Kentucky governor candidate Daniel Cameron took millions from GOP pay-to-play organization
After the Republican Attorneys General Association bankrolled Daniel Cameron’s political rise, he helped the group fundraise and served on its executive committee.
Daniel Cameron is the Republican nominee in this year’s Kentucky gubernatorial race, challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Cameron won his election to be the state’s attorney general four years ago, with millions of dollars in support from the controversial Republican Attorneys General Association, commonly known as RAGA. He then repaid the favor by raising money for the group as part of its executive committee.
In a January 2020 press release, the group boasted that it had made a “nearly $7 million investment” to support Cameron’s 2019 campaign.
The nonpartisan Center for Media and Democracy has been highly critical of RAGA and its dark money affiliate, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, accusing them of operating a “pay-to-play operation.” Corporations and other monied interests give the group millions of dollars to both bankroll and buy access to Republicans running for and serving as state attorneys general. Those politicians then have the power to decide whether to pursue investigations into the corporations’ activities.
“RAGA and RLDF literally sell access to Republican AGs for powerful corporations and exert tremendous influence over the actions of the states’ top legal officers,” Center executive director Arn Pearson said in a June 16 press release.
According to OpenSecrets, RAGA is funded by an array of corporate and right-wing political interests. In 2020, it reported receiving more than $400,000 from petroleum behemoth Koch Industries, $400,000 from health insurer Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and $255,000 from the pharmaceutical industry lobbying group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
The investigative watchdog Documented reported in July 2022 that, in the first half of 2022, the Republican Attorneys General Association received $125,000 from health insurer Aetna, $75,000 from Exxon Mobil, $75,000 from the American Petroleum Institute, and $50,000 from the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
As attorney general, Cameron has served on RAGA’s executive committee and represented the group in its outreach to corporate donors. In October 2021, he signed on to a letter, with 18 other Republican attorneys general, urging the U.S. Senate not to regulate methane emissions. According to records obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, the American Petroleum Institute briefed RAGA’s policy directors weeks earlier on the supposed harm methane regulation does to the oil and gas industry.
In July, Cameron and other Republican state attorneys opposed efforts by the Center to access public records relating to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s official communications with RAGA.
RAGA’s Rule of Law Defense Fund made headlines in 2021 for its role in making robocalls urging people to attend the “March to Save America” in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, fueling false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. The protest morphed into the Capitol insurrection, though the group denied involvement in the attack.
“No, I was not aware of those,” Cameron told the Louisville Courier Journal at the time. “I think other organizations that were specific to that robocall made it clear that none of the attorneys general were aware of that robocall.”
The American Independent Foundation reported in April that Cameron has touted his role in settlements with drug companies implicated in the ongoing opioid crisis, but also took more than $11,000 in campaign donations from lobbyists for those same pharmaceutical companies.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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