DAGA Download – July 17

July 17, 2020

ON THE TRAIL

RECORD-BREAKING 2nd QUARTER
DAGA announced that it raised a record-breaking $12.8 million in the first half of 2020, raising nearly as much in the first half of 2020 as it did in all of 2019. In Q2, DAGA raised $4.3 million, largely thanks to 25,000+ individual grassroots supporters who continue to play an important role in the committee’s growth. DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin said, “As DAGA has increased our capacity to elevate our AGs and become a trusted, reliable strategic partner to progressive organizations, our fundraising numbers have grown. Donors who support Democratic AGs and our candidates are recognizing more with each year the pivotal role that this office plays in making sure there is a level playing field for all.” In addition to the strong fundraising numbers by DAGA, incumbent Democratic AGs running for re-election and Democratic AG candidates seeking to flip seats blue in red and purple states are seeing strong fundraising numbers. For a full breakdown of battleground states read the press release here.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES IN BIG SKY
Republican AG candidate and former Montana Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen appeared on Northwest Liberty News, a radio show that has a history of playing fast and loose with the facts and pushing out dangerous conspiracy theories. In the interview, he labeled health officials as “dangerous” and said he has a “problem” with telling people they have to wear masks, all amid a deadly pandemic. So, does Knudsen side with the people of Montana or with conspiracy theorists and their dangerous, debunked theories? DAGA’s note on this can be read here.

ENDORSEMENT CORNER
Here are the key endorsements:

  • INDIANA: Democratic AG nominee Jonathan Weinzapfel was endorsed by UCFW local 700.
  • UTAH: Democratic AG nominee Greg Skordas was endorsed by the Women’s Democratic Club of Utah.
  • WEST VIRGINIA: Democratic AG nominee Sam Petsonk was endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia.

MULTISTATE MOMENTS

SUCCESSFULLY PROTECTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey 
led 18 Democratic AGs in a lawsuit against ICE after the Trump administration issued a new rule targeting the visas of international students. The rule would have required international university students to leave the country or take in-person classes, while the country is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after AG Healey announced the lawsuit, the Trump administration rescinded its plan. “ICE is rescinding its rule that threatens to deport international students, a day after we filed our lawsuit. This is why we sue. The rule was illegal and the Trump Administration knew they didn’t have a chance,” AG Healey tweeted. “They may try this again. We will be ready.” AG Healey spoke more about the lawsuit and the harmful action by the Trump administration on Yahoo Finance here.

BONUS: Last week three Democratic AGs, California AG Xavier BecerraNew York AG Tish James, and Washington AG Bob Ferguson separately sued the Trump administration on the harmful rule. Read about those suits here (CA), here (NY), and here (WA).

PROTECTING STUDENT BORROWERS
California AG Xavier Becerra 
and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey led a coalition of 23 Democratic AGs in a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, challenging the Department of Education’s decision to remove critical “borrower defense” regulations. The Dem AG coalition says DeVos’s plan removes vital protections for student-borrowers who have been misled or defrauded by predatory schools. “They rigged the system against students, flat and simple,” AG Becerra said. Read more about this lawsuit here.

 

AG SPOTLIGHT

AG SHAPIRO SPEARHEADS POLICE REFORM
Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro applauded the signing of a police reform package this week with the passage of two bills that aim to improve the state’s police force. The new laws require that disciplinary actions against officers be logged into a central database and that officers turn over all previous employment records when applying for new roles in law enforcement. Additionally, police officers will be required to partake in a new training program focused on the use of force, community and cultural awareness, and implicit bias, as well as have regular mental health screenings and trauma-informed care. AG Shapiro said, “Let me say this very clearly: Black lives matter. But saying it — that’s just not enough. We must listen and we must take action. And today … will be a down payment on the types of reforms we need to deliver on here in Pennsylvania.” Read more about the new laws here.

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Current Philadelphia 76ers Co-Owner Michael Rubin tweeted in support of the Commonwealth’s new police reform policies, which were proposed, passed, and signed into law largely thanks to the leadership of Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro. Rubin also serves as Co-Chair of the REFORM alliance, which works to improve our country’s criminal justice system.

 

VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

California AG Xavier Becerra made national TV appearances on MSNBC (here) and CNBC (here). AG Becerra discussed President Trump’s attack on international students and Democratic AGs’ aggressive and swift responses.