With less than a month to go until the November 2022 elections, a new IRS filing reviewed by Documented reveals that dozens of corporations are backing the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which is helping elect candidates who pledge to eliminate access to abortion care, undermine democracy, target vulnerable trans youth, and more.
RAGA raked in $3.7 million in Q3, according to the IRS filing, much of it coming from major corporations and trade associations. RAGA’s top contributors in the most recent quarter include: U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform ($750,000), Koch Industries ($250,000), PhRMA ($130,000), Philip Morris ($125,000), Reynolds ($115,110), Comcast ($100,000), Juul Labs ($85,000), 3M ($80,000), Visa ($50,200), Johnson and Johnson ($50,000), Toyota ($35,000) and many more.
RAGA will use these funds to pour money into advertisements, mailers and media to elect Republican attorneys general who will advance a controversial agenda.
Search the Quarter 3 Contributions to RAGA
Attacking Abortion Rights
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a RAGA member, led the legal strategy that ultimately overturned Roe, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. Shortly after the Dobbs decision which overturned Roe came down, RAGA sent a fundraising email stating that any future donations to the organization would be used to undermine abortion access.
Other RAGA members have also been busy using their office to restrict access to abortion. Just days after the Dobbs decision, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr sucessfully asked the 11th circuit to allow the state’s abortion ban to take immediate effect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has not only given Texas district attorneys the go-ahead to pursue criminal prosecutions of abortion providers under Texas’ draconian abortion ban, but has also indicated that he wants to penalize corporations and non-profits that provide funds for their employees or clients to access abortion care out of state.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is trying to replicate the Dobbs decision in state court, working to overturn a 1989 state Supreme Court decision which held that the state constitution’s right to privacy protects access to abortion.
In states like Michigan and Wisconsin, RAGA is spending millions supporting candidates who pledged to enforce century-old abortion bans that their Democratic opponents have promised to block.
RAGA is working to get even more radical right-wing AGs in office, recently hosting fundraisers for 17 AG candidates at its annual meeting, seven of whom are running for seats it hopes to flip.
Many of the candidates backed by RAGA are also vocal election deniers. Michigan Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno was part of Trump’s legal team in Michigan and was involved in a plot to tamper with voting machines. Arizona Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh has said that if he wins he would “prosecute crimes of the rigged 2020 election.”
RAGA itself was tied to the events of January 6, Documented revealed, with its policy arm paying for robocalls promoting attendance at the rally that turned into the U.S. Capitol siege. Republican attorneys general backed by RAGA have continued attacks on democracy since. They’ve worked to oppose voter protection legislation at the federal level while defending voter suppression legislation at the state level. In Virginia, for example, Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares formed an "Election Integrity Unit" in an attempt to continue stoking conspiracy theories around the 2020 election results and myths around voter fraud.
Targeting Vulnerable Trans Youth
Republican attorneys general backed by RAGA have also worked to oppose LGBTQ rights, particularly the rights of trans youth. In July, for example, 22 Republican attorneys general challenged a Biden administration policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in school lunch programs.
GOP attorneys general have also worked to block gender-affirming care. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, for example, issued a legal opinion defining treatments for minors as child abuse. Republican attorneys general have also supported efforts to ban trans youth from participating in sports.
Corps Benefiting from RAGA Membership Ultimately Underwrite GOP Attorneys General Extreme Agenda
Some of RAGA’s corporate donors have stated positions on issues like abortion that run contrary to the agenda they are bankrolling. But funding RAGA offers corporate interests an opportunity to access and influence powerful prosecutors.
In exchange for high-dollar contributions, RAGA offers donors exclusive access to Republican attorneys general and their staff at various events, retreats, and briefings. The higher the contribution, the more access and influence donors receive. For example, at a $50,000 annual contribution, RAGA donors can host issue briefings and submit issue panel topics at RAGA events.