Exclusive– Montana AG Austin Knudsen Excoriates Previous Admins Handing Millions to Leftist Law Firm ‘Buddies’

State Rep. Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, speaks about the impact of the failure to pass an infrastructure bill for eastern Montana communities affected by the Bakken oil boom, Tuesday, April 26, 2015, after the Legislature adjourned three days early in Helena, Mon. (AP Photo/Lisa Baumann)
AP Photo/Lisa Baumann

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement Friday that he will not tolerate Montana handing out millions of dollars to leftist law firms such as Motely & Rice and Morgan & Morgan.

Breitbart News reported in July that Morgan & Morgan and other influential trial law firms have significant influence in Democrat and Republican and national and local politics. Morgan & Morgan, the 69th largest law firm in the U.S. and the nation’s largest personal injury firm, is one of these influential law firms.

John Morgan, the founder of Morgan & Morgan, held a fundraiser at his Florida home for Joe Biden in 2019. Morgan even flew Frank Biden, Joe Biden’s younger brother, to the president-elect’s inauguration in 2021. Morgan personally donated $355,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in August 2020.

Morgan & Morgan’s influence extended to Kentucky politics, in which it obtained a large contract to help the state attorney general office to help with litigation regarding opioid conduct in manufacturing, distribution, and dispensing.

Morgan & Morgan recently hired former Montana Attorney General Tim Fox (R) to lead “an elite division of lawyers and support staff within the firm to specifically handle matters involving public clients.” Fox will largely focus on helping the law firm obtain lucrative contracts with state attorneys’ general offices.

The move turned many heads because Morgan & Morgan has generally supported progressive politicians and ballot initiatives in Florida to raise the minimum wage and legalize marijuana.

Emilee Cantrell, a spokeswoman for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement Friday that the attorney general has worked to change previous administrations’ handing millions of dollars to leftist law firms. Knudsen axed a contract with leftist law firm Motley & Rice.

Cantrell told Breitbart News, “Attorney General Austin Knudsen is making a concerted effort to put the interests of Montana consumer victims first and changing the practice of previous administrations that handed out millions to their liberal trial lawyer buddies. Earlier this year, Attorney General Knudsen terminated one such contract that lacked basic protections to ensure Montana taxpayers are getting the best deal possible.”

Jake Eaton, a veteran Montana political strategist, told Breitbart News, “This is no surprise to anyone in Montana. As attorney general, Mr. Fox hired Democrats to run his office, hired Democrats as outside counsel to represent the state, and lobbied for the appointment of Democrat judges. The only thing that is surprising is that Morgan and Morgan would want him considering the fact that he has never even tried a jury trial.”

One former high-ranking staffer for a GOP attorney general said:

It turned a lot of heads to see Morgan & Morgan bring on a former Republican Attorney General in Tim Fox, given the well-known politics of the firm and its founder as well as its focus on personal injury law. The hiring was pretty noteworthy, it is hard to think of a recent hire like that, where a personal injury firm brought on a Republican Attorney General right as he left office.

“It was surprising to see former Republican AG Fox join a plaintiff’s firm like Morgan & Morgan given Fox’s fealty at Republican AG events to the rule of law, and the fact that Morgan & Morgan expends enormous sums in campaign donations to elect Democrats,” the staffer said regarding Fox.

Fox explained in a letter that his new law firm could help state attorneys general offices with their legal needs.

The influential law firms seek their influence with state attorneys general offices as the firm remains engulfed in controversy.

Morgan & Morgan axed half of its marketing firm over its “Size Matters” marketing campaign that intended to emphasize the enormous size of the firm; although, the campaign has been criticized as an “inappropriate dick joke.”

Employees at the Morgan & Morgan Brooklyn office described the office culture as a “dictatorship” and “hostile” and noted it had a high turnover rate.

“It seemed like a lot of the employees who frequently pushed back against bad ideas were either fired or quit out of frustration,” Evan Allgood, a former senior content writer for the firm, said of the office culture at Morgan & Morgan. Former employees also criticized the lack of women in senior management positions.

Morgan & Morgan chief creative officer Carlos Wigle suggested the company use controversial phrases to describe the “Size Matters” campaign, such as, “John Morgan is my sugar daddy.”

The Orlando Weekly noted:

The workshop presentation, titled “2021 Creative Billboard Campaigns,” included ideas like “Bigger is Better” with a woman embracing a giant, phallic cone of ice cream, and fake client quotes like “I wanna have John Morgan’s baby,” “Sh*t was smooth like butter,” “Morgan got me drippin’,” and “If you don’t call, you dumb.”

An email from a woman on March 15 expressed concern to the company that the phrase was especially triggering because she’s a sexual assault victim.

“Let me share with you what I’m thinking & feeling each morning as it catches my eye: I am reliving all the past verbal and physical, sexual trauma I have experienced,” she wrote. “’Size Matters’ has nothing to do with the size of your law firm and if this is your attempt to be clever and cute using a ‘sexual innuendo,’ you have failed enormously! Please know that I intend to write you often until this distasteful and sexist billboard is removed from every location.”

“I’m sure there’s more than just one woman whose email we’ve seen out there, but I’m heartbroken that we’ve made even one woman feel this way. That’s not OK,” said one woman at Morgan & Morgan who was later fired.

Another employee pointed out that he had “[concerns] over the perception of employment law and sexual harassment claims,” and another employee said that “making fun of people who don’t like our quite clearly controversial campaign isn’t very For The People.” Both employees were later fired.

Reuven Moskowitz, the Morgan & Morgan chief operating officer, admitted that the marketing team has “filthy minds.”

The controversy over the “Size Matters” campaign follows as Morgan & Morgan has touted their extensive experience in sexual assault and harassment litigation:

The sexual harassment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have extensive experience investigating, preparing, and litigating employment sexual harassment claims. We have a proud history of providing compassionate advocacy for victims of workplace harassment, and dedicate ourselves to stopping the harassment and seeking full compensation for our clients.

Morgan & Morgan’s progressive leanings led to Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen to cut ties with Motley & Rice, a leftist law firm that had donated over $2 million to the Democrat Party since 2016.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, “I applaud Attorney General Knudsen’s decision and I hope other states will follow his example.”

She added, “Too many AGs are allowing leftwing trial lawyers to use the power of the government to enrich themselves and their liberal dark money allies at the expense of the rule of law.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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