Democratic AGs, lobbyists to meet behind closed doors

By Chris Rizo | Sep 15, 2008

SAVANNAH, Ga. (Legal Newsline)-When the nation's association of Democratic attorneys general meets here later this week it will largely be under a cloud of secrecy despite the fact that the event is open to non-Democrats and lobbyists.

The coordinator for the Democratic Attorneys General Association has declined to answer any questions about this weekend's event and who is attending the organization's Fall Policy Conference at the swanky Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.

DAGA Executive Director Travis Berry said the event is closed to the press, and declined to share with LNL which AGs or even how many AGs plan to attend the two days of meetings and social gatherings.

"It's closed to the press," Berry said Monday. "There is no portion of (the event) that is open to the press."

Asked which attorneys general would attend, Berry said, "We don't discuss that."

He added, "You can go to the DAGA Web site and find the information that is public, if that is helpful to you."

Legal Newsline has learned that of the nation's 28 Democratic attorneys general, just nine are planning to attend the meeting.

They are: Thurbert Baker of Georgia, James "Buddy" Caldwell of Louisiana, Robert Cooper, Jr. of Tennessee, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Doug Gansler of Maryland, Jim Hood of Mississippi, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Stephen Six of Kansas and William Sorrell of Vermont.

Interestingly, not likely to attend the event are some of the most high-profile attorneys general in the nation, including Jerry Brown of California, Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Terry Goddard of Arizona and Lisa Madigan of Illinois.

Also not attending the event are the DAGA co-chairs, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas.

Among the weekend's events that are closed to the press are the open and closing remarks and the invitation-only breakfast on Saturday morning, which is billed as "an opportunity for all of our Patriot Circle and Roundtable Members to share some additional quality time with our attending attorney generals while in Savannah."

According to an event agenda obtained by LNL, a group of political strategists, including Doug Sosnik, who was political director for President Bill Clinton during his second term, and DAGA's senior political adviser Joe Eyer, will address conference attendees about state AG races.

Afterwards, attorneys general will have more than two hours of private, face-to-face time with conference attendees, including lobbyists and potential outside counsel, who can schedule 15-minute "meet-and-greet" meetings with specific AGs, the agenda indicates.

The DAGA Web site says the Denver, Colo.-based group provides: "political consulting, technical assistance, candidate training, talent recruitment and other general political support services for sitting Democratic attorneys general and candidates for the vital office."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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