DAGA Download – May 15
May 15, 2020
GOP WOES IN INDIANA
On Monday, the Indiana State Supreme Court suspended Republican AG Curtis Hill’s law license for 30 days. The suspension, which starts May 18, is the result of an investigation into credible accusations of sexual misconduct by four women, including a state lawmaker. AG Hill is facing a contentious primary currently set to play out at the GOP convention next month. In addition to a two-year-long silence on the sexual misconduct and battery charges, the Republican Attorneys General Association continues to financially back AG Hill. DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin said, “if RAGA and the Republican Party of Indiana want to leave this one up to the voters to decide, then they all better be ready for an expensive fight that will burn one message into the minds of voters by election day: Curtis Hill, the would-be Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the state of Indiana, was found by the Indiana Supreme Court to have committed sexual misconduct and battery.” Read the full press release here!
#WinTheEra ENDORSES PENNSYLVANIA AG SHAPIRO
Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro was among the first round of endorsements from “Win the Era,” a PAC formed by former South Bend Mayor and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg called AG Shapiro “[a] reform-oriented Attorney General” who “has brought needed integrity and leadership to the office at a time when we are seeing in new and urgent ways just how much state attorneys general matter.” AG Shapiro tweeted a heartfelt thank you saying he was “honored to have the support of Pete Buttigieg!” Read more here!
KEY UPCOMING DATES
May 19 – Oregon Primary
June 2 – Pennsylvania Primary
June 2 – Montana Primary
June 2 – Utah GOP AG Debate
District of Columbia AG Karl Racine and Maryland AG Brian Frosh scored a key victory Thursday in their case to hold President Trump accountable for potentially violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The case was re-heard by the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which voted 9-6 to reject Trump’s attempt to shutdown the lawsuit. Because of the court’s decision, AGs Racine and Frosh will be able to request key documents, including business records related to hotel stays and restaurant expenses. Read more here!
A coalition of 9 Democratic AGs filed a lawsuit against Trump’s EPA challenging the agency’s decision to halt its enforcement of a wide-range of federal environmental laws due to the COVID-19 crisis. “We must remain vigilant in protecting our environment,” Vermont AG T.J. Donovan noted. New York AG Tish James said “[t]he EPA’s non-enforcement policy puts our already damaged public health in danger by freely allowing pollution from big corporations.” Read the complaint here.
DEM AGs FIGHT FOR WORKER PROTECTIONS
On Tuesday, a coalition of Democratic AGs sent a letter urging the Trump administration to enforce heightened COVID-related safety protections for meat-processing workers who are working during the pandemic. “The industry’s workers are risking their lives to maintain production in these facilities under extremely unsafe working conditions,” the Dem AGs wrote. The letter also notes recent news reports on the 45 meat-processing workers who have died from the coronavirus and the 10,000 cases tied to meatpacking plants thus far.
DEM AGs GO SUPREME
Colorado AG Phil Weiser and Washington AG Bob Ferguson’s had cases “in front” of the U.S. Supreme Court this week (virtually, of course). The cases involve an unusual presidential election issue regarding whether or not states can require presidential electors to back their states’ popular vote winner in the Electoral College. The cases, commonly referred to as the “faithless electors” cases, could have important consequences for the 2020 presidential election, in an era of intense political polarization. Check out this clip from Colorado Public Radio to learn more.
ROSENBLUM TALKS VOTE-BY-MAIL SUCCESS
The current pandemic has raised important questions around how states can protect the fundamental right to vote while making the process safe for voters. DAGA Co-Chair Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum joined an American Bar Association virtual panel this week to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on elections, shared the success of Oregon’s Vote-By-Mail program, and discussed protections Oregon has put in place to make sure every vote counts!
TWEET OF THE WEEK
This week, the term “bully pulpit” took on a new meaning when President Trump once again subjected news watchers to outrageous remarks. His offensive and racist comment to “[a]sk China” was directed towards CBS News reporter, Weija Jiang, after she questioned the administration’s claims about its success in coronavirus testing. Trump and his administration continue to push xenophobic rhetoric even as hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community are on the rise. Connecticut AG William Tong, the first Chinese-American elected as state AG, shared his thoughts on twitter.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
This week, Colorado AG Phil Weiser argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Afterwards, he was all smiles as he enjoyed some cake to celebrate – looks like there are some perks of doing things virtually!
CATCH UP: Check out what Democratic AGs did last week with episode 6 of the DAGA Download here!