When the National Association of Attorneys General was founded in 1907, its goal was to support the top law enforcement officer in each state in fulfilling the sworn oaths each took to serve the people of their state. The organization claims to be a “nonpartisan national forum providing collaboration, insight, and expertise to empower and champion America’s attorneys general.”
But over time, NAAG’s focus has shifted from promoting collaboration to promoting entrepreneurial litigation. NAAG has primarily turned into an organization that has only one goal: suing businesses for profit.
Over the past few decades, NAAG has played a significant role in some of the most prominent mass tort lawsuits. Its targets have included tobacco manufacturers, and most recently, opioid manufacturers and distributors. A recent ATRA report points to NAAG’s involvement in a 2021 opioid settlement with McKinsey & Co. in which the organization received $15 million. NAAG also received $103 million that grew to $140 million from the landmark Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
NAAG fully participates in settlements reached in these multistate lawsuits, just as individual states and their for-profit, contingency-fee counsel do. This places what once was an independent association in a situation in which it now appears to have profit as an overriding motive when it helps to initiate and settle litigation, just as the trial bar does.