Luxury retreat attended by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called into question

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Holding Public office can have it’s perks. In South Carolina, CBS News spotted Republican State Attorney’s General taking the kind of luxury trip most Americans can’t afford. 

 North Dakota’s A.G. Wayne Stenehjem was one of them.

CBS News saw nine attorneys there from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah. When asked if they attended, only three would confirm they went: Idaho, South Carolina and North Dakota. 

This getaway and others like it are organized by R.A.G.A. – the Republican Attorney’s General Association. To attend, lobbyist and corporate guests forked over $125,000. $50,000 gets them one-on-one issue briefings with state A.G.s. At the retreat, these A.G.s were seen rubbing shoulders with representatives from Koch Industries, big tobacco, payday lenders and the NRA. Selling access to such events has helped R.A.G.A. raise more than $20 million in the last 18 months. 

The cost of a getaway at a swanky resort like this one? About 4 thousand dollars per Attorney General. But they don’t have to pay a penny. It’s considered a “gift.” 

And it’s not just republicans, democratic AGs are courted by trial lawyers and lobbyists at more modest receptions in Washington DC.

We have reached out via email to the offices of both Wayne Stenehjem and Governor Doug Burgum for comment. We hope to hear back by Wednesday.

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