In 2018, New York Attorney General Letitia James became the first African-American and first woman to be elected to one of the most powerful AG offices in the country. She is an experienced public servant with a proven record of fighting for New York’s most marginalized communities. As Public Advocate for New York City, she helped pass groundbreaking legislation that addressed the gender wage gap and advocated in court for disadvantaged children and families. As Attorney General, she is focused on defending civil rights and empowering communities by taking on Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-environment agenda, holding the NRA accountable, and expanding affordable housing and tenant rights for vulnerable New York residents.
General James’ major actions (and wins) in:
- STRENGTHENING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
In June 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a new federal rule that is dangerously anti-environment: the “Affordable Clean Energy (ACE)” rule. It repeals the Obama-era Clean Power Plan designed to curtail climate change and dramatically increases greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. In defense, General James is preparing a national coalition of state attorneys general to sue the administration. Previously, she led the lawsuit over the EPA’s failure to regulate interstate smog pollution, which has disproportionally and regularly harmed New Yorkers by exposing over 12 million people to unhealthy air and smog-related illnesses such as lung disease and asthma.
- PROTECTING OUR REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY
In response to Trump’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, Attorney General James led a coalition of states to challenge the decision that would have had irreversible implications for federal funding and political representation. Determined to protect our representative democracy, she and fellow Democratic AGs argued that a citizenship question would deter participation and lead to an undercount, therefore jeopardizing the process of finding an “actual enumeration” of the national population as required by the Constitution. As of June 2019, the US Supreme Court halted the citizenship question from being added to the questionnaire, in large part thanks to General James’ leadership in the federal lawsuit.
- INVESTIGATING THE NRA FOR FINANCIAL FRAUD
Keeping her campaign promise to hold the NRA accountable, General James launched an investigation into the organization’s tax-exempt status and its potential violation of financial laws governing non-profit organizations in New York. According to recent investigative reports, the NRA allegedly extracted millions of dollars from its budget through opaque transactions and gratuitous payments and failed to disclose such financial dealings in its tax filings. These are serious violations that can take away the organization’s non-profit status, which has granted it significant tax benefits in the past. General James is committed to holding not just the NRA accountable, but all fraudulent charitable organizations chartered in the state (including the Trump foundation), accused of violating state laws and taking advantage of New York’s taxpayer dollars.
- DEFENDING OUR IMMIGRANT NEIGHBORS
General James is committed to protecting New York’s most vulnerable populations, and this includes the state’s diverse and indispensable immigrant communities. As reported in various studies, immigrant workers suffer a greater risk of abuse and exploitation by their employers. General James introduced legislation that would address this issue by codifying the state’s labor law to prohibit employers from retaliating against immigrant workers based on their suspected citizenship status. She is also an outspoken critic of the mass deportation raids committed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and has publicly vowed to protect migrant families and asylum seekers against the federal agency’s inhumane raids.
- EXPANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Attorney General James, since her time as a NYC Council Member and throughout her public service career, has prioritized the issue of providing safe and affordable housing for vulnerable people in New York. In May 2019, she announced a new initiative that will give $12 million to housing agencies throughout the state to develop strategic solutions using technology and data to better preserve existing housing options. She also initiated an investigation into the infamous Edelstein family whose property management company has been accused of mismanaging and violating fair real estate practices that disenfranchised and placed at risk its tenants for decades.
General James in the press:
- Profile in The Hill: Trump gets powerful new rival in Letitia James. Reid Wilson, 5/2/2019.
- Profile in CNN Politics: The New York AG’s first 100 days of war against Trump. Sonia Moghe, 4/10/2019.
- New York Times Endorsement: Letitia James for New York Attorney General. 11/4/2018.