The current and former attorneys general of Washington state are among the subjects of a New York Times special report. The Times story details how companies under investigation by state AGs try to influence those cases. It also reveals how former AGs gain special access as industry representatives.
The investigation casts a wide net across the 50 states, but specifically calls out Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat. Ferguson has solicited campaign contributions from companies the attorney general’s office has investigated, like the makers of 5-hour ENERGY drink.
Ferguson’s office later sued 5-hour ENERGY for “deceptive marketing.” Ferguson pointed out he then refunded the contribution.
“Clearly a donation a donation of $1,000 from ETC Capital did not buy any favor from me with 5-Hour Energy, and I think that’s really the test from this,” Ferguson said.
The New York Times report also details how former Republican attorney general Rob McKenna lobbied Ferguson on behalf of corporate clients, including T-Mobile and Microsoft. Ferguson said that didn’t stop him from going after T-Mobile last year for deceptive advertising.
McKenna did not immediately respond to a call for comment.