Washington, DC - The recent Imperial Valley News article about a lawsuit filed against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is misguided and wrong. The HSUS is the nation’s leading animal protection organization, with a strong presence in Oklahoma, where we investigate animal cruelty, support law enforcement and local groups, and advocate for enhanced legal protections for animals.  Pruitt’s attempts to strong-arm The HSUS are nothing more than politically-motivated fishing expeditions against us.

As our Oklahoma state director Cynthia Armstrong has said, “It’s not the role of the government to decide whose voice should be heard. Pruitt is clearly taking this action because his political allies don’t like our work cracking down on cockfighting, puppy mills, and intensive confinement of animals on factory farms.”

Pruitt  has made false allegations repeatedly, despite our sending him the information requested promptly. In particular, we have made clear that our organization never did any fundraising based on the tornadoes -- one his many baseless primary allegations.

Although Pruitt has said he is only investigating our Oklahoma fundraising practices, his request asked for a large number of unrelated, private documents, including how much our staff are paid and personal details on our board members. We nonetheless sent Pruitt the majority of these documents, refusing to send only a limited number of privileged documents (Oklahoma law makes clear that Pruitt has no right to irrelevant or privileged documents). Pruitt demanded these documents despite the privilege exemption, and refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for receiving them.

The lawsuit we filed alleges that Pruitt violated state law by turning what is supposed to be a confidential, official proceeding into a publicly-waged political event, and making remarks that prejudge the result. Pruitt has asked The HSUS for additional confidential, proprietary information including attorney-client communications and future plans.

Why would Will Coggin defend the actions of an attorney general who has been trying to bully us for more than a year? The answer is simple and not surprising. We threaten the bottom line of industries that profit from abusing animals. These industries pay Mr. Coggin’s employer to attack us because we’re effective.

Rather than fall for Will Coggin and Scott Pruitt’s grandstanding, we’d encourage those interested in helping animals to visit our website at www.humanesociety.org.

Original Imperial Valley News Article