S.C. Attorney General Records Reveal Meetings with Top Donors to Organization of Conservative AGs

Last week, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported on records obtained by American Oversight that show the level of access that the Republican Attorneys General Association’s top corporate donors have had with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who became RAGA’s national chair in May 2021.

Emails sent by RAGA officials to Wilson’s office in advance of several requested meetings contain briefing information about the companies along with requests for Wilson to share certain information or messages. According to CMD, several meetings took place in the days and weeks before those companies contributed to RAGA or to Wilson’s reelection campaign.

In one September 2020 email, Wilson was asked to meet with the vice president of TruGreen, a lawn care company that had donated $20,000 to RAGA in 2019. In the message, RAGA asked Wilson to thank the company “for their generous support,” and mentioned a lawsuit against TruGreen alleging that the company had misrepresented the safety of its chemical products.

On July 16, 2021, Wilson had another meeting at RAGA’s request, this time with two UPS lobbyists. The backgrounder for Wilson stated that the company was a “lapsed Committee Club ($15,000) level RAGA member” but that they “said they would renew,” and asked that Wilson give the representatives “an update on RAGA” and “remind them that their membership lapsed in February and ask that they renew this quarter.” (CMD reported that IRS filings indicate UPS donated $15,000 to RAGA three days after meeting with Wilson.) Among the “public policy interests” listed in the backgrounder was a RAGA-opposed proposal by the Securities and Exchange Commission to “increase climate change related disclosures,” as well as labor-related issues, including discrimination claims that “may be submitted to state attorneys general offices.”

Other records show that Wilson attended outside events with RAGA donors, including a March 2020 “dine-around dinners” event with Altria, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, which according to CMD has donated $375,000 to RAGA since January 2021. Wilson also attended an October 2021 dinner with Cozen O’Connor, a law firm that CMD reported had donated $112,650 to RAGA during the 2020 election cycle. 

Emails obtained by American Oversight also show Wilson being scheduled to meet with the Judicial Crisis Network, an influential conservative group that CMD reports is RAGA’s largest donor and has donated more than $3.5 million this election cycle. On June 10, 2021 — a month after he became RAGA’s national chair — Wilson was scheduled to meet with “Judicial Coalition,” a meeting that included Gary Marx, who CMD reported was listed in recent IRS filings as the secretary, treasurer, and director of the Concord Fund, the Judicial Crisis Network’s former IRS registration.

You can read more about the records and the Center for Media and Democracy’s findings at Exposed by CMD.