Charles Koch Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2016, July 11th, 2016 in Aspen, Colorado. Photo credit: Kevin Moloney
The latest financial report for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has been filed (see below). It reveals numerous corporations, top executives, and their trade groups donating a total of $4,537,553 to ensure Republican state attorneys general candidates are financially backed heading into the 2018 election cycle.
According to the report, which covered the first quarter of 2018, RAGA reported $4,537,553 in total contributions. RAGA’s fundraising has been steadily increasing. During the first quarter of 2016, the last election year for a majority of attorneys general races, RAGA raised $3,511,055.
Its Democratic opponent - the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) - has also improved its own haul since 2016. In the first quarter of 2016 it raised $1,029,111, rougly half of the $1,975,476 it raised in the same period in 2018.
RAGA is a 527 political organization that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations, and spends millions of dollars each cycle in an effort to elect state Republican attorneys general.
In return for both high-priced membership fees and other contributions, the group provides exclusive access to Republican state attorneys general and their staff. Last year, RAGA held an event at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and a holiday party at the Washington D.C. Trump International Hotel.
Here are some highlights from the new report:
- The fossil fuel industry collectively spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting RAGA in the first quarter of 2018. Contributors included Koch industries ($250,000), Entergy ($125,000), American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ($75,000), Joseph Craft who is the CEO of coal company Alliance Resources ($50,000), Whiting Oil and Gas ($50,000), Edison Electric Institute ($50,000), American Petroleum Institute ($50,000), NextEra Energy ($25,000), Southern Company ($25,000), American Gas Association ($15,350).
- C. Boyden Gray, the former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, whose clients in the past have included Exelon, First Energy, and Constellation Energy gave $125,000.
- The National Rifle Association (NRA), which was RAGA’s second largest contributor in 2017, contributed $25,000. Documented reported in February that RAGA has promoted NRA backed candidates in elections and has utilized NRA materials that grade candidates based on their opposition to restrictions on gun ownership.
- The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and the Judicial Crisis Network both contributed $250,000 -- making them the highest contributors in the first quarter along with Koch Industries, which also contributed $250,000.
- Tech companies also supported RAGA, including Amazon ($50,000), Yelp ($15,350) and Oracle ($50,000). Smaller contributions from Facebook ($350), Lyft ($700) are likely RAGA conference fees.
- RAGA paid America Rising a total of $14,421 on research expenditures. In 2017, Mother Jones reported that the EPA paid a company affiliated with America Rising, Definers Public Affairs, to provide “media monitoring.” The New York Times reported that the EPA employees’ who spoke out against the agency had their emails targeted by a lawyer at America Rising. The contract with Definers was cancelled following media scrutiny.
Photograph of Charles Koch by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm TECH. Used under creative commons license.