tv Republican Natl Lawyers Association Conference CSPAN April 27, 2018 8:56am-11:51am EDT
the ranking never, to my good friend senator booker and to our colleagues center tell us and send a grant and her staff of crafting this, for getting to this point and look for to working with you in a bipartisan fashion to ensure it gets to the hearing and the vote on the floor it deserves. thank you. >> you inserts without objection be included. senator booker. >> chairman, you already considered a man of wisdom and now i know you're the patience of job as well to wade through all of the rhetoric of your colleagues so thank you very much for your leadership. i literally just waited this long to get gratitude one more time. i did that get a chance to publicly thank senator feinstein. i know she is no longer but i just wanted to keep upon her my gratitude as well. her and her staff were angelic in terms of their guidance, their stewardship, there was -- >> a couple minutes left in this meeting. we will leave it there and go live to the republican national lawyers association, a group holding its annual policy
conference in washington at among those you have found today federal communications commission chair ajit pai, labor secretary alex acosta and a private protection agency administrator scott pruitt. states attorney general and others. this is live coverage on c-span2 and it will start in just a moment. [inaudible conversations] >> kickoff or event with individuals as a group, that is been at the forefront, took over the last eight years and really fighting for the rule of law as the prior administration took some pretty aggressive steps that moved in the direction that seem to depart from constitutional bounds and particularly separation between the federal estate government. and the attorney generals have been the bulwark, republican veteran generals, against the federal overreach of the last eight years.
i'm so please let us he was able to make it. i first met leslie at a republican national doors event that i think was one of your first fundraisers to kick off your campaign, and it's the integral nature of our organization with republicans not just fed up with the state elected officials as well and you've done a phenomenal job since then. i had i have the distinct privif introducing the host of this particular panel and, frankly, the guy who puts it on force every time because of his connections with republican attorney general jec is a partner with the public policy group and the cochairs of the state attorney general practice. jec is a member of the board of directors and former president. with monthly five years of experience in public policy, he was recognized by chambers yours is one of the most proficient attorneys on the scene and i can type having attended meetings in national attorneys general meetings that he is the mentor if i follow him read everybody. early in his career he served as
legislative counsel to senator william roth on the banking and governmental affairs committee and while on capital he helped craft the branching act and his allies plans in every major financial services built over the past 20 years. in 2000 and he received a presidential appointment to the international center for the settlement investment dispute, an agency of the world bank and the world's leading institution devoted international investment dispute settlement. in recognition of his professional accomplishments he was then republican lawyer of the year in 2012. j.c. [applause] >> thanks. thanks, tom, for the very kind introduction. we thought we would keep this more conversational discussion with the state ag's rather than -- stay seated and hope to get questions from the audience as well during this conversation. again my pleasure to cohost
this, or co-moderate this morning with my new colleague, former attorney general of california dan lundgren who was down to my left come not necessary politically but great to have them here as well. dan joined the law from about a month ago as senior counsel of the from and what the word with our state ag groups of thanks again for being here this morning. .. for many, many years with active membership. and attorney general connor, i know you've spent a number of years in washington. guilty as charged. so, real quick introduction,
the 56th attorney general in arkansas, the first woman elected to that office and amazingly, i think the first republican effected attorney general in arkansas's history. incredible. [applause] >> she began her legal career clerking for the arkansas court of appeals. she later was elected to serve as deputy counsel to the office of then governor mike huckabee and then she came to washington. that's where we met. you were with the nrcc and then counsel of the rnc and served during the 2012 presidential election, active with a number of organizations, junior league, n.r.a., federal society and most important nlra and the raga, republican attorney
general association. and mike connor, i'm going to have to shorten the resume'. you've done a lot of things. and grit to have you, appointed last by governor of oklahoma to fill out scott pruitt's attorney general position and he went on to bigger and better things. and we'll hear from him later on today. general hu assistant attorney general, and coo of the aba, not american bar association, the american bankers association. along with former governor frank keating of oklahoma. land office of oklahoma, coo of the american council of life insurance, acli. he served as the oklahoma secretary of state and was chief of staff to then congressman jc watts. i like jc's first name, by the
way. and was general counsel of the oklahoma corporation commission so done lot. great to have you here and joined by general lundgren. let me try out a general open-ended question first for you to comment on. and bring up anything else you have on your mind. but what are your top, you know, two or three top of mind issues in arkansas and in oklahoma? we'll start with you, leslie. >> thank you, jc, and thank you to the republican national lawyers for hosting today's panel and inviting the republican attorneys general, mike and i to be here with you all this morning. as jc mentioned i've known lot of you all over the years and for me it's sort of like coming back to see friends and family. kind of like old home week to come to the nlra policy conference. unfortunately this year i won't be available to attend the election law this summer because i'm expecting my first
child in august. and being married to row crop farmer, he said that could be a harvest season. >> it will be a harvest all right. certainly, we work on a lot of consumer protection issues, criminal justice, ensuring that we hold those individuals accountable to harm arkansans. and we'll talk about the role of the attorney general, and during president obama's administration and even currently. what we've soon over the last four, five years is that we went from being the last line of defense during president obama, ag's and led by now administrator scott pruitt, and others, to suing the federal administration, whether it was
an epa case, the obamacare case, a number of lawsuits the department of labor overtime rules that mike and i can speak to later. now we are working collaboratively with this administration. i'm not saying that we agree on everything. i'd be surprised if any lawyers in the room agree on anything, sometimes i don't agree with myself on everything. but now, we have a seat at the table and it's been very refreshing, as the attorneys general, to have states rights being recognized and the rule of law being recognized by this administration, whereas before it had been trampled on, quite frankly, and it was the role of the republican ag's to hold the line and to file those lawsuits. so, in terms of priorities, we are doing everything that we can at home in arkansas to go after bad guys. i tell people i go after criminals, con artists and overreaching federal governments and that has been very effective because, unfortunately, there was a lot of all of those categories for
a number of years. but i think, you know, as we talked today, that's probably what we want to focus on are some of the issues that we've worked with together across state lines, in the last-- during the last administration, how it's evolved in this administration. i'll hand it to you, mike. >> thanks, general. well, good morning, everyone. you know, the bible and shakespeare of torn assets to any torn as clarence durro advised once and i'm very fond of one part of the good book and i think it's pro verbs 11:14, where there's no counsel people feel, but in abundance of counsellors, there's safety. i'm telling you, i'm feeling very safe today as i look around the room, jc. the challenge of any attorney general is, i think, fundamentally to keep the
people of your state safe. frequently that means you're keeping them safe from, as leslie said, criminals and scam artists. the challenge of attorneys general for the last seven or eight years has been to keep people safe from an overreaching predatory national government through the executive branch. one. challenges that we're beginning to see, and it's really in many ways a subset of what attorneys general were trying to combat for the eight years barack obama was president, and that is the politicalization of the exercise of executive power. we're seeing that now through the courts. attorneys general, republican attorneys general were doing their best to protect federalism, were doing their best to keep politics out of the courtroom, and what we see
now is, we see, unfortunately, our colleagues from the other side of the aisle again doing the best-- the best they can to politicize the courts and to politicize decision making out of the courts. we are very careful in my office to advise that, it is not our job to make policy. in fact, the only involvement that we have with our legislature is when there is a public safety issue. so, that's the line we draw. in fact, like a lot of ag's offices, when you have responsibility to issue attorneys general opinions, which have the force and effect of law, if you're in the middle of politics all the time, the state is not going to be able to trust in your office when it comes to the issuance of attorney general opinions.
i think attorneys generals ought to focus on the law and not policy so that's an important part of, again, what we have tried to establish as a priority. in terms of an area where we're seeing a lot of activity in our office, jc, we're involved in opioid litigation in our state against five manufacturers. we're in state court and that is a challenge for our office and it's certainly stretching resources, but at the end of the day you have to recognize wheth whether-- whether it's palatable or not that sometimes businesses do bad things and when businesses do bad things they need to be held accountable. and when you're seeing last year more americans died as a result of overdoses in this country, than americans who died in the war in vietnam.
64,000 died in our state about an average of thousand of oklahomans die of drug overdoses. that's a priority for our office. we're taking it very seriously and the commitment that we have to the people of our state is that we want a jury of oklahomans to listen to the evidence in our case. we're due to go to trial in may of 2019 and we want to hold these companies accountable. so, that's an overview of generally and specifically what we're focused on in our office. >> thank you. you know, i was going to maybe highlight some of the areas where republican ag's and democratic ag's take a very different approach and i think you'll get to that, but you brought up the opioid issue and that is one that's really a national crisis. i think probably every, you know, 50 attorneys or 51 in d.c. care about this issue or are trying to address the problem. so, it's a bipartisan issue. i'd be interested though, and leslie, i know you've been active on this and education,
and be interested to hear more about that. so while there's a lot of concensus here, are there also different approaches, depending on party affiliation or does it really matter? is it more dependent on your state and constituent interest? but i'd be interested in what the different approaches are you're taking in your states. >> absolutely. as mike said, the opioid epidemic is hitting all across america. there's not a family community that's not been impacted by this and in terms of, what we're doing in arkansas, i, too, have sued opioid manufacturers. we chose to sue three manufacturers and we had a lawsuit by our cities and counties in arkansas who have named 65 defendants in their lawsuits and this is something that ag's cross party lines, quite frankly, to combat. because whether it's a criminal or a bad business, this is something that attorneys
general by and large, democrat or republican, realize that they have to do something to protect their communities. and so, and i think that's, you know, we need to find opportunities in our work to be able to work together across the aisle, that we don't have a republican attorney general in every single state, but what we have in every single state is an opioid crisis so it's imperative that mike and i work with our colleagues to share information and to hold those individuals accountable. you mentioned some of the educational pieces and that's, you know, perhaps even though we're lawyers and i know that we want to talk about the law, i want to encourage you all to clean out your medicine cabinets. this saturday is national drug take back day so you can find a police station, sheriff's office, wherever to clean out the medicine cabinets. 0 most of the young people in their lives get their first prescription drugs from their parents or grandparents
medicine cabinets. while many of us can't imagine taking a prescription drugs out of a family-- taking our grandmother's nerve pill or whatever you call it, that's what young people do, so they do not-- prescription drugs do not increase in value sitting on your counter, sitting on your kitchen cabinet. they do not increase in value sitting in your bathroom, so clean those medicine cabinets out and helped the loved ones in your life. that's my psa for today, but it's very important because one in four teens in my state admit they've taken or shared prescription drugs and so, this is-- and they are getting most of them from parents and grandparents and i see a lot of folks in this room that are probably parents and grandparents and that i know may be watching at home. so, please, take advantage of that. but i'll toss it back to mike in terms of, you know, working together and cohesively, if there's different approaches. you know, certainly we have to work with the plaintiffs bar on this issue which makes some of
us a little uncomfortable. we're not normally over there on that side of the aisle with the plaintiff's bar, but it's imperative that we work with the plaintiff's bar to go after bad actors in this regard. >> yeah, this is-- this has been a little bit uncomfortable for me, a little bit more, because my background and experience as a lawyer has been on the other side of these kind of undertakings, representing energy companies and financial service entities. so, i'll just say that, we spent a lot of time reviewing this issue. we're con ivinced it's the righ place to be. when i chose a law firm, i wanted not only as chief counselor lead counsel, lawyers that had demonstrated skill and expertise in the courtroom and success. and i was able to identify two lawyers, one's a federal judge,
former federal judge and his partner reggie witten and both of them are victims of the epidemic. judge burris lost his niece to an overdose and mr. witten's son, a great football player injured, prescribed opioids, became addicted and lost his life to that addiction. in our state we're not just getting two great lawyers, we've got two great oklahomans who want to make their loved ones deaths mean something. that's a pont point i wanted to share with you. we focus in oklahoma on two other areas, this past summer and fall, we made recommendations to the legislature to make sure that we had all the tools on the policy side of things that we needed to get a handle on the epidemic, to get people well, to give law enforcement more tools and i'm happy to report
looks like everything we've recommended on the legislative side is going to be passed by the legislature and sent on to the governor. we're also getting tough on prescribers who are being reckless with their responsibilities to their patient, and this past summer, we actually charged a doctor with five counts of second degree murder. she-- we're pretty clear that ten of her patients died as a result of her over prescribing. we've got good evidence on five, over a one-month period she provided three of her patients 4,000 pills. so that's been our approach to this issue. and i will report as leslie said, we've gotten very good collaboration with our democratic colleagues in these lawsuits, sharing information, sharing strategy, so it's a case study for how this ought to work, jc. >> yeah, thank you.
well, let's switch back to some of the areas, maybe there's more disagreement in the past where republicans were united in pushing back on the federal overreach and you look at three signature obama issues, one was the affordable care act, obamacare, and past the house and senate and republicans-- and i know, mike, you worked a lot on this, dodd-frank and three republican votes in the house and senate and supporting dodd-frank and largely a bipartisan effort. federal overreach, 2300 pages of legislation and if that wasn't enough, unprecedented delegation of authorities, somewhere about 25,000 pages of regulation and rule making out of dodd-frank and didn't sit well with a lot of the state. cfpb under title ten of dodd-frank and leslie, you've spoke been this quite a bit. the third area which actually
didn't get congressional support that the president wanted to move forward on is in the american environmental area, cap and trade bill, it failed. where they failed in congress they decided look, through regulatory fiat to get things done with the epa, so, boy, what a difference an election makes with some of the new leadership that we have and pulling back on the federal overreach that we've seen in the past. but the republican attorneys general were largely united on this issue and what they saw was federal overreach. i'm going to go back to the federal issues and ask dan to lead some discussion there, dan served as two terms as attorney general in california and i think 18 years in the house of representatives, was also house of the chairman administration committee and chairman of the cyber security subcommittee and done a lot of great things and you've been active on environmental issues as as ag's have and some ag's lately on
climate change, for example, and i want to throw that one open, maybe, dan, to start with that. >> well, that was a precise question. [laughte [laughter] >> one of the things you find out after all of that nice introduction was that humility will hit you in the face. i looked in the play book and they've misspelled my name. that's okay, because it reminds you that you're not as important as you think you are. [laughter] >> in the area of the environment, and i would like to have a slightly different approach to this and ask you this. when i was attorney general we had the national-- we had national attorney generals association or national association of aspiring governors as they used to say. [laughter] >> we didn't have democratic or republican separate
organization. it was frustrating at times because we felt that often times the staff in washington sort of took over the agenda and the staff wasn't always looking to the republican view and we had to go recapture it. so, i'd be interested on the environmental issue and on other issues, what is the role that you see nag plays versus the republican ag association, the democratic ag's association? and the reason i ask that is we utilize the staff in washington of nag as a backstop and sometimes as a complementing or multiplier of force for us. how do you view those three organizations? do they assist you in coming together at times? and do they assist you in
marking out essential differences in your approaches, maybe, to environmental issues such that it then allows you to define, well, these are areas where we can work together, so, nag can assist us, these are areas where we can't, and we have the other? i'd be very interested in how that mechanism works because i think a lot of people who are dealing with your offices or dealing with those organizations need to have a road map as to how they approach them and particularly in the area of the environment where i think you might find a few places where you will work with your colleagues on the other side of the aisle in probably more places where you take different approaches. >> sure. as the chair of the republican attorneys general association, i will kick off this answer. you know, the organizations as represented lundgren said and i checked to make sure rutledge was spelled correctly and it was. you never know.
so, as the national association of attorneys general, nag, what a terrible, terrible name, but that's an attorney for all the attorneys general from the 50 states, district of columbia and the territories to come together and this really focused on educational pieces and talking about consumer issues, however, depending who the president of nag is, he or she directs a presidential initiative. this year we have the attorney general, derrick schmidt from kansas who is the president of nag and he has led, as part of his presidential initiative, a talking about elder abuse, which is something that happens sadly in every single state. next year the attorney general of louisiana, also a republican, will be the president-- the incoming president of nag and so jeff landry will help
set the agenda. so, it's important for the president, the executive committee of that organization to make sure that all the attorneys general are part of, also committees, talking about issues on committees and not just relying on staff. staff does a great job. when it comes to the democratic ag's, i can't speak to what they do. i know they raise a heck of a lot less money than the republican ag's do because we have been crushing it because we've got 30 races this year so i'm just going to brag on my team of the republican ag's and what they have done and as we look at the 30 races and that's what the political organizations are designed to do. the political organizations just like the republican congressional committee, the democratic congressional committee in washington d.c. are designed to focus on winning races and the republican ag's, we do have meetings. we collaborate. we share, we have a policy arm
called the rule of law defense fund where we are able to share information with each other, talk about specific issues and policies, sit down together, however, the organization itself is designed to elect republican attorneys general and that's what we're focused on. we've got some big races this year. we've got people from across the country and we've got some big races, we've got open seats in florida because pam bondi is term limited. we've got michigan, where bill schuette is running for governor. and we have nevada where adam blacksalt is running for governor and where mike dewine is running. we make sure that we maintain a majority of republican attorneys general. and it's it difference when we look at amicus briefs or signing onto lawsuits and that's the big switch.
and when mike made a joke about being safety in numbers all of these counsellors. and there's something to be said when you have 20 states signing on to a lawsuit against the affordable care act or 26 states having sued the environmental protection agency. that's why it's important to have colleagues like-minded across the country that care about defending the fuel of law. and i think that's what we're seeing in the daga, democrats attorney general and the republican attorney generals the sheer volume that we represent. and nag, the national association, they send out a ton of amicus briefs for us to look at and that's what mike and i spend a great deal of time looking at amicus briefs. and sometimes a 48-hour turn around. how many attorneys want to sign on to an amicus brief to the 9th circuit, any circuit, but particularly the 9th circuit or the u.s. supreme court with a
less than a week turnaround to have your top team look at it? but we do try to-- we have great lawyers on our staff and that makes a world of difference is having really smart, talented attorneys on staff with you. >> yeah, i'm not -- i'm not sure long-term what we do with the polarity that we do between democratic and republican attorneys general. frankly, i don't think that there's anything new that occurs with regard to the approach that i and my republican colleagues take to the rule of law and judicial restraint. i guess i'm reminded, and i promise i won't talk about the bible anymore. the parable of the faraci and republican from the book of luke. i was in sunday school as a
little guy. my dad was very active republican and so i'm listening to the sunday school lesson and the teacher concluded with the publican and i think the last line of the parable. the publican is humble and shall be exalted. after church i got in the car with dad, said dad, guess what i learned in sunday school? what's that? well, the republicans are humble and shall be exalted. the humility with the power and authority that presides in state attorneys general office ought to be magnetic and the idea that we can use courts to make policy to expand the interpretation of the constitution beyond what was ever imagined, either by the
founding fathers or decades of american jurisprudence is not something that i and my colleagues countenance. and unfortunately, we see that approach being exercised by our democratic colleagues who are attorneys general. so there's clearly poelarity there, there's clearly conflict, but the republican attorneys general association which is central to our objective, which is to ensure that a tradition al law is applied in this country and those the overriding, overarching principle that ties i and my chaegs together and certainly, the association. >> thanks.
>> and i want to point out they did get your name right on place holder. and by the way, it's spelled d-a-n. >> thank you very much. [laughter] >> 20-some years ago i was involved in the tobacco litigation. that was in many ways, as i viewed it, an outlier. and i thought during the pendency of that, that that was a subject matter best handled at the congressional level and we actually made it effort. attorneys general working with the then clinton administration and with some in the congress and including senator mccain, who's chairman of the appropriate committee at that time, to see if we could have a federal view of this and do it legislatively. we failed and so we maintained our effort on the combined states effort in the area of tobacco. that now is being used as an
example of how we ought to deal with a whole host of issues, and there are those that argue that the climate change issue is similar to the tobacco issue and therefore, we ought to have lawsuits across the country. we had to have multi-state efforts on this. similar with the opioid issue. it's often said, well, this is like tobacco, therefore, we should follow that. i would wonder what your thoughts are on that. is the tobacco litigation an exemplar that ought to be followed in these areas or are there distinct differences that may render a different approach appropriate? and i'd particularly be interested in your area, in your ideas on the opioid issue and the climate change issue. >> those are controversial issues. >> well, one of the theories
that is being utilized, it's our approach principally in oklahoma opioid factors as public nuisance. but our approach and our design is that you have cognisable damages to the state. you have verifiable injuries, sometimes deaths that have occurred as a result of the false marketing and the fraudulent inducement that occurred with regard to convincing prescribers that opioids weren't addictive. so, i will contrast that, as far as i'm concerned, in a very black and white way, with using public nuisance theory to sue energy companies on the basis of-- and with the motivation of establishing environmental policy, arguing that there's a public nuisance claim based on
some theory that the companies are impacting the environment is, as far as we're concerned, misplaced, there's no precedent as far as we're concerned for employing public nuisance theory on that basis. so, i guess the first thing i would say is that it's-- that it's absolutely inappropriate to use public nuisance theory to advance environmental policy. rather, when you've got evidence again that we think is very strong that there's been damages to the people of your state, injuries, deaths, public nuisance theory is appropriate as a theory of recovery. with regard to the comparison between the tobacco litigation and opioid litigation that's occurring around the country, i think there are some similarities, i would say similar, but not congruent. what we want in oklahoma is, we want these drugs to be
prescribed in only limited ways, very short time periods for period of care. and we want to recoup that the state has suffered with regard to health care, corrections, law lawen-- law enforcement and we've got a lot of addicts as a result of this. ineight out of every ten, most studies show, eight out of ten opioid addicts began their addiction as a result of prescription drugs. so they need treatment and rehabilitation and the ability to, as a part of this recovery, dedicate funding for treatment rehabilitation in our state. so, we can get people well, is as important a part that we're seeking as anything. >> leslie. >> thank you, mike. thank you, dan. and as a part of the master agreement following the tobacco
legislation, that's benefitted states, quite frankly, as a result of those companies and their trade practices, how they marketed, how did the addictive nature of tobacco and particularly for young people and so what you were all were able to accomplish in the master settlement agreement has really enabled states and potentially small states such as arkansas, we just negotiated and as part of our-- the master settlement agreement this year, the state of arkansas will receive $57 million and that money goes toward education, treatment, other programs to discourage individuals from tobacco use because of the dangers that we all now know, that are associated with tobacco. that being said, as, you know, we were looking at the opioid litigation, potential litigation. i think many of the aforementioned trial bar, plaintiffs bar saw, you know,
states as this is the opportunity to have another major lawsuit that could be multi-state, so we were inundated. i know my state was inundated with attorneys and we interviewed, you know, 30-plus law firms to decide which law firm that we were going to use that had the right expertise and the ability to work with my team in arkansas on handling that litigation. that goes back to the same premise on the opioid litigation that we're suing these manufacturers, is akin to the tobacco litigation in that how these prescription drugs were marketed, and particularly, how they were marketed to doctors who were then prescribing them to us and our families as patients. many doctors, just like any other profession, and here we sit as attorneys collecting legal hours, doctors are expected to have certain amount
of continued education. i'm sure that they think that they have continued legal education as well. but during those meetings, these companies, these manufacturers would send in their experts and would not, during these seminars, would talk about these drugs, encourage, you know, talk about the great things about them, however, they failed to disclose in our complaint, and this is what we're alleging, they failed to disclose the addictive nature that they knew these drugs had and that's why you see the influx of doctors prescribing high rates like what mike talked about earlier, the doctors they're going after in oklahoma, such high rates. so, that's why i think, you know, these lawsuits, they're important to recoup for taxpayers in our state. through medicaid funds and taxpayers money used and treatment programs and law enforcement and others, but it's also important to
differentiate between climate lawsuits and public nuisance theories because we do have in these climate lawsuits. this is something that we have talked about recently and yesterday we were meeting with the national association of manufacturers on this issue, how you have very small groups who have-- or are litigious in suing. and we're seeing this in sanctuary cities and your home state representative lungren. we have a number of cities suing based on greenhouse gas emissions or climate change that they're attempting to set energy policy nationally for the rest of us because what happens in those states, in california or in colorado, the city of boulder also has brought forth the same sort of
climate change issues, will impact those of us in arkansas or in jc's home state of delaware. it will be coast to coast impact across energy policy and that's not where energy policy should be decided. energy policy should be decided in congress by those elected to represent the people of those states and those debates should happen at that level and should not happen by small jurisdictions suing and essentially settling with these companies that would impact all of us and just as we saw during president obama's administration, the sierra club was notorious for their sue and settle tactics and they had a very warm audience at that time in the epa. i'm certain that later today, hearing from administrative pruitt or individuals with the epa, that, you know, it's a much different audience that you hear from in terms of, you know, what they're doing at the epa and on that note, i wanted
to give kudos to my former-- to mike's predecessor, scott pruitt as the administrator of the epa and president trump's administration for rolling back regulatio regulations, absolutely. [applause] >> you know, that is something -- when most people think of the attorney general, they do think about consumer protection and criminal justice, but they don't think about how we impact the ability to grow and create jobs in our individual states, and one of the things that we have done over the last several years as ag's is pushing back on those regulations and it's been such a breath of fresh air to have president trump's administration not do for, you know, every one regulation and two out, but rather for every one regulation and 22 regulations being trash canned and that's a true testament to the accomplishments of president trump and his administrati
administration. >> well, could i ask you a further question on the opioids. and i spent my whole political life fighting the abuse of drugs, both prescription abuse and street drugs. but how would-- how do you respond to the retort by those that in the year of opioids that is a category of products that has been regulated by the federal government under the fda. and that in many ways, if you look at, you know, the classification of drugs, determinations are made with respect to the seriousness of them and both the efficacious effects and the deleterious effects. and would not the argument that certain things, policies should
be decided at the federal level impact on the opioid argument, number one, and number two, we see not only states bringing lawsuits, but municipalities. now, i don't know what it is in your state, but in california we were able, as the attorney general, to take over lawsuits from the municipalities and do it on behalf of all the people and that normally would get the subject matter determined earlier, but honestly, on the other side of it, those who you were taking action against often welcomed that because they had a single lawsuit because it was going to be involved with whatever the decision was made that would effect all people, wouldn't have a number of them. so, in terms of the opioid issue, how do you view it in terms of the municipality and the state and number two, the argument that some would bring up, of all things regulated,
the drugs have been regulated by the federal government at least for a hundred years and shouldn't that be the proper arena to take care of that problem? >> well, it is true that the fda sanctioned much of the distribution that occurred with regard to opioids. our research, which has been asiduous, indicates that they missed it. like i said earlier, sometimes businesses do bad things and make mistakes, the fda missed it on opioids. >> as a general principle, dan, i agree with what you're saying, but in this case, it's an example of a federal oversight, really, of missing the boat in a very profound
fashion. in oklahoma we've attempted to, i guess, i appeal to the municipalities and counties nature. we think that our lawsuit on behalf of the state and all governmental subdivisions is the webest way to proceed. we've got one county that's hired a firm. the unique benefit that we've got proceeding at the state level and the state court. we're not going to be in federal court, the state is able to advance joint and several liability against the defendants in our lawsuit and if governmental subdivisions go separately they'll lose joint and liability. and i think that's the incentive in oklahoma to keep everybody in the state's lawsuit. >> thank you. and in arkansas, as i mentioned, we have a state lawsuit. we also have a lawsuit led by almost all 75 of arkansas's
counties as well as some of our municipalities. and you know, we're hopeful that both of those lawsuits will be successful. it's very likely that the counties and cities will unfortunately be pulled into a federal jurisdiction and into multi-district litigation. however, you know, a number of these cities and counties felt compelled to hire counsel, to work collectively together and we have had many conversations with them and working collaboratively with them. however, from the state standpoint, we have to keep our lawsuit separate, number one, to keep it in state court, but there are only certain claims that as the attorney general, i can make on behalf of ark arkansans, the deceptive trade practices act, which i mentioned earlier how these manufacturers did not fully disclose the addictive nature of these drugs, but under our
medicaid false claims act, that the attorney general must bring those claims and they must be brought in certain jurisdictions in the state, one being in the county where our capital, little rock is, or in the county where one of the defendants has resides. well, unfortunately for the cities and counties in their lawsuits, none of the defendants, they sued in another county outside of our capitol cities county and none of them reside where they filed lawsuits. it will prohibit me from being a part of that lawsuit. if i did, i would have to forego millions of dollars of claims for arkanans. we're hopeful that both of these lawsuits are successful in making sure that arkansans.
unfortunately we can't give those mommies and daddies their children back and can't replace the amount of time that families lost battling these addictions. the impacts don't just impact the individual, they impact the entire family and it becomes an absolute might-- nightmare, and particularly a child past the age of 18 and having access to their health records and working with them to get the treatment they need. so we're hopeful that both of the lawsuits will be successful. in terms of the opioids and fda, i know that congress is looking at a number of ways to now regulate it. i think many of us, you know, if someone said, well, this has been regulated, but government makes mistakes. i know that's a shock to you all, but-- and the federal government makes mistakes, so, now, i
realize that we have secretary acosta coming up next so he has not made any mistakes, just to be clear. but the federal government does and we've got some-- representatives from my home state of arkansas, u.s. senator tom cotton who has taken a hard approach particularly to fentanyl because we're seeing such an increase of synthetic fentanyl being mailed into the united states and how a small amount of fentanyl can wipe out a community. aim he not talking about a small amount that's less than this table. i'm talking less than this glass it wipe out an entire community, the potency of fentanyl and u.s. attorney general jeff sessions has taken a hardline approach and i think the federal government has finally woken up and certainly the administration has, but it's woken up to the dangers of
this problem and hopefully through some-- not litigation, that was a freudian slip, through legislation, that we will see being able to curb the number of prescriptions available to individuals, as well as the potency levels that we're seeing, and increasing the criminal punishment for individuals who are putting fentanyl out into the streets and killing individuals. >> so, we've got about ten minutes left and at the start of the discussion i promised everybody an opportunity to raise questions if they have any. why don't i open it up and i think there's a microphone over year. have a question? dennis, we'll get you next. >> thank you. we have a rather serious issue going on in new york state. i'm former deputy attorney general for new york. our current attorney general,
eric snyderman, is chomping at the bit to be able to prosecute the president of the united states out of the same predicate acts that the special counsel is looking at him. presently under new york state law, it is not allowed to go after and prosecute contemporaneously with the federal government, that is viewed under new york state law as double-jeopardy, even though in other states it's not. 's he seeking to try and change new york state law. we have the republican senate by one vote, which is preventing that, but he is desperately trying to put his 900 lawyers in the department of law out to an investigation of the president and the prosecution of him, irrespective of whenever happens with the federal investigation. is there anything we can do as a--
either through nag or some other mechanism to try and bring justice on them. >> well, nothing through nag because that is a bipartisan educational. however, it sounds like you would like to run for attorney general of new york, and we-- . [laughter] >> and will be soliciting contributions here. and that's really, in terms of, you know, unless there's an opportunity for us to file some sort of amicus brief, a comment letter to respond, please keep us informed and again, the republican attorneys general, we have a policy arm, the rule of law defense fund. our colleague in new york has been quite the burr in most of our saddles over the last year or two, and i would invite any comments or thoughts particularly with regard to, you know, when he or ag in
california are stepping outside of the lines of what should be role of the attorney general and that's what's important as mike talked about, that we adhere to the rule of law and the role of the attorney general, but unfortunately, some of our colleagues on the left have made it much more policy oriented, political driven in terms of when they file lawsuits. >> i'll just point out, adam piper sitting at the table is head of the rule of law defense fund and chat with him as well. i saw dennis kirk with a hand up. >> i'll just say briefly with regard to your query that as attorneys general we have to subscribe to oaths to both our state constitution and the federal constitution and i guess i'll just say that i have some confidence in federal courts will determine whether or not he has any jurisdiction. it seems to me that it's hard to conjure up any theory under which new york state law has been violated by the president. we'll see. >> as an outdoor sportsman, hunter fisherman, i like to go
all over the state hunting and fishing and i like to have my right to carry. now, there's a policy about each state's right to carry and et cetera, and how do you all break down on that? >> well, and you are welcome to come duck hunt in arkansas at any time and john ryder has some duck hunting in arkansas since he comes across the river from memphis to duck hunt. we welcome hunters and outdoorsmen and fisherman from across the country. in terms of open care, reciprocity, i don't know if that was your question, dennis, but-- >> concealed carry. >> concealed carry, yes, so we welcome. >> with a name like mike hunter, i think we know the answer, but-- . [laughter] >> well, are you arguing the full effect and credit clause of the united states constitution needs to apply
here? i think we can all agree on that. yes, sir? >> yes, i am participating in some opioid litigation in the state of florida on behalf of counties and municipalities, so, attorney generals hunter and rutledge, specifically, how do you -- we also are filing in state court and we're filing in florida under the federal deceptive trade-- or the florida state deceptive trade practices act. we want to keep it from multi-district litigation. how are you, when you file in state court, attempting to prevent and what is your methodology of preventing removal or appeal therefrom, thank you. >> very important litigation, obviously. >> well, with regard to oklahoma, we -- i guess a little bit of strategery and
luck, the companies weren't paying close attention to the lawsuit and they wanted extended answer period and that's the condition we allowed them to extend their answer. i want to be clear in oklahoma, i have the authority as dan described, to take over lawsuits where state's interests are at issue. the commitment i made i'm not going to exercise at that authority. i want counties and cities to be in because it's in their interest. we're having discussions with cities and counties that they are discussions based on collaboration, not coercion. >> and as i previously mentioned in arkansas, we've just sued three manufacturers at this point and based on our arkansas deceptive trade practices act, as well as medicaid fraud, soon in state court, the cities and counties, may not be able to retain jurisdiction in state court, but we're hopeful that they
will, but i would defer you to their outside counsel as to what their strategy is. i'll be happy to share that with you afterwards. >> you know, i see this, the secretary's rising so why don't we wrap up with any kind of concluding remarks you may have, you know, i assume both of you think this is the best job you ever had, got some highs and lows, but a great opportunity to serve in your respective states, and leslie, i noted on your website that you're trying to make the arkansas attorney general's office kind. lead law firm for the state. so if you're a lawyer and want a good job, may not get paid the most working for the state, but a good opportunity to make a difference. general hunter, i'm sure you're doing similar things in the state of oklahoma and general lungren, i know you did that in california where you made an opportunity to-- for young lawyers and maybe
more seniors lawyers to serve in good capacity. so, just any final remarks for any one of you? >> so shakespeare and the bible. here is my shake peer. i think line for line. to have the experience of a giant, but tyrannyist to use it as a giant. love shakespeare. the power and repose in the state attorneys general office is significant, almost, beyond measure. making decision about who to prosecute, who not to prosecute. mo who to sue. the advice you give to the state legislature, to the state agencies, that is a lot of responsibility and one of keys,
i've always felt, to leadership is to be able to surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than you are and i almost just really blessed, have to pinch myself on a daily basis at the talent that we have in our office. great lawyers, great public servants and great oklahomans. and were it not for that team, we would not have been able to experience the success that we have in the short time i've been ag. so, i guess i just wanted to do a quick shoutout to my team back in oklahoma jc. >> well, thank you, jc and representative lungren and national lawyers association, for inviting me for the policy conference. being the attorney general is the best job i've ever had and because you're going after bad guys every day. you know, you're upholding the rule of law, taking care of folks who are the most vulnerable, helping to create
opportunities for folks in your home state and across the country. so, it is extraordinarily rewarding, i sleep very well every night knowing that we've done everything we can to protect the people in my home state. i would encourage if you have any law students, folks who want to clerk at the attorney general's office and we created the office of solicitor general, and lee, who many of you know over the years. sg, and he has a team of two attorneys working with them. it makes a different to have the top law firm in the state and those leading the legal strategy. you know, i can't let mike out, i feel like we're going to pass the plate here in a minute and, but-- 'cause i'm going to quote from the good book here, as republican lawyers, first, let me say thank you, thank you for being the ones who are ready on election day and leading up to election day because it's this group of individuals who when the republican ag's, we put a
lot of time, effort, and resources into the virginia attorney general's race, sadly we didn't have the outcome we had hoped for, but when i walked into the war room of lawyers and saw many faces that i knew and had worked with over the years, but it's those are the folks that being ready on election night who aren't sitting at the watch party crying in their cocktail or celebrating, either one, but who are ready to go make sure that americans votes are counted and they're counted accurately and fairly is a true testament for your dedication for our democracy. so, thank you to the rnla for the job that you all do. so, my quote for our election season is going to be psalm 9012, you can always get more money it doesn't seem like it. you can always get more manpower, but you cannot get more time.
and so, when you go back to your home states and working, i hope with your attorney general candidates and others, know that you can't get more time and i just appreciate the opportunity to be with you all here today. thank you for your service to each of the communities and for your dedication to the conservative republican principles that we all stand for. god bless you all. god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> thank you. thank you. [applause] >> one observation. ... . [applause] >> we have a couple thank you
[inaudible conversations] >> we are not on break, people. the hard part of my job keeping us on schedule. we have c-span here. we want to keep going. i want to be very respectful of our next speakers time. if you could grab your seats i would appreciate it. thank you. just about to call chuck out. thank you very much. i will tell you that as the chairman one of the good things i kind of get to pick who i get to introduce and our next speaker, i have a tremendous affinity for for the following reason. he spent two terms as, in the
civil rights division at the department of justice and when i arrived after eight years of prior administration, sworn in, day one, the president made it clear we all needed to be sworn in on inauguration day, i went up there i had two politicals, myself and john gore. that was it. we were looking around, suddenly people popped up within the civil rights division, i think were keeping their head down for many, many years. to be perfectly honest i think our next speaker brought them to the department of justice. the opportunity to introduce the honorable alex acosta. mr. acosta is a son of cuban refugees, native the miami. first generation college graduate and earned undergraduate law degree from harvard university. following law school he served as law clerk for justice samuel alito, at that time court of appeals on third circuit and
gone on to larger and better things. he worked with private practice with kirkland and ellis and george mason university antonin scalia school of law. he has been in three senate appointed senate confirmed position. prior to his first senate confirmed position, he served first tour of duty at the department of justice, serving as the deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division. he was nominated an confirmed to the national labor relations board where he participated or authored more than 125 opinions. in 2003 he returned to the department of justice as the senate, nominated and senate confirmed assistant attorney general for civil rights where he served for a number of years. then moved on continuing in doj as the u.s. attorney for the southern district of florida. president donald trump nominated alexander acosta to be the 27th united states of secretary of labor.
he was sworn in on april 20th, 2017. the honorable alex acosta. [applause] >> thank you. good morning and thank you for the introduction. it's a pleasure to be here with you. when i was invited i gladly took time away from my official duties to join us because i think what you do is very important and it matters. and, today i want to talk about a topic that is, if not the most, i can think of no topic that is more important than the rule of law. as i was thinking about what to say my first reaction was, this is a very broad topic and one that i have addressed previously in some different contexts. i talked at length about the use of subregulatory guidance and the prior administration, this is one big area of difference that i think is overlooked by
many but oh, so important, the prior administration used subregulatory guidance, interpretive guidance to change substantive rules, and that is just wrong because it circumvents notice and common rule making, circumvents the law. that is not what the rule of law is about. those of us in government have a responsibility to exercise restraint in the use of subregulatory guidance. that is an area of discussion and debate. does one use the same approach, just to get to a particular end, or does one say the process matters, the means matter? my response is the process does matter and the means do matter, and we should not u.s. subregulatory guidance in the same way. that is a stark contrast between -- let me say there is a stark contrast between subregulatory guidance, interpretive guidance that changes sub stantive law and other things we have done, such as bringing back opinion
letters. opinion letters and other instances where we say, we're going to provide the regulated community with information on how we will constrain our judgments how we will actually enforce the law to a particular set of facts is fundamentally different than using subregulatory guidance to change the law. one is a change in law. one is applying facts to existing law and the two are fundamentally different. today, however, i want to speak about a slightly-related but equally important topic and that's excessive regulation. president trump has committed and rightly so, to roll back unnecessary regulation that eliminates jobs, that inhibits job creation, or that imposes costs that exceed their benefits. american workers and families deserve, good, safe jobs and unnecessary regulations are
impediments to job creation. there is such a disservice to american workers all across our nation. that's not to say that all regulations must or should be eliminated. common sense regulations, particularly those that address health and safety have an important place. there is, however, far too much regulation and that is just something that we need it take a step back and admit and do something about. regulations often serve to protect special interests from competition. this is a tough one that we need to talk more about because sometimes businesses will say, well the regulation is okay but we're not here to do what businesses want. we're here to look at it and sometimes large businesses will say the regulation's okay because it keeps the little business out of the market. and that's not good. that is not pro-competition. that is not pro-markets.
and so we need to recognize that sometimes regulations serve special interests by shielding them from competition. regulations are also incredibly expensive. regulations create costs at every step of the regulatory cycle. and that is something that is particularly difficult for lawyers because lawyers are a large part of that cost. writing and enforcing regulations cost taxpayers billions and billions of, if not trillions of dollars. regulated parties must hire lawyers to submit comments during the rule making process, interpret the regulations once they are issued, advise and compliance of issues and defend, and defend against protracted, expensive litigation concerning those regulations. so as attorneys it is sometimes difficult but oh so important for our profession to stand up to say even though we stand to gain from it, this is wrong.
by restrict restricting the range of actions regulated parties may take, they can forego new ventures, impede innovation, reduce competitiveness particularly in the global marketplace. we are like to think that we're not as heavily regulated as other nations. that is not true. we are, and in some cases more regulated. all these costs can dampen economic growth and divert fund employers could use to hire new employees increase work place wages. these costs canning staggering. in fiscal 2016 issued, in the prior administration over 80 major rules. major rules are defined those that have annual effect on the economy of 100 million or more. so in one year over 80 rules came out that have an economic impact of 100 million or more.
just do quick math. 100 million or more. a lot are more than 100 million. that is just in one year. that is only for a subset of all regulations from major rules. it's hard to estimate the number of good, family-sustaining jobs that those regulations have eliminated. some have tried. one study estimated that regulatory compliance and economic impacts of federal rules costs the economy $1.8 trillion. that's a lot of money. now again let me be clear, the mere fact that a regulation is expensive is not standing alone sufficient reason to rescind it. sometimes regulations carry hefty price tags are necessary. you see examples in some of the mining regulations that require costly compliance and costly practices for equipment but are
needed to protect hard-working americans, hard-working miners who work hundreds of feet below ground. the problem occurs when those in power do not appry reasonableness, do not apply a reasonable regulatory standard and the economic costs have a disproportionally negative effect as a result. to rolling back regulations that impose unjust costs or simply more costs is one key to deregulation. costliness is certainly the most common rationale but today i want to talk about a second rationale that is talked about much less and that i think is as, if perhaps not more important. and that is deregulation to preserve liberty. [applause] thank you. you know, the word liberty appears in the declaration of independence and the constitution and the pledge allegiance but here's a question for all the lawyers in this
room. how many times have you seen the word liberty appear in the federal register? [laughter] policymakers focus on rules economic cost and benefits. the rules impact on liberty though, i have rarely if ever seen discussed. this is understandable because it is so much easier to analyze economic costs and benefits than to analyze the impact on liberty. economic costs and benefits are suitable for quantitative analysis. numerical cost and benefits form the basis for technical analysis all persons on the left, on the right can understand and though they may disagree how it is done, the arguments can be channeled to the validity of the numbers or the definitional arguments or the assumptions or the scope of costs and benefits. rescinding regulations promote liberty, however, and that
requires a qualitative analysis, a value judgment. it requires that we ask in the name of liberty what are we giving up? it requires that we look at the nature of liberty the role of government, the principle of self-governance and, you know, it asks that we evaluate what we're giving up in liberty in light of other values, equality, safety, accountability, prosperity and how in the heck do we do that? our modern society more and more directs these discussions to a philosophy class. we tend to shun discussions of values on the assumption that it is all relative, that it is all a matter of personal opinion, that there are no fundamental truths but there are. and so as a result we tend not to talk about this. you certainly don't see it talked about in the context of
deregulation. i think that's a problem because liberty is part of what makes america different and exceptional. if liberty is sufficient to form the foundation of our nation then liberty should be sufficient to form the basis for changing or rescinding a regulation, period. [applause] if we go back to our founding documents, back to first principles, we see that our founders strongly believed this. the declaration of ipsco be read this way. it asserted america's intent to eliminate regulations that impinged on mankind's unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. what follows those words if you read it a long list of
grievances that justified our revolution. and certainly these grievances complain of britain's economic regulations if you think back to our history. what are they doing to regulate our economic prosperity, how are they maltreating economy's through regulation but they also indict british regulation of and interference with the liberty of americans, the ability of both individuals and the colonies as a whole to govern themselves and it is that that is at the heart of our american experiment. the citizens sit on juries, voters elect their representatives to washington, so by the same token americans should be trusted to exercise individual choice. and at a practical level, this means that washington should regulate only, only when necessary. and that limiting the scope of government protects space for people to make these judgments for themselves. and so the key is this.
when we focus on monetary costs, we implicitly assert that we're solely and economic being and that would be a sad state of affairs because we're so much more. freedom of expression, freedom to worship in accordance with one's conscience, safety from arbitrary government actions, the right to choose our own leaders, to make decisions on the way we live our lives. that is what makes us the envy of the world. so i would like to offer a few examples of how some of this works in practice. and one of the clearest examples i think is, a regulation that was enacted by my predecessor called the persuader rule. the persuader rule, i know some folks in this room know it, based on your reactions, issued last year required individuals to disclose when they provided legal advice to employers in a union organizing election. the effect of the rule was to discourage employers from
consulting with counsel. as everyone in this room knows the freedom to consult counsel of choice is sacrosanct in the american tradition. for good reason. even the american bar association came out in opposition to the rule, they did so based on concerns that it improperly infringed on attorney/client privilege, yet the rule was published. now we at the department have now published a new rule to rescind that rule. and here's the thing, the issue there is not the cost of compliance. the cost of the paperwork to report. the issue there is one of principle. do we believe that attorney/client privilege should be sacrosanct or not? and if we do, is it really about cost benefit analysis or should that be the end of the inquiry? i would argue that it should.
another example is the joint employer guidance. the joint employer guidance adopted in the prior administration stated that one business could be liable for the actions of another because they were, quote, a joint employer by virtue of indirect control. so i'm going to tell the story by way of example and one of the best examples that i saw was a brief that was filed by microsoft in opposition to this i should add. in march 2015 microsoft announced a new corporate responsibility initiative. microsoft would do business with large suppliers only if those suppliers provided employees with at least 15 days of paid annual leave. it is absolutely -- microsoft's prerogative to decide who it does business with and to say we're going to do business only if our suppliers enact certain policies because we believe that makes for better suppliers, more stable supply chain.
they're right. suppliers also have a choice to adopt a policy and to do business with microsoft or not to do so. that is the supplier's right. the government that ruled that ground liability on vague notions of indirect control, however, generally ends poorly, so here's what happened. shortly after microsoft announced this initiative a union representing employees of one of microsoft's suppliers demanded that microsoft engage in collective bargaining with that supplier's union and they said in microsoft's leave policy, where microsoft criteria for its suppliers, and argued that microsoft was now a joint employer of the supplier's employees, thus that microsoft was liable for the actions of its suppliers. well, the department has rescinded that guidance and here's why. putting aside the policy arguments, that is changing
fundamental structures of law. for decades if not centuries the notion of limited liability of corporations has been one of the basis of our system. so the question is, do we want to change that notion, that fundamental value, that liberty of corporations to proceed based on how they hire suppliers without taking on the suppliers employees by guidance, not even by rule, but by guidance, by subregulatory guidance? going back to where i started, isn't that a fundamental change in the interpretation of the law? and so i say this because in so many ways what we're seeing is regulations being used to restrict liberty.
and it is under the guise of economic analysis. subregulatory guidance being used to restrict liberty where regulatory, you know, cost benefit analysis isn't even necessary. and i think we need to take a step back, and really think about that. one project that i think is particularly important that we also think about, but i will call sub sub regular la guidance. here is what i mean by that. how are the policies within various departments of government impacting americans? how does our approach to enforcing or interacting with americans affect them? that is not even a question of rule or of guidance but that is a question of operations. and in some ways operations also impact liberty. something as simple as calling someone up saying, hey, we're
going to, you know, we understand that you're not required to do this by law but an audit would be oh so much better, if you actually did that. and i know that none of you have ever heard of that happening. but, that's impacting liberty just as much, and that is also having economic effects. and so, i waned to talk a little bit about this because my concern is, as we talk about regulatory roll back, and the president is very, very far ahead of expectations on that, 22 to 1 regulations being taken off the books, billions of dollars saved. i think an effort to quantify this we can sometimes get lost in the forest and the forest is this is being done to preserve
liberty and so it's not about just quantifying it. it is about the qualitative outcomes of this endeavor. first principles matter. as i said we're founded on the belief that americans should be trusted to govern themselves and if we trust americans to sit on juries and decide their freedom of fellow pen and women, and if trust them to elect representatives to government, we should certainly trust them to exercise individual choice and have the liberty to make decisions about the way they want to live their lives, unless there is a very, very, very good reason not to. thank you very much. [applause]
>> i want to again thank secretary acosta because what we wanted to do with this program, and you will see this in speakers we have coming up, we wanted to provide, and what you saw just now, this is the intellectual underpinning, this, we all went in and we said subregulatory guidance, bad, but this is the kind of deep thinker that is in there figuring out the underpinnings of these arguments. why it is, why it is so destructive. i want to tell you how much i appreciate your willingness to create that framework which this administration is moving. >> thank you, thank you very much. [applause] >> along with that intellectual framework we'll do a switch-up here in just a second.
i have the distinct privilege to be on the stage with two commissioners. how are you? i'd like to introduce dick wiley. dick wiley is the cofounder and partner of wiley-rime. a washington visionary by the national law journal, most influential telecommunications lawyer in the united states by "the herald tribune," top 100 men of the century by broadcasting cable, the list is huge, again i'm not going through all of them because i think you really want to hear,
okay. in that case he was also chairman of the federal communications commission, et cetera. i mean, he is well-known to this organization. dick is a member of our board of governors. he is also one of only go people who has received both republican lawyer of the year and our prestigious meese award. so with that i will turn the microphone. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. ladies and gentlemen, several years ago as you may recall we were very privileged to have commissioner ajit pai with us from the fcc we're very happy that he is back for return engagement but this time as chairman pai. [applause] and what a tremendously active year he has had at the helm, both substantively and
procedurally. he grew up in a small town in kansas, the son of indian immigrants, both doctors. he then went on to harvard and university of chicago law school, graduating with honors from both of them. served as a law review editor at chicago and clerked on the federal direct court thereafter. his professional career includes chief counsel of the house, the office of legal policy, the department of justice, chief counsel of the senate judiciary committee, associate general counsel verizon, and partner at a large law firm here in washington. mr. chairman, good to have you back. we have here a room full of lawyers from around the country but many of them do not practice in the communications field. so as we discuss some of the key fcc issues, perhaps you can provide a little context and brought in the background. i thought maybe we would start with what else, network
neutrality, which is at very, very often discussed issue. mr. chairman, can you tell us what that issue is really all about and why it is so damnably controversial? >> sure thing, chairman wiley. first and foremost thanks to the republican national lawyers association for having me back. thanks to chairman wiley for the very kind words of introduction. i was struck by tom, your description of secretary acosta a deep thinker. he has very important job. my job is somewhat different. i succeed when everyone in america can play a connected game of angry birds. not as important as secretary acosta's position but nonetheless we have important mix at fcc. networks neutrality as commonly known something you've seen in the news, typically accompanied the question, what is it exactly, why does it matter?
part of the reason why it eluded definition over many years, come to mean virtually anything people want it to mean and i think a combination of politicians and special interests and others have cast it as a yes question whether the internet would survive when the internet made the decision in 2017, some proclaimed end of the internet as we know i. as you know it the internet still in existence, still works. that is part of the problem here, there is no definition but the fundamental question is this, how do you want the government to regulate this thing called the internet? do you want it to be preemptive regulation from the federal communications commission based on a series of heavy-handed regulations that were adopted in 1934 regulate ma bell, the at&t telephone monopoly? or do you want a more light touch, market-based regulation pioneered in the clinton administration in the mid-1990s served american internet economy so well until 2015? we took a look at that issue and
we determined based on the fact and law as we saw it better approach was to return to the light touch framework. the previous administration in 2015 imposed on party-line vote and at the insistence of the previous president that these heavy-handed regulations would be imposed on internet, to treat the internet essentially as a utility. the argument we made based on the facts we saw in the record, if you want something to operate like a slow moving utility no better way to insure that by regulating it as such the as i travel around the country and i talk to people from kentucky to puerto rico to wisconsin, all places i've been and many, many more the number one concern they have about the internet they want more access, they want competition. they want internet to be better, faster, cheaper. in order to insure that happens we need to make a strong as business case as possible for companies across the country to build these networks. building internet infrastructure requires very high up front capital expenditures. regulations can be very
daunting. more difficult you make the networks. we will be able to return the successful framework from 1996 all the way until 2015. a bipartisan framework that served internet economy so well. we empowered the federal trade commission to take targeted action against any anti-competitive conduct in the marketplace. we imposed a transparency rule that requires all providers to be very clear with consumers and the commission what is they're doing. i think consumers will see in the time to come our framework is best calibrated to promote a good online experience for consumers and promote infrastructure investment and to insure that the federal trade commission is once again empowered to protect competition. >> mr. chairman, what do you think lies ahead in the courts on this issue? >> this is been litigated for a while. this particular round is no different. number of petitions were filed in two different courts of
appeals, one in the ninth circuit, d.c. circuit. ultimately the case is transferred back to the d.c. sir is cut. i would imagine in due course they will make a decision. i don't have any particular time frame on that, but we'll see how it goes. >> this issue kind of has gone back and forth. do you think the ultimate answer would lie in congress, perhaps legislation that would you know, deal with this issue once and for all? >> that is i think ultimately where most people of goodwill would like to see it end up. i consistently said including after the d.c.'s circuit of rejection of the previous fcc net neutrality rules in 2014, the ideal solution, turn to congress. let congress update rules of the road to match the digital era. we are operating on a statute first developed in 1934. even the most recent pronouncement by congress on thee issues is 1996. this is the era of alta vista and lycos, and sending cd-roms in the mail.
that is era we were crafting these rules. to me it would be great for the elected officials of our country say we agree on certain basic principles. we don't want companies blocking access to lawful traffic. we don't want them throttling access to lawful traffic. we don't want anti-competitive prioritization situations that would harm small companies. these are things that people can agree on. it takes congress to take the pen to put it into law because i think the last thing we want for these rules to remain uncertain for the rules to be dependent upon vagueries in control of fcc in any particular point in time. >> what about the question of fast lanes and slow lanes? >> this is one of the questions that congress tackled, one could consider pro-competitive or anti-competitive arrangements. for example if you're running a telemedicine operation and trying to monitor a number of patients remotely you might think the traffic is more important than say sending a typical email. same thing with public safety
communications, other types of communications. as we enter the 5g environment, the next generation of wireless technology, we want to make sure we encourage pro-competitive arrangements. on one hand keep can see any competitive arrangements. it is fact intensive, case-by-case question. we want a flexible approach as simply saying we know for all time every humidity call arrangement will be anti-competitive and we're going to ban it as such. think part of the problem when regulators get involved in preemptive regulation that, yes you might take off the table some of those anti-competitive arrangements but you're also taking off the table a lot of different contracts and other agreements that might actually end up benefiting consumers in the end. >> mr. chairman, you mentioned 5g, fifth generation, wireless broadband services is becoming increasingly important. what is 5g will bring to the country that we don't have in the current generation? >> we're very excited about the
potential of 5g. seems yesterday we were talking about 1g and 2g. i saw in a tweet from kanye west he is on 3g. most people are on 4g. not weighing on general controversy, weighing on his connection. we're talking about 5g the next generation of wireless connectivity. it is different in two senses. use of airwaves all around us in different way. spectrum, wireless connectivity was encompassed lower band spectrum, 600 megahertz, now we're talking about spectrum up to 2800 gigahertz. very high spectrum with different cake tickses. the second thing, infrastructure of 5g networks will look very different. when i say the phrase wireless network, you might have 200-foot cell tower connects to you are your device and provides your connection. it will operate on densified infrastructure. in addition to the cell towers
we will have many thousands small cells operating lower power connecting two devices. for variety of different reasons our regulations don't contemplate that more universal use of spectrum or that newer kind of infrastructure. we're trying to modernize the rules to make sure the u.s. claims leadership in 5g. a number of different countries saw the u.s. won the race in terms of 4g lte. we wan america to be the haven for innovation when it comes to 5g. >> are we in a global race, mr. chairman, particularly with china on 5g? >> i think no question certain countries, especially china, see 5g as an area they want to lead. i consistently said we want to take steps necessary to modernize regulations, continue american leadership in wireless. this is not parochial interest. we want american online economy to succeed but also because 5g innovation promotes, portend tremendous benefits for consumers. imagine everything from high
bandwidth applications like virtual reality, 20 years from now maybe medical students could be trained remotely doing high-definition surgeries using virtual reality which will require 5g spectrum or low bandwidth applications. for example, if you're a yogurt manufacturer, you want the certainty of knowing your product remains a certain temperature doesn't go above that as it is shipped across the country. you need thousands if not millions of sensors attached to every box of yogurt in driverless truck across the country, whether, whatever application it is one can imagine 5g being very important and we want the u.s. to be at the forefront of that. i think historically when an open market economy like ours devotes its entrepreneurial energy to something, there is no telling how consumers in the united states and around the world can benefit. >> you mentioned deployment and 200-foot towers, all rest of it and small cell today. what about dealing with local communities? is it going to be easier with small cells than those large
towers? >> that is one of the issues that we are looking at. so, historically at least we've had multiple levels of review, regulatory review for any kind of wireless infrastructure. federal governments might have to give approval, especially siting on federal land. state governments, local governments and tribal governments. this multiplied level review is particularly enact the when you're talking about small cells. one thing if you're deploying a cell tower in washington, d.c., but if you're talking about 10,000 different small cells, each operating at low power, relatively inconspicuous, some of them you not even though are there if you're looking around, doesn't make sense to jump you there the same regulatory hoops. one of the things we've seen, if they do have -- if regulatory review process is as cumbersome and expensive as it has been for cell towers, 5g simply won't take off. one thing to get the spectrum into the marketplace, if you can't transmit traffic over infrastructure it is all for naught. >> a lot of us perhaps have not
worked with the fcc in the past. >> never too late. come on over. >> there is one thing you will remember the fcc about, and that is robo calls. >> oh, my god. >> telemarketing calls and telephone calls to our cell phones. what is the fcc doing about that issue? >> this one issue generates visceral reaction from so many people, including my own mother-in-law. i'm sure -- [applauding] you're not applauding robocallers i assume, action against them. for a while, hey i'm a staffer at fcc then i'm just commissioner. now i'm the chairman i have to tell my mother-in-law we're taking action and here is the action we're taking. i will tell you too. first and foremost at the front end, the rule making part of it so to speak we've been very aggressive in terms of trying to crack down on these unwanted robocalls. for one thing we're empower carriers blocked calls are
spoofed. appear to be from your area code or prefix, next three numbers but not from somebody who is assigned numbers. we allowed carriers to take steps to block calls from spoofs or unassigned phone numbers. additionally working with technologists and others to come up with a call authentication standard. if you can imagine a digital fingerprint for every phone number, so if you see a number on the foam has not been programmed in by you you have the confidence knowing this is actual number assigned to an actual person. i can answer with confidence, i don't have to worry about whether marriott telling me i won vacation or purported irs agent and the like. additionally on the back end we've an extremely aggressive on enforcement, cracking down on unwanted robocallers. the largest fine ever been proposed fcc history proposed under my leadership against a guy who unleashed hundreds of millions of american robocalls on consumers in last three months and 2016.
100 million-dollar fine on the individual who testified in congress and taking action against others like him in the time to come. additionally we're working with counterparts at federal trade commission. i have also coordinated with some of my counterparts abroad. i met with the chairman of the indian fcc for example, where number of robocalling centers have come. we secured an agreement to work together since american law enforcement authority doesn't extend far beyond our shores. it is important for us to have cooperation from other countries and i'm glad to say they have been willing to do that. >> what about with the industry? >> they have been working very diligently as well. both the carriers have been very interested of course in making sure they block the illegitimate robocalls and there are a number of smaller companies, startups working on apps and other innovative solutions to try to block these calls, using all kind of tools, machine learning, artificial intelligence to
detect where unwanted calls are coming from to block those while letting legitimate ones in. >> mr. chairman, that all sound great, let me ask you one question. what would happen to some people getting blocked from calls they might actually like to receive? >> this is one of the tricky things because we obviously want people to get the calls they want to get. for example, from your child's school or the local pharmacy and the like. one of the steps we've taken propose creation of reassigned numbers database. when you have a phone number, tell a bunch of people, pharmacies school, here is my phone number, call me if something is wrong. but then that number you give it up, a new number, person reassigned that number might not want calls meant for you. these legitimate businesses we want to make sure we try to create a safe harbor if you will to allow them to consult with this database, to know, okay, jim was assigned the number, he is no longer assigned this. we'll not call the number because we know he is not at the number. that is the kind of thing we're exploring, good guys, so to
speak get their calls through and the bad guys don't. i hear a robocall on cue. let mow know. we'll talk afterward. >> turn to different area media ownership. going over 40 years going way back to my era, the fcc's had rules for closing one owner to have both a newspaper and a broadcast station, either radio or television in the same market. recently you finally eliminated that rule although there were many attempts to do it earlier, you finally got the job done. why? why was that a good act? >> the best evidence i can give why it was appropriate was given by a prominent national newspaper which said that the case for for getting rid of thee outdated rules and the right-wing rag that said this was "new york times" in 2003. we recognized the media marketplace is different in 2017
than it was in 1975, when a certain chairman who shall renameless, was heading agency. i kid chairman wiley all the time. it was not his marketplace. whether areas we regulate, media, wireline or satellite, whatever, it is a baseline proposition your regulations should much realities of the modern marketplace. here these rules were created in a time when we didn't have cable news networks, we didn't have this little thing called the internet and other types of news outlets. so i think, getting rid of this broad cause newspaper across-ownership ban was simply allowing again pro-competitive arrangements to be explored. i think it is also striking that the previous administration which refused to recognize reality, blessed the 49 billion-dollar merger of a prominent telecommunications company and direct broadcast satellite company, blessed 78 billion-dollar combined merger of second, fourth, fifth largest cable companies in the
united states. if a newspaper in broadcast station in iowa decided to combine forces oh, my god the world is about to end. that is hysterical reaction to the common sense relaxation of this cross-ownership ban is completely misplaced. reasonable people looking at evidence in the record will agree that this newspaper cross-ownership ban was outdated. >> you similarly altered the rules on local television ownership. can you tell us how and why you did that? >> yes, obviously we believe local system critical. when i travel around and visit some of the local tv stations, distinct regardless of market, kprc in houston, texas, which i recently visited or kom in southwest missouri local system up. local system what defines success gulf stations localism. we want to promote more of that.
and so one of the things we done in terms of localism rules, make sure to allow pro-competitive combinations, relaxation of some of the prohibitions on case-by-case basis. we're not saying it's a complete free-for-all. the fcc will evaluate on case-by-case basis any applications could be in the public interest and we'll make a determination accordingly. >> do you foresee other changes in the age-old media ownership rules? >> we are duty-bound by congress four years issue quadrennial review of media ownership. which remain in the public interest and which are not. i long time said it is time to put the quads in the quadrennial. for many years the fccing ford the congressional mandate. last time the fcc talked about the ownership ban is 2000. for 17 years the fcc abdicated its duty. that is no longer going to
happen. sometime this year, 2018 the next cycle of quadrennial we'll tee up next examination. i have no preconceived notion where that will go. we'll simply go where the facts lead us. >> turn to video transmission. in the mid 1990s the fcc adopted a new television transmission standard which made possible wide screen, high-definition television, something enjoyed by a lot of our citizens. but now the commission is thorizeed another standard to be deployed on voluntary basis, tv. what is that all about? >> first and foremost you deserve tremendous credit, those who don't know, chairman wiley is widely recognized as the father of hd. so especially on sunday afternoon when you're plopping down to watch the upcoming super bowl champion kansas city chiefs win a game, remember the players watching hd, thankfully to chairman wiley. i'm forecasting of course. >> go redskins. >> good luck with alex, smith,
all i can say. so 3.0 or nextgen tv as its called hd on steroids if you will. he wanted to make sure broadcasters, like any other sector of the industry are able to innovate, able to reach consumers in a way that appeals to them. everybody seems to carry around a smartphone, tablet or other connected device. nextgen tv is internet version of broadband transmission. marries of broadcasting, one to misdemeanor architecture, get our message out to a lot of other people, with the power of internet which is hyperlocallized. imagine if you see storm bearing down on washington, d.c., the ability to target public safety information to particular neighborhoods is something i think would be very appealing. or in terms of local news as well, able to target the news to people that is relevant to them. same thinking with advertisers too. if you're local car dealership, if you're in virginia, might not
make as much sense to advertise in the entire dmv if you have to cover ad costs for going into the eastern shore of maryland. could be appeal to advertisers to have the more targeted information. additionally we think nextgen tv would be much more resilient when times are tough. we're hopeful voluntary experimentation with the nextgen tv standard would be successful. we've seen tremendous amount of interest including from broadcasters who transmit in multiple languages. spanish language broadcasters are very interested in the nextgen tv standard. we're hopeful time to come nextgen tv will be seen as hd is now, something we take for granted because it works is well. >> but here is the key question. we all have to go out to pony up for new television sets. >> no. that is one of the things we made clear in the current rule making this, is voluntary experimentation period where people can use nextgen tv standards. they have to still simulcast on
atsc 1.0, the current standard. so consumers will not have to get new equipment currently. it is voluntary experimentation? >> it will be a transition period? >> correct. >> mr. chairman, do you think the future really is, you mentioned the internet, television signals being streamed via the internet? >> that's a good question. increasingly seems to be the norm. hit me a couple years ago in chicago, there on thursday night, picking up food from restaurants and realized the thursday night game was on. i decided to go on to twitter, watch the broncos-chargers game on my phone. occurred to me, yesteryear, wasn't that long ago to watch a football game you have to be in front of your tv, in your house, specific period of time to watch it on one of the three broadcast networks. we sometimes take for granted because we live in the moment how quickly technology has changed. now when i look how my kids think about television, they say
we want to watch tv, my kids think, let's get dad's ipad out, pull up "sesame street" app start streaming elmo. it's a very different world. this is tremendous revolution come about. i don't know the full details, apparently amazon worked out a detail with the nfl for thursday night games. can you imagine going back 30 years, 20 years, this internet company will be doing a deal with a football league to stream music on a smartphone? no one would know what you're talking about. now that is sort of the norm. fast forwarding 10 years, 20 years, i can easily imagine that being the norm. >> how do you think this will affect the existing transmission industries, broadcasting, cable, satellite, telephone? >> no doubt it's a challenge. every sector of the industry faces competition as never before. i will simply say from consumer perspective these are the best of times. you can choose the device you want. watch the content you want to watch. watch it when you want to watch it. very different from when i was a
kid. to watch "the love boat" be on your tv sunday night at 8:00 p.m., whatever it was. we could all stream "the love boat" whatever we want or whatever program you might prefer. so i think it is great for consumers. no doubt the more established industries have to figure out what is the business model for the digital era? how do you create content and distribute it in a way that will be appealing, gaining return on the investment given all these new technologies and all these new competitors. >> mr. chairman, beyond media ownership what steps are you taking to eliminate unnecessary federal regulation? >> there is a lot on the books. one of the things we recognize congress has given the fcc authority under section 10 of the telecom act of 1996 to get rid of telecom regulations that are outdated. there was not anything similar on media side. when i came into office i recognized we have 1000 pages of media regulations on the books, we didn't know which ones remained in the public interest or which ones were outdated.
we started last may, what i call regulations initiative, teeing up all the regulations asking people to give us input which ones noonid some of them. as an example, still requirement cable operators keep in home offices list of channel lineups for cable systems. i don't know about you, last time i went to a local cable office to ask what the channel lineup was, a long-time ago. different types of regulations like that. brad broadcasters having to keep hard copy of sec rules in the offices when it is google search away. that doesn't benefit consumers or companies alike. we're getting rid of low-hanging fruit regulations. >> how about making government more transparent to the consumer? >> something very important to me, when i was commissioner i would constantly find it strange, fcc were required to have meeting once each month.
we vote on things teed up by the chairman but we don't release the text of those decisions until after we vote, sometimes days after, sometimes even weeks after. so i said, why don't we publish these decisions weeks in advance, for the american people, everybody, can know what is in them? what i found was happening, well-connected lawyers and lobbyists, no offense to anybody, they were the ones who got access to what they thought was in these decisions and everyone else was left out in the cold. in the second week i was in office we started a process reform initiative. for everyone of our monthly meeting issues that we're going to be voting on, i will publish three weeks in advance so everyone can see it on internet which again still exists, we will publish three weeks in advance the text of these decisions. i was told by many, including my predecessor, this is a terrible idea, going to create chaos, misinform people. useless, all these chicken little parade of horribles. to the contrary, it has been tremendous. anyone in this country can now
see well in advance what it is we're proposing it do. you may like it, or may not, you will know well before the fcc votes with it is. that is the base level of expectation people have for government. when congressman or senator introduces legislation, very soon thereafter, or before it gets on the floor, people see it on internet. i think the fcc should be no different. that is process reform i'm proudest of. we done more on openness and transparency. online dashboard how the fcc is performing on certain metrics. how many types of consumer complaints are pending how many there are, that sort of thing. this is good government. doesn't redown to the benefit of any political party. i hope these reforms stay long after i'm gone. >> few moment for questions on the floor for our distinguished guest. we have a microphone. >> chairman wiley, i have had the privilege of working with your former counsel, ashton hardy, on many, on many
broadcast ventures. i wanted to address the current chairman on what the status is of the fairness doctrine in the commission in light of both red line case and first amendment implications of buckley versus leo, and citizens united? >> that is a heck of a back of the napkin question i should say. the good news the fairness doctrine is dead. one of my predecessors, chairman genachowski took it off the books. one of my other predecessors, chairman patrick in the 1980s, very courageously took on the fight and successfully defended the values undergirding the first amendment. i think he is absolutely right doing that. for my part the question is how to carry on that torch. i consistently stood up for what i believe about the core value of first amendment, free speech, and free press. even beyond the fcc regulatory authority, free speech and the protections of the first amendment generally speaking
require a culture that supports it. so i have spoken out for example, about the new trend on college campuses where we don't see much of interest in open inquiry we do tribal instincting to shut down speech one doesn't like. that is the kind of speech we need to guard against. regardless of viewpoints, that is important value of americans that distinguishes our democracy from virtually any other. >> another question? right here. >> mr. chairman, i'm wondering if you could address many so issues regarding privacy and kind of thing that i have in mind are issues for, on the one hand, the facebook scandal with cambridge and similarly various reports about devices, your home tv obviously things like alexa, supposedly even your refrigerator being able to spy on you, and what actions if any the fcc can take in regard to
protecting privacy? >> very good question and one that has been been intermittently in the news especially of late. i consistent said, look at my opinions from 2016 and 2015, consumers whether they go on-line, surfing on a device or interacting with connected device like a refrigerator, they have a uniform expectation of privacy. they want their sensitive consumer information to be protected. and part of the reason why the fcc's net neutrality or title two decision it stripped federal communications over the jurisdiction over the privacy. it created a bifurcated system. strictly regulate internet providers and ftc would have jurisdiction of over one else in the online space. we restored unified authority to the ftc, the federal trade commission over privacy. one of the things they will be looking at how to consistently protect consumers across the
internet economy, whether an internet service provider or online provider like facebook or whoever, i think they want and new ftc commissioners will have to make the decision. they were just confirmed last night as you know, they will have to figure out how to consistently protect consumers. regardless of the regulatory classification of entity that holds consumer information that those consumers are protected. they have uniform expectation of that. and i think regulations should respect that. . . this deals with censorship. have you heard about undertaking
the editing of the press releases before they go out to determine whether they are acceptable? >> that is not something within our legal authority to do and traditionally going back all the way to the early days of the commission the agency has not looked into the content regulation like that. if there is an issue like that it might be within the purview of another agency but is not within ours consistent with the first amendment and the laws of the united states. >> tom, final question. >> the chairman has granted me the ability to ask the final question simply because my kids are blowing up my phone and they understand what you're talking about. the question i ask is given you talked about regulations are trailing the pace of innovation for what steps are you taking to expedite the fcc action? >> one of them is being aggressive in terms of modernizing our rules. i don't think anyone doing the
fcc would agree with it or not with eight we've been in active sitting on her heels. i denies this industry is moving quickly and i want to keep our regular space. we do not want them to beat the bottlenecks that stand in the way for example of comedies being deployed next generation networks but our goal is to make sure these networks are ubiquitous and plentiful and let the entrepreneurs and innovators innovate on those networks to provide value. we quickly under my leadership we prove the next generation of satellite constellations and come is like space x or one web envision deploying thousands of satellites into lower earth orbit in back to the land in a way that would be comparable to terrestrial provider. that's a great way of reaching especially rural and remote areas that have not had competition. similarly on the wireless side were making as quickly as we can
to get the spectrum in place and in the structure is in place to enable wireless connectivity to go for it. i'm also thinking a lot about number of issues and i might not truly be what we regulate but i'm trying to keep abreast of new technologies and artificial intelligence and machine learning in an area where there will be tremendous amount of change in the time to come. people know about the easier cases of machine learning but i thank you tremendous impact on telecom as well and that's something i'm studying and hopefully will be able to talk about on the time to come. it's a challenge that the technology is going so quickly and i think back to last october i had a chance to meet with the chairman was president kennedy's sec chairman back in 1961 through 1963 and asked him about the challenges he faced at the time. back then in his time the big challenge was the new thing called cable television. looking to get up to speed on that and set rules of the road that would promote the marketplace of the future and nothing has changed it but the pace and the multiplicity has changed. >> mr. chairman, thank you for being with us once again. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> i have the great privilege of introducing our next speaker. someone i've known for over 20 years and, in fact, he hired me straight out of law school to work on the government reform committee. we were a motley crew called the permanently unemployable through the investigation but we have done our right on the committee. we have three of our staffers went on to become members of congress and one of them is lieutenant governor of arkansas and this guy has done all right for himself. dave has served as the president of citizens united and the
foundation since 2001. beginning in august 2016 took a five month leave of absence to serve as deputy campaign manager for donald trump for present. he was the named deputy executor for the trump transition team. in 2015 he was ranked two in politicals top 50 most influential, not most beautiful in american politics and in 2016 was elected to serve as the rnc's committee meant for marilyn. in 2010 under the leadership they won a landmark first amendment decision in this up in court of the united states and may have heard about that. what you may not know is that he is also produced over 25 documentaries and authored four books including the one he is here today to talk about. let trump be trump, the inside
story of his rise to presidency. most importantly, dave has served as a volunteer firefighter in montgomery county for 20 years and resides there with his wife susan and four children. dave will be signing books right after this, please, go and buy them because he has to put his four children through college. i encourage you to do so right afterward. with that i turn it over to my good friend. [applause] >> thank you for that. it's a great honor and privilege to be here. i basically do anything elliot tells me to do and i've got a pretty good record so when i listen to him it usually works out. well, look, i'm going to talk about a whole bunch of things and i'm happy to take questions if that is okay when i get done with my remarks and some of you guys can try to stop me and i
enjoyed the questions. elliott talked about citizens united first the federal election committee and that was an incredible odyssey from start to finish. i had every smart lawyer in this town and a lot of them you know. they laughed at me when i came up with the concept to open the case. they said there is no way to do that in no way to in this case. by the way, second time in 2004 when i was talking about it we had just lost the mcconnell case. i was a party to the mcconnell case and we just lost that and i recognized and i disagreed vehemently with michael moore's politics. if you all remember and some of you do, fahrenheit 911, is anti- bush and it was an incredibly well-done 90 minute documentary and to this day 14 years later the number one grossing documentary film of all time but the film which was good from their view of the world was not
the most important thing. the most important thing was the 32nd commercials they made to advertise. that is what i saw and i said that is how we will do it. i finally talked him into representing me, and that was not easy and ted's a longtime friend and barbara olson, his late wife, and i were, you know thick as thieves on the hill in the '90s and we took that case from a concept to filing in 2007 and then we end up winning in 2010 and in january of 2010 and i think we have seen, i think, we've seen the fruits of our efforts there. winning an incredible amount of seats across the county it's
changed and really leveled the playing field even though the left likes to complain about it. i will tell you that is how i got to know the president. i won the case in 2010 and a friend of mine and i got to know the president through completely nonpolitical interest. i was trying to raise money for children's hospital in washington dc where one of my four kids have had major surgery and before he was one he was had a three brain surgeries and one open heart surgery. he went on to have another brain surgery and another open heart surgery and he's a miracle kid but i wanted to help other families and children who don't have the access to great healthcare so they could have in this is before obamacare which
is one of the reasons i was passionate about defeating it. i got to know donald trump because he offered to help me with my and i don't even play golf but i don't enjoy the game but because i'm terrible at it. he was helping me with my golf tournament i was doing for the children's and we were trying to separate them from money and we did this golf tournament several years in roe and donald trump helped me. we -- because we adjust on this case in 2010 the plaintiffs started asking me about politics and over the years i became one of the guys he called in so i introduced him to steve bannon, on one hand. we see how that worked out. [laughter] he reminds me of that routinely,
too, by the way. and then i introduced him to don mcgann who was one of my longtime friends and part of different cases that i worked on in the past. don reminds me of that all the time, too. we've had a very long relationship and good relationship and when i got the phone call in august when paul manafort and i thank you have heard of him -- maybe, a bad guy, got removed from the campaign and steve bannon and kellyanne conway and i came in to take that campaign over in august and corey lewandowski who
sends his regrets -- he wanted to come today -- but he is someone i introduced to the president and recommended for the president to hire as his campaign manager back in 2014 and so corey iran the campaign for the first 18 months and i came in and helped run it at the end and it was an incredible experience. the reason the book works well for us is it was from start to finish between the two of us we were there the whole time. it was really a remarkable thing because i'm kind of a change agent guy and i believe in changing the broken status quo that is here in washington. the president loves to call them the geniuses here in washington that have driven america into bankruptcy over the last four years and broken our economy and driven jobs out of america and created a weak foreign policy so i have enjoyed my time on the campaign and writing the book was cathartic and it was like john edwards used to say about nostalgia you get to pick and
choose what you talk about in the book so we picked all the good stuff and left out the bad and although the president when the book came out the president reminded -- well, he only had words on one section of the book and that was where we talked about the veracity of our campaign and how we defeated hillary clinton in that we were doing six events a day every day seven days a week around the country and using different time zones to get them all in. it was an amazing thing and his 71 years old and i'm a lot younger and we were killing ourselves but what we talked about in the book was that he didn't like we mentioned that we never stopped and so when we say we never stopped, we never stopped to eat. our diet on the plane was mcdonald's and kentucky fried chicken and pizza. that was his niche that he had with me and corey because it got everybody talking about his diet
again when he didn't mind talking about muller and russia but the diet, no, no it's a topic that we don't like to talk about. it really is important to remember that this president, 50 munson, he campaigned and he was a monster. he was someone who never stops. we continue to grind cricket h into the ground. she couldn't keep up with us. and so hillary clinton tried and i called her cricket h -- sorry, it's natural for me and -- so, it's a we were having a hard
time and we were doing six events today, ten or 20000 people in these arenas is like going to iraq concert. it was unbelievable for me. all of this was to see a politician to a political speech. they would fill the serena six times a day in hillary clinton couldn't fill a high school cafeteria once a day. the geniuses in the media and the geniuses in the press corps and the genius posters were all saying that doesn't translate to votes. you guys are -- you know, you're not able to win because you look at the polling data but we said we think that is wrong. on election night at 5:01 when i got the early exits from the consortium, all the networks they now use this consortium polling for exit polling on the day of and so i get the numbers in the following 11 states, 11 battleground states, and we get the numbers it's a gut punch.
we are down in eight states and tied in to end up in one. you know, at 5:01 p.m. and i'm not a rocket scientist but i do know basic math and that is at 5:01 when you are down by the way, when i say i down we were down five or six or eight points in every one of those eight states. there is not enough raw goats to come back from that. at 5:00 o'clock at night it's baked. and we are just -- so, i tell ryan's previous and steve bannon and chaired cushman a jared kushner and as i tell him the number and reading it for the second or third time i realized that i've just said colorado for the third time and i don't know if anyone in here understands what i'm saying but it dawns on me that how could abc and cbs in
the mainstream media and the guys get everything right how could they be delivering results in colorado -- scott, he knows why. where is equipment former secretary of state but scott, why is it they can't give us exit results? >> [inaudible] >> one 100% male and ballot. one 100% male and valid. you can have examples. they're supposed to go to. we literally -- i call up abc news where i got the numbers and said hello, could you e-mail me the numbers that you just gave me over the phone and send them to me at 5:01 i got them at 5:3. we were 33 minutes trying to figure this out and we realize these numbers are all bad. that is when we began -- first of all, you've all been in
enough campaigns to know that in those 33 minutes your campaign becomes a funeral home, right? it's terrible because the word goes out. it's inevitable. we have to kick everyone started again and it was an amazing thing because from about a quarter to six in the evening to about, i don't know, 9:30 or 10:00 o'clock you could feel the earthquake in manhattan. it was unbelievable. i kept telling the president that the candidate at the time that, you know, not just i but the campaign was despite our election was florida, north carolina, ohio and iowa. of course when the numbers came up they come up after 7:00 o'clock and we go down to hundred or 300,000 votes in north carolina. we go down may be over 300,000 in florida because the democrats
cannibalize election and we all know that now that the early vote in the absentee ballot operation is what they really focused on. we know that we will win with carolina because even mitt romney won north carolina was down and he was down about, i don't know, 280,000 votes coming into election day and one by about hundred thousand votes and that is because on election day it changes and we knew our numbers were better than mitt romney and over performing romney and she was underperforming obama. so when the numbers started to come up mr. trumps were watching the tvs and standing next to him and he's like genius, house is working out for us? when the president cause you a genius it's not usually not necessarily a something you want to hear. but it is all in good fun and he
understood what was going on and he got it. it was so much fun to be there with him and at 10:00 o'clock, 11:00 o'clock they won't call it. you lived to the same right we did. so we at about, i don't know, 11:00 o'clock we went up to the residence once they decided they weren't and we are watching the tvs and enjoying all the anchors literally in tears. are those the gray days? great memories -- [cheering and applause] you know, the weeping that was going on in these network newsrooms. and of course it warms my heart when i think about the hillary clinton headquarters and the center where they were literally crying probably. so, we go to the residence and
were waiting and we don't have speech and were kind of like an athlete and superstitious we did one have a speech either way so small group of people sit at the dining room table and starts writing it. i'm standing in the kitchen and it's like your grandmother's house and you're watching the smallest tv in the house in smalls room and not most people so like anyone else it's not exactly a big kitchen much or how much cooking has ever gone on in there but anyway, we're all in there enjoying it and watching it we know it's a matter of time. we've come to that conclusion because were getting real-time data. i'm sitting there by myself in the kitchen in it for a minute and mr. trump walks in this is dave, can you believe this? i said yes, sir, this is amazing
and we will learn very shortly what's going to happen. he says no, no, can you believe this question we just started this to have a little fun -- i was like yes, sir, you're about to be president-elect of the united states. you're going to learn what fun is. [laughter] it's an amazing night because we go on a couple hours later about 2:20 and kellyanne conway's phone rings and were standing in his foyer area and we all know it's inevitable and we've written the speech and were waiting and kellyanne her phone rings and i can only hear her side but she says yeah, yeah, you are calling what state and she's like it's the ap. she hangs up the phone and she's turns to mr. trump and says mr. trump, that was the associated press under not calling the
state but the race and they called to inform me you are the president elect of the night states of america. [applause] that was pretty cool. that was pretty cool to be there for that. it's funny because my wander away and were high-fiving and i walk around the corner in the foyer and there's the living room and i look over and i see governor pence and mrs. spence and charlotte prince and the daughter and i've known the mall for a lot of years and charlotte interned at citizens united years ago and so i've known him and i walk up and the governor looks up and says hey, dave, what is up?
i said sir, i have the pleasure and honor to inform you your the vice president-elect of the united states of america. that was before and i got to tell mike pence so that was a it was a pretty amazing night and a guy who lived in a firehouse for ten years served with elliott in the house of representatives and it worked in house and senate have always been proud of the work i have done for that was a really amazing thing to be at that moment in time to be able to participate in that night and what a transformation it has been and what a transformational election it was. we have seen the end of stagnation and we've seen the end of the new normal that barack obama economy that 1.6,
1.8% gdp every quarter, quarter after quarter for eight years. that was the new normal. that is what we were told to expect that. as a matter of fact, the days of the american economy being in three or 4% are over and will not see them again. fifteen months and we are seeing that routinely. we will get above 3%. this president economy look at the on a planet rate and the african-american, hispanic and limit rate is lowest it's ever been in consumer confidence is at a 20 year high and it is one economic indicator after another. [applause] and the amazing thing is it's really been in the first year it has been the sheer force of his will and the stroke of his deregulatory hand. that was our economic growth. it was having a business leader
as president, someone who brought forth a business friendly environment. you know, he never said you didn't build that. remember barack obama, no one build that but he understands what it means and understands what the economy means to business leaders and that first year it was an amazing thing to watch. now we have the greatest tax-cut in the last 30 years that really he had to drag our republican congress kicking and screaming. that is leadership. you look at the economy in one hand and you look at the foreign policy on the other and we were in a time for the last eight years before his election where it was one day of feckless leadership after another. bowing to kings around the world
and bleeding from behind as he did and letting north korea go completely off the rails and all the geniuses at foggy bottom for the last 40 years have gotten north korea wrong. they've gotten i iran wrong. this guy comes in and this president comes in and says you know, you guys have had your shot. you have been wrong consistently for 40 years. let's try something new. we will do maximum pressure and take and flip this thing on its head and you look at what is going on. just last night every day is an amazing achievement when it comes to the potential to denuclearize the korean peninsula. just remember that barack obama
won the nobel peace prize when he was president for six months and had done nothing. that's not a high bar for this president but if he solves north korea what will the left do? are they going to even say thank you or welcome the achievement and i don't think they will because it drives the left crazy but i said this a lot that i believe that this left in this country hates this president more than they love the country. it's a very stark thing to say about. we've come to this realization that that is what they are about because if you look at his achievements and if you look at the state of the union -- you know, macron comes and gives a
speech to the joint session the other day and he is talking about the paris climate records and wanting to get the nitrates back in and the left in the chamber gives him a standing ovation. during the present state of the union address when he talks about minority unemployment being added all-time low they don't even applaud it. it is one piece of evidence after another that they just continue to show what, i think, are their true colors. and so, you know, we remember back during the campaign when hillary clinton demanded the donald trump except the results of the election. he asked and the problem is -- [laughter] the problem is that the left hasn't. clearly, hillary has knots. i don't know if she is still
medicated from election night or what but she is in the left are just they are going to fight tooth and nail every minute of every day to oppose this president. i didn't come to give -- midterms are vitally important because the left has a couple agenda items. if they win back the house what is their first move? exactly. can you imagine -- what can i say aloud that isn't it amazing that we could just throw around the world impeachment like it is nothing. like it's not important. it is devastatingly important. we, as folks who want to see america succeed, who want to see
our president succeed we have to turn out and work every minute of every day between now and november to make sure that we add to our majority in the senate and keep control of the house. historically, we have a tall order. that's a tall order in the historical perspective but we do. one of the races that's the canary in the coal mine is barbara const .-dot she's in northern virginia right outside the dc area and our former colleague and my oldest daughter's godmother, so i am partial, but she's the canary in a coal mine. she is someone who gets forgotten because she has such a tough district that they didn't think she could win it in 16 when hillary clinton won it by about ten points. barbara is a winner. barbara is the hardest working person that -- donald trump is
the hardest working man i've ever known and barbara is the hardest working woman i've ever met in my life. she's the smartest, most dedicated and so, we need people like her to win because if she wins we keep the house. okay? if scott walker wins in wisconsin we will not get swamped in governor races across the country. as a matter fact, if larry hogan wins in maryland it will be a better indicator for we have races across the country that we can win with great candidates and we just need to have tell the story and go out and with here and tell the story of the good news of our commitments
over the first year and a half of republican house and republican senate in the white house. it's an incredible list of accomplishments. all of them good for all americans, not just conservatives, not just republicans but for all americans. good public policy equals good politics. i urge all of you to go out and we all are involved in the stuff every day and it's hard i find myself in the same position. it is to important to talk about the incredible commitments of this president for the last 15 months in the last 18 months as we go into the midterms because if we do that we will bring about real change because we are
going to keep the house and add to the senate. with that, i say thank you very much for having me. i am grateful for all of you in the work you do. i am a lucky guy and i have worked hard and i've tried to always do the next right thing and that is what i always to try to tell my kids, as well. do the next right thing because it's always the best. with that i'll be happy to take a couple of questions. anyone? no questions, thank you so much. trying to get out of here. yes, sir. >> i saw confusion when the new jersey governor -- >> confusion? >> some people came on and lists were lost et cetera and i would like to get all the people that
the president needs in there because if you remember about the pentagon when the general gives in order to hold that port new guys and new policy comes down if you don't have that next guy come in that major whether he is resistance or revolt he's doing what he was told. and so, the obstructionism of the democratic congress has been amazing and i'm hoping that senator langford things and mitch mcconnell might get obstruction subway but it's hard because it is what it is. >> yeah, you did a very good job of describing politely what i call in with the president calls the deep state. that is the permanent class. it's not like some tinfoil hat where we use this word or this term but it's the you rent, we
own mentality of washington dc. i thank you all understand when talking about. the permanent class of the bureaucracy who lives and has these jobs for 30 years plus and they look and say president trump is here. he's here for four years and i'm here for 30 but let's see wha what -- good luck, good luck getting anything done. i don't have the same view and neither does anyone else in this department or agency. we will fight you tooth and nail and it may be under the radar and you may never know what were doing but that is what the president talks about. what does deep state, he's talking about, not just in the intelligence community that leaks his conversations to "the washington post" with foreign
leaders, but that it is at the epa and at the commerce department and at the treasury department and barman of defense and it is the permanent culture that is here to stay and that is what we need to do. to help fight that this president needs his people in the. just yesterday the president was saying at the current pace it will take nine years to get all of his people that he is already nominated, not future nominees, but current nominees to get through. nine years. the term is for and even if he's there for eight which he will be that is just a broken system. mitch mcconnell -- i respect mitch mcconnell but the leader needs to change the rules. they are rules. i don't know if anyone in here disagrees with the sentiment that i believe when the democrats take over the senate at some point in the future, it is inevitable and they will at some point, but the rules will be of no obstacle to them.
let's we don't have to change the filibuster rule permanently but on certain elements we can and we did it with judge justice corset and we can do it with other things. if we had to do it for pompeo i was okay with that. to do it for someone of these confirmations we have to do it but we also the senate has to work seven days a week and that's one way to break this law is tell the slackers you will be here seven days a week and we will pile through this three or four weeks in a row and he will miss your fundraisers. [applause] and you will not be able to campaign at home and figure out how that will -- >> we got to vacate and get ready. >> thank you all very much. >> we have to vacate the room and we need to get ready for lunch and to get dave to sign his books. please, meet us in the hallway.
>> the republican lawyers association taking a brief break here and will resume later today when we plan on returning with live coverage this afternoon. news this morning from the hill is reporting that the house intelligence committee has released its report on russian interference in the 2016 election. the survey says the committee found no evidence between the time of his campaign and russia and the report written by republicans on the committee did criticize poor judgment and ill considered actions by president trumps campaign as well as campaign run by democratic nominee hillary clinton. you can read the entire story at the hill .com. also, a link to the report itself is on our website at c-span .org. we have more life coverage coming up this morning here on c-span2 with german chancellor angela merkel. she's coming to washington dc today to talk with president and will be looking for her arrival on the south lawn of the white house in just a few minutes here and we plan to bring it to you live on c-span2. right now a look at the
conference from this morning. >> we will kick off our event here with individuals in a group particularly who has been at the forefront over the last years and fighting for the rule of law as the prior administration took the aggressive steps that moved in a direction that seem to depart from constitutional bounds and the separation federal and government and the attorney general's have been the bulwark for against that federal overreach for the last eight years. i'm pleased that leslie was able to make it. first, i met leslie at the republican national lawyers event one of the very first fundraisers to pick up your campaign and it's the interval
nature of our organization. you have done a phenomenal job since then. the distinct privilege of introducing the host of this particular panel and frankly, the guy who puts it on for us every time because it's his connection with the republican attorney general, jc boggs and he cochairs the firm's state attorney general practice. he's also a member of the board of directors and former president of the are la. he is more than 20 years of public experience. is recognized as one most proficient attorneys on the scene and i can tell you having attended meetings and national attorney general meetings he's the man. if i follow him around, i can meet everybody. early in his career he served as
legislate counsel to the us senator and on capitol hill helped prepped [inaudible]. in 2009 he received the presidential appointment to the international center for settlement of investment disputes and agency of the world bank and world leading institution devoted to international investment dubuque settlements. recognition of his professional encouragement was named republican lawyer of the year in 2012. jc. [applause] >> thank you, tom for the kind introduction. i thought we would keep this more conversational and a discussion rather than anything too formal so we will stay seated and i hope get questions from the audience, as well, during the conversation. again, my pleasure to cohost this or co- moderate this morning with my new colleague former attorney general dan who is down to my left. not initially politically but great to have him here, as well.
and joined king and spalding about one month ago a senior counsel to the firm and will be working with our state agency groups. thank you again for being here this morning. a couple well, i think it is appropriate that we are a national lawyers organization and we here in washington most of us around the room recognize a lot of good things happen out of washington we got traffic state leaders and two of them for this morning. attorney general leslie rutledge who, i think, most of you know who is an active membership with the art and la and attorney general mike connor. i know you spent a number of years in washington and guilty as charged so real quick introduction but leslie is the 56 attorney general in arkansas and the first woman elected to that office and amazingly, the first republican elected to
attorney general in arkansas' history. pretty incredible. [applause] she began her legal career working for the arkansas court of appeals and later was elected to serve as deputy counsel to the office of then, governor mike huckabee, and then came to washington which is where we met in serving as a deputy counsel to the nrcc and then went on to cancel of the art and see and serve during the 2012 presidential election. leslie is currently serving as the chairman or chairwoman of the republican attorney general association. great to have you here, leslie. mike connor, i'm going to have to shorten your resume because he's done a lot of things. great to have you as attorney
general. last year appointed the very 20th of governor of a, to be attorney general filling out scott pruitt's attorney general position and he went on to bigger and better things. we will hear more about that later on today. general hunter served as a first assistant secretary or assistant attorney general before he was ag he was coo of the eba and that's the american bankers association along with frank, former governor frank keating of oklahoma. he was coo of the american council of insurance and served as the oh, secretary of state and was chief of staff to then congressman jc watts and i like jc's first name, by the way. general counsel of the oklahoma corporation commission. he's done a lot and great to have you here and join by federal lundgren. this is an open-ended question
first for you to comment on and or bring up anything else on your mind but what are your top two or three or top-of-the-line issues in arkansas and oklahoma. let's start with you, leslie. >> thank you. thank you to the republican national lawyers for hosting today's panel and inviting the republican attorney general's to be here with you this morning. as was mentioned i've known a lot of you over the years and for me it's like coming back to see friends and family, it's like old home week. unfortunately, this year i will be able to attend the election law seminar this summer because i'm expecting my first child in august. thank you. [applause] being married to a crop of farmer he said to me, baby, that's corn harvest and i said oh it will be harvest season all right. but that will be my number one
priority the summer but on the official front for the attorney general office in arkansas certainly we work on the consumer protection issues and criminal justice ensuring that we hold those individuals accountable through that but on the large-scale and perhaps what we will talk most about today is how the role of the attorney general has evolved over the last several years and particularly falling president obama's administration in currently. what we've seen over the last four or five years is that we went from being -- >> will leave this portion of the republican national bar association conference from this morning as german chancellor angela merkel has arrived here in washington dc for talks with president trump.