THE BLOG
09/02/2007 08:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

K Street Wants Justice Up for Sale

Just when you thought another branch of government couldn't be sold off to Corporate America, here comes a story from Stateline about how state attorneys general are now the targets of big-time corporate lobbying campaigns.

Here are some of the details from the story:

"A growing number of advocates turn a profit by lobbying state attorneys general - seeking to influence the investigations they pursue and the outside help they hire, according to current and former state attorneys general. It's an area of lobbying that has received little attention and even less oversight at the state level, experts say...The lobbying of state attorneys general mainly comes from corporations trying to dissuade the law enforcers from filing lawsuits that could cost the firms millions of dollars in legal fees, fines or out-of-court settlements...Other lobbying efforts are aimed at helping private law firms profit from state-led cases by winning lucrative government contracts to assist in litigation."

The article notes than in many states, there are little to no disclosure requirements for corporate lobbyists trying to buy off, influence, or otherwise manipulate state attorneys general. And at least one Republican attorney general seems slightly bothered by the whole situation.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) said:

"A cottage industry has sprung up. There are now hundreds of people making a very good living lobbying attorneys general," Suthers said. "When the 50 state attorneys general get together to discuss issues, there are often 100 or more lobbyists in the back of the room looking for an opportunity to further their cause.'...[He] said he finds the lobbying 'pretty disconcerting -- but I've also come to understand it.'"

Suthers' modest outrage at the pay-to-play nature of this is fairly surprising for someone from a party that has so happily embraced K Street lobbyists and the culture of corruption. That said, his "com[ing] to understand it" might have a little something to do with him becoming more acclimated to the ways of the Republican Party's use of attorneys general. You may recall that back in 2003, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) was exposed by the Washington Post for running an operation where it dangled the potential to stop state corporate prosecutions as a way to extort campaign contributions out of Big Money interests. So what's going on here is nothing new -- at least for the GOP.

I guess none of this should be a surprise. We live in a country governed by a party that sold off a war to private interests -- a government that has no problem flying $12 billion in cash over to Iraq, only to watch $8 billion of it go missing. Putting basic justice and law enforcement up for sale, I guess, is merely the logical next step. But boy -- when you read the Stateline piece, you see just how big the implications really are.

Cross-posted from Working Assets

"'A cottage industry has sprung up. There are now hundreds of people making a very good living lobbying attorneys general,' Suthers said. "When the 50 state attorneys general get together to discuss issues, there are often 100 or more lobbyists in the back of the room looking for an opportunity to further their cause.'...[He] said he finds the lobbying 'pretty disconcerting - but I've also come to understand it.'"

Suthers "com[ing] to understand it" might have a little something to do with him becoming more acclimated to the ways of the Republican Party's use of attorneys general. You may recall that back in 2003, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) was exposed by the Washington Post for running an operation where it dangled the potential to stop state corporate prosecutions as a way to extort campaign contributions out of Big Money interests. So what's going on here is nothing new - at least for the GOP.

I guess none of this should be a surprise. We live in a country governed by a party that sold off a war to private interests - a government that has no problem flying $12 billion in cash over to Iraq, only to watch $8 billion of it go missing. Putting basic justice and law enforcement up for sale, I guess, is merely the logical next step. But boy - when you read the Stateline piece, you see just how big the implications really are.