Recently, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) decided to end a practice it had supported for four years — the brief, public posting of “sign-on” letters being circulated for support among the nation’s Attorneys General. Limited to “sign on” letters addressing public policy matters such as pending federal legislation (not enforcement or litigation actions) the 5-day public notice on the NAAG website about the circulating letters gave people the opportunity to contribute to the AG’s deliberation by providing facts and perspective that might influence the decision to support the position embodied in the letter.
Before this practice took effect, I once had the awkward obligation to inform a State AG that her state had a law on the books that would be affected by the sign-on letter’s position. She was not aware of that and had signed the letter based on that mistaken belief. I am sure there have been many other such examples due, in part, to the very brief time period usually dedicated to completing a “sign on” process.
While under no obligation to do so, NAAG’s transparency initiative for ”sign on” letters was a good tool both for AG’s and for those affected by the many issues on which they engage. It is a shame that we will no longer have that opportunity.
As I explained to clients, this change will just make keeping up with the AG’s that much harder.