First established in 1999, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) describes itself as “America’s Last Line of Defense” against governmental “overreach,” with a mission to “preserve the rule of law.” The group supports the election and reelection of Republican attorneys general in as many states as possible ”to promote and protect the Constitution, freedom, and opportunity for future generations.”
As a 527 organization, RAGA can legally accept unlimited donations from individuals and businesses, meaning that corporations contribute millions of dollars each year to encourage state attorneys general to embrace certain legal and policy agendas. According to a 2014 Membership Benefits document obtained by The New York Times, annual fees of $25,000 and above for RAGA membership allow corporate donors to shape legal policy via an “online RAGA Briefing Room” and payments of $125,000 per year allow them to “lead private issue briefings.”
Together with its affiliates the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) and the Center for Law and Policy, RAGA runs a cash-for-influence operation that coordinates the official actions of Republican state attorneys general and sells its corporate funders access to those AGs and their staff. Over the years, both pharmaceutical and fossil fuel companies have been the top donors to RAGA.
RAGA has an RLDF ESG Working Group that likely coordinates actions taken by Republican AGs. David Johnson organizes the ESG Working Group, which has held at least one meeting—on July 28, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
On August 19, 2022, RLDF held a “communications call” to update state AGs on actions “across the country regarding ESG investing practices.”
RAGA also held an ESG and State Engagement panel at its 2022 Fall National Meeting in November.
As of January 2023, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall serves as RAGA’s chair, with 27 AGs listed as members on the RAGA site.
- David Johnson, president of RLDF, RAGA’s 501(c)4 arm and organizer of the RLDF ESG Working Group. Johnson spoke on a panel at the State Financial Officers Foundation’s 2022 Fall National Meeting on the “Legal Argument for Fiduciary Responsibility,” with Carmine Iaccarion, chief of staff and counsel to the Kentucky attorney general; and Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball. (11/15/22)
- Deputy Executive Director Johnny Koremenos
- Alabama Attorney General and RAGA Chairman Steve Marshall
- The Concord Fund: $4,000,000
- U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $1,505,200
- Koch Industries: $755,000
- Altria Client Services: $500,000
Source: 2022 IRS 8872 Filings
For more information, visit the RAGA page on SourceWatch.