At a time when many Republicans are expressing frustration with what they consider a liberal tilt by one national group that represents state attorneys general, several GOP officials are participating in another coalition of attorneys general with liberal sponsors.
The annual meeting of the AG Alliance convened Monday in Sun Valley, Idaho, and is scheduled to run through Thursday.
Among those moderating a panel discussion at the gathering is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who is among GOP officials who recently exited the National Association of Attorneys General over what they say is a liberal slant.
Sponsors for the AG Alliance’s annual event include Meta (parent company of Facebook), Amazon, TikTok, and Target.
Another sponsor is the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, one of the left-wing nonprofits started through the Arabella Advisors network that is associated with another group that took money from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2020 to fund administration of elections in targeted states.
Koch Industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are two conservative-leaning sponsors of this week’s gathering of state attorneys general in Idaho.
The AG Alliance, officially bipartisan, began in 1982 as the Conference of Western Attorneys General, with 15 states represented. By 2019, the group had grown to include attorneys general from 46 states.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, is chairman of the AG Alliance, which is based in Elk Grove, California.
Other GOP state attorneys general participating in panels at the conference this week, according to the agenda, are Lawrence Wasden of Idaho; Lynn Fitch of Mississippi; Sean Reyes of Utah; Bridget Hill of Wyoming; Treg Taylor of Alaska; Todd Rokita of Indiana; Doug Peterson of Nebraska; and Jason Miyares of Virginia.
In addition to Weiser, other Democrat attorneys general participating in panels, according to the schedule, are Kwame Raoul of Illinois; Karl Racine of the District of Columbia; Hector Balderas of New Mexico; Holly Shikada of Hawaii; and Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon.
According to the agenda, Paxton was scheduled to be moderator of a panel Wednesday morning titled “Evolving Litigation Trends.”
Paxton’s panel includes Chris Yowell, president of Celerity Consulting Group Inc.; Page Faulk, senior vice president of legal reform initiatives at U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, a sponsor of the annual meeting; Eric Estes, general counsel for Xcaliber International; and Joseph Sciarrotta Jr., division chief counsel for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican.
Paxton’s office did not respond to The Daily Signal’s phone and email inquiries by publication time. In response to emails Tuesday, a spokesperson for Wasden’s office said it would have no comment and a spokesperson for Fitch’s office said it would respond, but did not.
The Daily Signal didn’t receive a response from any of the offices of the other GOP attorneys general who were scheduled to speak at this week’s conference.
Beyond the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, some sponsors of the AG Alliance gathering have staff scheduled to join attorneys general on the various panel discussions. These sponsors include Amazon, Pfizer, Uber, Pindrop, Celebrity Consulting, Canopy Growth USA, and CuraLeaf.
One of the key nonprofit sponsors is the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, a project of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit established by the left-leaning Arabella Advisors network. The organization advocates “automatic voter registration.”
“Any group taking funds from Arabella is not there to be nonpartisan,” Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, told The Daily Signal. “I can see [that] if an organization signs up as a sponsor for this conference, it can give [the sponsor] the veneer of bipartisanship.”
Sponsors do not detract from the organization’s bipartisan mission, said Tanie Maestas, the deputy executive director of the AG Alliance.
“The AG Alliance panels absolutely reinforce the bipartisan nature of discussions and policy topics,” Maestas told The Daily Signal in an email. “We pride ourselves on being a bipartisan forum where Attorneys General work in cooperation to share ideas, build relationships, and foster enforcement.”
The Center for Secure and Modern Elections did not respond to two email inquiries from The Daily Signal by publication time.
The center is closely associated with another organization, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which received $350 million from Zuckerberg and his wife during the 2020 election cycle to distribute to local governments for election administration. Critics of the grants say the money used local governments to drive up the Democrat vote.
This year, the two centers teamed up to be part of the Alliance for Election Excellence.
In 2020, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, sued the New Venture Fund in its role as parent organization of the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, and the company Full Circle for spending money on Louisiana election offices. A Louisiana judge ruled against the state.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include a comment from Tanie Maestas, the deputy executive director of the AG Alliance.
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