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NY Times Reveals Too Close For Healthy Relationships: State AGs, Lobbyists


Neb AG Included. Connection to KXL Issues Strongly Suggested

A major investigation by the New York Times reveals a relationship between state Attorneys General and Big Oil lobbyists. The relationship is so close the Times sees it as blurring the line between elective public service and lobbying. The story appeared in the Times on Sunday, December 7th.

The Nebraska Attorney General's Office is in the thick of the murky, disturbing alliance of blurred loyalties. According to the times, this email followed a meeting of AG representatives from nearly half the states, and Big Oil representatives.

The impact of the gathering was immediate. A week later, a new Federalism in Environmental Policy task force was established by lawyers in the offices of 19 state attorneys general, according to email records obtained from the office of Attorney General Timothy C. Fox of Montana, who had participated in the Oklahoma meeting.

"This message is in follow-up to the excellent environmental conference put on last week by George Mason University and hosted by the Oklahoma attorney general's office," said one email sent by Katie Spohn, the deputy attorney general in Nebraska. "In order to continue our coordination of efforts regarding Federalism in Environmental Policy, I am seeking input from each state who participated in the conference."

Spohn is the Deputy Attorney General assigned by AG Jon Bruning to handle the Nebraska landowner challenge to a Nebraska statute on constitutional grounds. A district judge ruled for the landowners. The case is now pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court. It was argued before the Supreme Court in early September 2014.

Read the entire Times article: Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

"The Times story is troubling. It suggests campaign money is now turning the professional judgment and attention of state AGs away from the peoples' work to the desires of political big spenders" Dave Domina said. Domina, and Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group pc llo have handled the landowner case since its inception.

The U S Department of State and President Barack Obama have said they will await the Nebraska Court ruling before taking more action on a border crossing permit application filed with the President by TransCanada. The permit is necessary for the Keystone XL pipeline to be built.

If built, the KXL pipeline will transport oil from northern Alberta tarsands. Tarsands oil production has been roundly criticized for its generation of greenhouse gases and the damage caused by surface mining processes used to extract oil from sand.

"As this story unfolds, the full dimensions of the forces our landowner clients and we are battling over KXL are becoming known", Domina said. "The KXL pipeline is not only a proxy in the fight over what to do about climate change; it is also fast becoming understood as a proxy in the fight to defeat monied interests that seek to buy the nation's elective offices".

David and Charles Koch of New York City are said to have potential revenues interests in tarsands production of $100 Billion. The Koch Bros. are major promoters of the pipeline's construction and they are major financiers of Republican candidates for public offices.

Bruning, Nebraska's Attorney General, will leave office in January. He and Spohn have announced their formation of a new law firm which they will open next month.

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