes itself as nonpartisan, but much of its work clearly falls on the Democratic side. NAAG’s 2021 president, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, launched an anti-hate initiative as president which included stopping “systemic racism” and “promoting social and racial justice.” He put on forums such as “COVID-19 and the Rise of Hate and Extremism.”
NAAG wrote a glowing article last month about the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision ruling that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton does not have authority to prosecute violations of Texas’ election laws, and holding that a statute purporting to give the attorney general the power is unconstitutional.
NAAG urges policy positions, sending letters to Congress. In 2018, the organization urged congressional leaders to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Most Republicans in Congress opposed it, due to evidence it does not work and restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
The American Tort Reform Association has observed that NAAG is “a nonprofit that acts like a plaintiffs’ firm.” Its “focus has shifted from promoting efficiency and coordination to instead promoting entrepreneurial litigation targeting a variety of industries” including tobacco manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies selling opioids. NAAG “acts as a self-sustaining litigation machine” due to hefty annual dues from each state of $70,000 and “carveouts from multistate litigation settlements.” NAAG is “now forming working groups on climate change and environmental issues like PFAS, eyeing a new generation of potential mass tort lawsuits.”
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