Republican attorneys general have teamed up with energy companies to fight federal environmental regulation in what a New York Times investigation says is an "unprecedented, secretive alliance." Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are so cozy with energy firms and other big corporations that they do things like allow lobbyists to submit legislation they would like to see pushed through state legislatures. The firms' lawyers also draft some of the letters the attorneys general send to the Environmental Protection Agency, other federal agencies, and President Obama, according to the Times, which notes that in January, there will be 27 Republican state attorneys general, a GOP majority unprecedented in modern history.
According to thousands of emails and court documents obtained by the Times, the attorneys general and the energy companies are closely coordinating their collective efforts to fight the Obama administration's agenda. And there's more than just ideological satisfaction in it for the Republicans: The attorneys general have received a record amount of campaign donations, including $16 million this year alone. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a focus of the Times investigation, says criticism of his ties to energy firms stems from today's "dysfunctional, distrustful political environment," and other attorneys general say the Obama administration's "overreach" has left them no choice but to team up with some of the corporations affected. (Read more energy industry stories.)