The AG Cartel Breaks Down

On the Reuters news wire, Dan Levine reports on the breakdown of a gentleman’s agreement between state Attorneys General not to target each other in elections:

That hands-off stance ended this month when Republican AGs voted to abandon the agreement and spend money to help unseat Democrats in other states, according to the Republican Attorneys General Association.

I’m sure this is important news to those who were aware of this agreement, but for me, it’s the existence of the agreement in the first place that is news. Bad news.

It has long been my observation that any news story featuring the phrase “attorneys general” is going to be bad news. Nothing good comes from having these power-mad politicians combining their forces across state lines.

The  so-called ‘incumbency rule’ observed by the state attorneys’ party fundraising arms reflected a rare bit of bipartisanship in the polarized environment of U.S. politics, aimed at promoting cooperation across state lines on issues of common interest, such as consumer protection.

Consumer protection? Those sons of bitches! If two corporations agreed to divide up the market this way, it would almost certainly violate anti-trust laws.

They’re even doing it for the same reasons companies do it: Money. They’re essentially cartelizing the campaign spending market. They save money by not spending campaign funds to fight the opposing party’s incumbents in each other’s states. And the incumbents save money too, because they don’t have to spend as much to defend their positions. It’s win-win.

Except for the voters, who are more likely to find themselves stuck with an attorney general who faces little competition from the other party.

I assume this is all legal, because elections aren’t subject to commercial anti-trust laws, but it sure as hell smells bad.

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