No Insider Access for Private Donors

Free Lance-Star cited CEI’s lawsuit against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

Last November, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in Richmond’s Circuit Court after Herring’s office denied it had any records relating to the privately-funded special assistant attorney general position.

CEI pointed out in its court filing that while hiring outside attorneys is allowed under state law and the OAG’s Special Counsel Policy in cases where “it is impractical or uneconomical for the Office to render service,” the attorney general must state the reasons for the outside hires in writing.


In addition, CEI maintains that state law requires that any outside help must be paid with public, not private, funds in order to avoid any real or potential conflicts of interest. “Using law enforcement as private mercenaries is unacceptable. It aims to undermine voters’ decision to reject their political agenda, and it uses public resources to target political opponents,” CEI senior fellow Chris Horner, the plaintiff in the FOIA case, wrote in his “Law Enforcement for Rent” report published last year.

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