The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) is a bipartisan group, originally of Western states, now including a majority of U.S. states and several other countries. Initially organized around legal areas of interests such as water, Indians, public lands, minerals and energy, CWAG has expanded to providing bipartisan discussions focusing on the legal developments in emerging issues facing Attorneys General as well as Rule of Law programing in the country of Mexico and seven African nations.
CWAG’s primary focus in the United States is to provide a forum for chief legal officers of member states and jurisdictions to cultivate knowledge, cooperate on concerns and coordinate actions which improve the quality of legal services available to members. These conferences vary in focus and messaging, but always include important public policy discussions. These conferences are attended by Attorneys General and their staff from within the CWAG region, across the country and often include an international component. CWAG’s coordination of litigation and information is vital in assisting the interplay between federal, state and foreign officials.
Since 1982 CWAG has employed its own staff to coordinate litigation, legislative efforts and information to assist western states on both regional and national levels. CWAG provides assistance to members by serving as a central clearinghouse for information and legal strategies, facilitating interstate working relationships and enhancing expertise by providing timely information.
CWAG plans and sponsors an annual conference along with several topic specific meetings such Indian Gaming Seminars, Takings Seminars and Energy Issues Seminars. These conferences are attended by Attorneys General and their staff from within the CWAG region, across the country and have had international exposure with participation by both Canadian and Mexican Attorneys General. CWAG maintains communication with federal officials and Congressional contacts, monitors legislation and provides questions for confirmation hearings. CWAG works closely with the National Association of Attorneys General on many projects, including issues like methamphetamines, criminal law and identification theft.
CWAG provides information and articulates western state views on federal issues and legislation. CWAG maintains regular contacts with and initiates meetings with many federal agencies. The National Indian Gaming Commission, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Energy regularly solicit input and cooperation from CWAG on matters of concern or interest to western states. A common theme with these entities is the tension between state and federal sovereigns. CWAG has created a channel through which western concerns and suggestions are conveyed and answered.