Brian Frosh Using Gmail for State Business Related to Michael Bloomberg Scheme

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The Washington Free Beacon reports that Attorney General Brian Frosh was conducting state business via his Gmail account:

Emails obtained through open records requests by Chris Horner for the nonprofit organization Government Accountability and Oversight show that Frosh conducted much of this business on his personal Gmail account, raising questions of the extent to which other business about the Maryland AG office might flow through his personal account.

The emails themselves are related to the revelation that Frosh participated in a scheme by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to place lawyers in the Office of the Attorney General, paid for by Bloomberg and not the state of Maryland, to focus on climate change and environmental issues.

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This story was first discussed last week by The Daily Caller who noted that Bloomberg was paying an attorney working in the Office of the Attorney General $125,000 to focus on these issues:

A climate prosecutor employed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on a “pro bono” basis is taking a $125,000 salary from a group backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to the nonprofit law firm Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO).

The State Energy and Environmental Impact Center is a New York University (NYU) School of Law program that places professional lawyers with years of experience into the offices of blue state attorneys general. The center is funded by Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and a climate change activist.

Bloomberg’s NYU charity project completely covers the salary of its fellows and, in return, the attorneys work out of the AG offices to push climate litigation that Bloomberg is interested in.

Frosh applied Maryland for the center’s fellowship program and set the salary of the “Pro Bono [sic] Special Counsel” prosecutor hired through the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center. Frosh classifying the attorney as pro bono is “problematic” and may put the AG’s office in legal trouble of its own, according to GAO.

Under Maryland law, “‘pro bono,’ of course, means that not only does the client not need to pay, but also the attorney represents the client without compensation,” Maryland’s state court of appeals said in the 2015 ruling in State vs. Westray, pointed out by GAO.

Part of the deal with the Bloomberg group is that Frosh is receiving talking points from the Bloomberg group to deliver to the Democratic Attorneys General Association promoting the Bloomberg plan. From the Free Beacon article:

In one chain of emails from August 2017, as the plan was being rolled out, Frosh was given a set of talking points to deliver to other state AGs on a conference call with the Democratic Attorneys General Association, explaining the mechanisms and execution of the Bloomberg scheme.

Those talking points came from David Hayes, whose email signatures identified him as the executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, a school within the New York University School of Law funded by Bloomberg to be the pass-through agency for the plan of placing the attorneys across the country.

Two days after that conversation, Hayes emailed linking to a story in the Washington Post that reported on the creation of Bloomberg’s school at NYU, and said, “We’re off to the races. This would never have happened without your leadership.”

Hayes was also a former Interior Department deputy secretary under both the Obama and Clinton administrations.

I recommend reading the entirety of the Daily Caller and the Free Beacon articles for the full context of these articles and what Frosh has been up to.

Curiously, local media has not picked up on this controversy surrounding Frosh’s office.

Of course, if you’ve been paying attention to Brian Frosh, you will realize his lack of respect for due process, his lack of respect for the law, his willingness to keep quiet what he’s doing in the Office of the Attorney General, and the politicization of his office. Frosh also refused to denounce former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for Schneiderman’s violence against women. So Frosh doing questionably ethical things for crass partisan purposes is certainly not a surprise to anybody.

But we do have some questions:

  1. Is it legal for Michael Bloomberg to pay the salary of an attorney in the Office of the Attorney General?
  2. Who does this attorney report to? Do they take orders from a state employee or from somebody outside state government?
  3. Who owns the work of the attorney? Do their records and information belong to the state or does it belong to Bloomberg?
  4. Whose interests is this attorney representing; the state of Maryland, or Michael Bloomberg.

What Brian Frosh is doing by allowing an outside attorney to be embedded into the Office of the Attorney General creates a level of murkiness in an office that is already focused more on politics than representing the people of Maryland. The media and the people of this state should have a lot of questions direct to Frosh for his involvement in this scheme.

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