Since July, the Republican Attorneys General Association has attacked Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, the Democratic attorney general candidate, as being “funded by special interests he would oversee as attorney general.” The organization, which is dedicated to electing Republicans to office of state attorney general, released a new TV ad on October 1, 2015, called “Follow the Money.” The ad again criticizes Beshear for taking special interest money. Watch:
It’s pretty rich for the Republican Attorneys General Association to criticize anyone for taking “special interest” money. As the New York Times’ Eric Lipton reported last year, “Several of the largest donors to the Republican and Democratic Attorneys General Associations are companies or groups that have been targets of investigations or are seeking help from attorneys general in challenging federal regulations.” In 2014, the Republican Attorneys General Association raised more than $16 million, mostly from companies and trade associations representing a cross-section of interests.
In the first half of 2015, the most recent period for which data is available, the top contributor to the Republican Attorneys General Association was the Murray Energy Corporation, which contributed $250,000. One of the top coal producers in the country, Murray Energy has operations in Kentucky. In the Bluegrass State, the office of attorney general is empowered to enforce environmental laws, presumably of interest to a coal company like Murray Energy. In addition, in 2014, the sitting Kentucky attorney general, a Democrat, joined Murray Energy in challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft greenhouse gas emissions regulations.
In short, the Republican Attorneys General Association is funded by special interests who the next attorney general of Kentucky will oversee. It’s not hard to see. Just follow the money.