DAGA Download – August 7
August 7, 2020
ON THE TRAIL
MO: ALL IN FOR FINNERAN
On Tuesday, Rich Finneran won a competitive Missouri Democratic primary for Attorney General. “Finneran is committed to protecting access to affordable health care, restoring integrity to the Missouri OAG, and upholding the rule of law so justice can be applied equally. DAGA is excited and ready to hit the ground running to support Rich Finneran in his effort to become Missouri’s next Attorney General,” DAGA’s Executive Director Sean Rankin said in a statement. His primary challenger Elad Gross, who ran a strong grassroots campaign, quickly backed Finneran in the general tweeting, “I’ll be voting for @RichFinneran to be Missouri’s next Attorney General. Until then, I’ll be helping him get there.”
AG FERGUSON WINS OVER WASHINGTON
Washington AG Bob Ferguson cruised to an early victory on Tuesday in Washington’s top-2 primary. DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin said, “From his first lawsuit against the Trump administration, he made it clear that he will exercise the full force of the law to defend the people of Washington State. From stopping the President to defeating the gun lobby, AG Ferguson and his team have won time and time again in court to keep Washingtonians and in fact all Americans safe.” AG Ferguson received nearly 57% of the vote, with his now Republican challenger receiving just 24%.
A VOTE FOR RAPH GRAYBILL IS A VOTE FOR PUBLIC LANDS
Democratic nominee for Montana AG and current Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Steve Bullock Raph Graybill is committed to protecting public lands. This week Graybill released an aggressive new plan to protect the state’s public lands including proposing Montana’s first-ever Public Access Advocate, a new position within the Montana OAG solely dedicated to handling illegal road closures and facilitating re-openings.
JOSH STEIN, Champion for the People vs. JIM O’NEILL, Missing in Action
DAGA shared a blog post this week detailing the stark contrast between North Carolina AG Josh Stein and his Republican challenger Jim O’Neill. The summary: Jim O’Neill is missing in action on the issues that really matter in North Carolina while Josh Stein is leading the fight for families and keeping communities safe. When voters go to the polls in a few months — or begin voting by mail in a few weeks — they won’t miss out on the chance to cast their votes for the leader who puts their needs first: Josh Stein. Full blog post here.
- NORTH CAROLINA: AG Stein was endorsed by former 2020 presidential candidate and HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Gun Safety group Giffords PAC.
- PENNSYLVANIA: AG Shapiro was endorsed by former President Barack Obama, former 2020 presidential candidate and HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
- VERMONT: AG Donovan was endorsed by former 2020 presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, VT State Employees Association, and the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont.
- WEST VIRGINIA: AG candidate Sam Petsonk was endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America.
- August 11: Vermont Primary
- August 13: Netroots Nation Panel “Building Racial Equity” featuring California AG Xavier Becerra, Colorado AG Phil Weiser, DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, and Minnesota AG Keith Ellison.
FIGHTING HATE & DISINFO
20 Democratic AGs signed an open letter penned by District of Columbia AG Karl Racine, Illinois AG Kwame Raoul, and New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal urging Facebook to take additional steps to combat disinformation, hate, and discrimination on its platform. “With the vast resources at your disposal, we believe there is much more that you can do to prevent the use of Facebook as a vehicle for misinformation and discrimination, and to prevent your uses from being victimized by harassment and intimidation on your platforms,” the letter states.
PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH
A bipartisan coalition of more than 30 state AGs led by California AG Xavier Becerra urged the federal government to increase the availability—and address the affordability—of Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has shown promising results in COVID-19 patients. “During this unprecedented crisis, we must use every possible resource and tool available to save the lives of Americans who are falling ill from COVID-19,” AG Becerra said in a statement. “We cannot afford to leave the supply of this critical medication to chance and the whims of the marketplace when it was funded in part by taxpayer dollars.”
SUPPORTING VOTING RIGHTS
This week a coalition of 20 Democratic AGs, led by District of Columbia AG Karl Racine and Illinois AG Kwame Raoul, called on a federal court to reject a Florida law that requires formerly incarcerated citizens to pay outstanding fines and fees in order to vote. “Florida’s pay-to-vote law for returning citizens is nothing less than a modern-day poll tax that seeks to disproportionately and unlawfully deny voting rights to minorities and low-income citizens,” said AG Racine. The coalition filed an amicus brief in the U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit arguing that the law unlawfully requires individuals to pay court-ordered fines before voting and does not adequately outline a process for determining how much each person owes. Read more here.
BONUS: In addition to calling for the restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated citizens, several Dem AGs honored the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act being signed into law and called for stronger protections around voting including DAGA Co-Chairs Massachusetts AG Maura Healey (here) & Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum (here).
DEM AGs v NRA
- New York AG Tish James filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the grounds of years of self-dealing and illegal conduct. AG James’s lawsuit charges the NRA of diverting millions of dollars of donations away from the organization’s charitable mission, awarding contracts that benefit close associates and family, and buying former employees’ silence. “The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” AG James said in a statement. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.” Read AG James’s statement here. Watch AG James on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow here.
- District of Columbia AG Karl Racine also filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the NRA’s charitable foundation, alleging the group was used to funnel money to its lobbying arm. “Charitable organizations function as public trusts—and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests,” AG Racine said in a statement. Read more about this effort here.
TWEET OF THE WEEK (DOUBLE FEATURE)
President Trump attacked voting by mail (again) and this time DAGA Co-Chair Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum let him know just how wrong he was…
After the New York AG Tish James filed her lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, gun violence prevention activist and gun violence survivor Fred Guttenberg shared his gratitude for AG James’ lawsuit.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
MT GOP’S ANTI-PUBLIC LANDS AGENDA ON NOTICE
DAGA released a new video slamming the Republican nominee for Montana AG Austin Knudsen’s anti-access record on public lands. The video details a particularly alarming incident regarding Knudsen’s family blocking access to a veterans’ park located along the Missouri River outside of Culbertson. Read more about it here.