Times investigation questions actions of ex-AG Thurbert Baker

Today’s New York Times includes a lengthy investigation into the practice of former states’ attorneys general lobbying their successors, often in apparent violation of state laws barring lobbying activities by former officials for at least a year after they leave office.

The Times article reviewed emails showing that former Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who left office in 2011 for the Atlanta law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge, began lobbying Attorney General Sam Olens and his staff six months after he left office on behalf of AT&T.

Baker asked that Olens sign on to a letter endorsing AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile, and Olens agreed. Later, Baker asked Olens to have the state of Georgia join a friend of the court brief supportive of AT&T’s merger efforts. Olens also agreed.

Questioned about the apparent violation of Georgia’s one-year ban on lobbying from former government officials, Olens told the Times that the law only applied to lobbyists, not lawyers, and that Baker contacted him as a lawyer.

The Times asked Baker to identify any court filings he had participated in that would show he had represented AT&T in a legal capacity, and he declined, saying the Times definition of “lawyer” was too narrow.

“Lawyers are advocates,” he told the paper.

Read the Times full story here.


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