Texas, Missouri and Montana exit group, citing ‘leftward shift’
Three Republican state attorneys general have announced their exit from the National Association of Attorneys General for its alleged “liberal bent” and questions about the distribution of funds from lawsuit settlements.
In an open letter posted to Facebook on May 4, the attorneys general of Texas, Missouri and Montana said they were withdrawing their states’ memberships from NAAG because the organization’s “leftward shift over the past half decade has been intolerable.” They claim that political bias has undermined the organization’s role as a nonpartisan national forum.
The letter provides no examples of the bias alleged by the signers. Instead, the Facebook post links to a March 30 article in the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, that details their issues with NAAG. The article claims the association’s alleged political tilt is the result of the fact that “the nation’s top law schools, its most powerful firms, and the American Bar Association are largely in hand for progressives.”
More specifically, the article cites GOP unhappiness with how settlement money from multistate consumer protection lawsuits is distributed. Those funds are put into accounts controlled by NAAG committees. Most committees have Democratic majorities. Republican attorneys general say they’ve been “stonewalled” when seeking answers on how funds are parceled out.
“I’ve specifically requested some more information from NAAG,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen told the Free Beacon. “And frankly I’ve been given nothing so far but platitudes.”
For its part, NAAG told the publication it is transparent with how the money is distributed, noting members can request information at any time.
The NAAG departures are not the first time a Republican state attorney general has exited the organization. The news site Ad Law Access noted Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall left the group in 2021. However, Alabama has continued to sign association letters and participate in multistate settlements.