The National State Attorneys General Program will conclude operations as of June 30, 2016. Their efforts helped develop and shape the work of state lawyers in carrying out their civil and criminal responsibilities. The digital archive amassed by the Program will continue to be made available to the public here until a transition to the National Association of Attorneys General is completed. Jim Tierney, Cindy Lott, and Frances Laviscount remain at the University and may be contacted at Contact Us.
National State Attorneys General Program
Mission: The National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School is a legal research, education, and policy center that examines the implications of the jurisprudence of state attorneys general. Working closely with attorneys general, academics, and other members of the legal community, the program is active in the development and dissemination of legal information used by state prosecutors in carrying out their civil and criminal responsibilities.
Each year, attorneys general, their staffs, federal officials, advocacy representatives and academics visit Columbia Law School to share their ideas and vision for high quality, state-based law enforcement and thereby contribute greatly to the Law School's commitment to serving the public interest.
Illinois and Oklahoma Attorneys General Join Long List of Attorneys General who have visited Columbia Law School (Spring 2016).
During the 2016 spring semester Columbia Law School welcomed Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to discuss issues of national importance. Since its inception in 2004, the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School has sought to be the primary institution for examining the office of state attorneys general, both as a sui generis branch of government and as an important and impactful actor in American jurisprudence. Over this period, hundreds of former and current state attorneys general from all fifty states traveled to Columbia Law School to meet with students, faculty, judges and the general public, to discuss issues as diverse as Charities Regulation and Oversight, Human Trafficking, Predatory Lending, Immigration, Antitrust, Human Rights and Climate Change. Attorneys general attended classes, mentored individual students, and shared their personal histories in video and podcast interviews with Director James Tierney - providing both an historical testimony of their journeys, and a map for law students interested in pursuing a career in public service.
Following in this tradition, on March 8, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan served as guest speaker at CLS Human Rights Institute's(HRI) Human Rights in the U.S. Speaker Series. Along with HRI, the event was co-sponsored by theNational State Attorneys General Program and Social Justice Initiatives, General Madigan spoke to students and CLS staff about how human rights principles play a central role in her office’s everyday work. Program Director James Tierney served as moderator for the event. For more details on General Madigan’s presentation click HERE.
As part of her visit to Columbia Law School, Attorney General Lisa Madigan sat down with Program Director James Tierney to discuss her perspective on the role of state attorneys general. Listen to the podcast HERE.
On January 28-29, 2016, the National State Attorneys General Program hosted a meeting on The Role of State Attorneys General in Protecting Diverse Communities. State attorneys general and other government agencies now face the daunting challenge of fulfilling their law enforcement mandate for an increasingly diverse population. According to recent estimates from the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, U.S. immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 80 million persons, or one-quarter of the overall U.S. population. This includes “naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States.”
Featuring the participation of a distinguished group of individuals representing 19 state attorneys general offices, as well as representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, participants discussed some of the central issues facing state attorneys general and federal agencies, as they respond to the needs of immigrant communities living within their respective jurisdictions.
The National State Attorneys General Program is pleased to announce that Cindy Lott, the Executive Director of the Program and Lead Counsel of the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project has been named to the Internal Revenue Service’s Advisory Committee On Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). Appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, upon the recommendation of the IRS Commissioner, ACT members serve for two-year terms. This year’s group of seven new appointees will be joining 14 returning members.
Created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, ACT provides a public forum in which IRS executives receive regular input on the development and implementation of IRS policy concerning tax exempt and government entities. Members are placed into subject specific teams and present reports and recommendations regarding their subject matter. These recommendations culminate in the submission of a final yearly report. Members participate in approximately five public meetings per year in Washington, DC.
Ms. Lott has been appointed to the Exempt Organizations project team and will be responsible for offering recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the redesigned Form 990. Ms. Lott and the other members of the advisory committee will present their reports and recommendations to IRS executives at the next public meeting scheduled for June 17.
Program Director James Tierney Lectures Newly Elected State Attorneys General on the Powers, Duties and Responsibilities of State Attorneys General
On December 1, 2014, at the invitation of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Program Director Tierney met with the 15 newly elected state attorneys general, both Democrats and Republicans, and lectured on the duties and responsibilities of the office of state attorneys general. He also met privately with some of the new attorneys general, assisting them and their staffs with transition related issues.
In a radio interview just hours before leaving office as the 43rd Attorney General, Doug Gansler reflects on his eight years as Attorney General of Maryland. Gansler said the billion dollar multi-state mortgage settlement is among his biggest accomplishment and that he is proud of his advocacy on same sex marriage.
Listen to his radio interview on WBAL News Radio 1090 HERE
On October 30, 2014, 1011 TV of Lincoln, Nebraska ran an excellent special report that contains an insightful in depth interview with Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, in which he describes the functions of his office.
"This job didn't become any more partisan in my books, but it did in the minds of some people," said Van Hollen. "And whereas I could walk around in this town during my first term, and with very limited exceptions, people treated me with great respect because I was the Attorney General, I found myself being disparaged because I was the Republican Attorney General. That was unfortunate."
In a discussion with National State Attorney General Program’s Director James Tierney, General Suthers reflected on his career as a prosecutor , first as a District Attorney, then US Attorney and now in this tenth and final year as Attorney General. AG Suthers encouraged students to consider tenure in an Attorney General’s office. “Attorneys Generals office is a tremendous view of public law and presents all kinds opportunities…It’s just an amazing opportunity.”