State Attorneys General Make Worst-in-the-Nation List

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2010—The worst state attorneys general in the country abuse the power of their office for political ends, a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute finds.

“In recent years, many state attorneys have increasingly usurped the roles of state legislatures and Congress by using lawsuits to impose interstate and national regulations and extract money from out-of-state defendants who have little voice in a state’s political processes,” explains Hans Bader, author of the CEI Issue Analysis, “The Nation’s Worst State Attorneys General.”

Six state attorneys general comprise the worst-in-the-nation list:

1. Jerry Brown, California
2. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut
3. Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma
4. Patrick Lynch, Rhode Island
5. Darrell McGraw, West Virginia
6. William Sorrell, Vermont

California’s Jerry Brown topped the list for misdeeds like refusing to defend certain state laws he disliked.  One example was Proposition 8, a lawfully-adopted amendment prohibiting gay marriage – a law upheld by the state Supreme Court.  “Personally, I opposed Prop 8,” said Bader, “but it’s clear, by definition, that a provision of the state constitution cannot violate that very constitution; and it’s the duty of the attorney general to defend it.”

Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal scored 2nd worst on list.  In CEI’s previous AG report, released in 2007, Blumenthal occupied the worst spot.  But, it’s not merit that bumped him from the worst to the second-worst, Bader explains.  “Blumenthal has not gotten any better since then, but the competition for worst AG seems to have gotten fiercer.”

Blumenthal, “who has used the power of his office to spread largesse to cronies,” continues to earn demerits for his ringleader role in the ongoing, corrupt Tobacco Settlement racket of 1998, as well as for his support of racial quotas and speech restrictions, his attack on private property rights, and his various other egregious political activities.

The report used several criteria for determining who made the list of shame: ethical breaches and selective applications of the law; fabricating law, usurping legislative powers; and predatory practices (such as seeking to regulate out-of-state businesses that broke no state law).

> View the CEI Issue Analysis, “The Nation’s Worst State Attorneys General.”