Republican AGs group leader quits over call pushing protest

MEG KINNARD
·3-min read
FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2007, file photo, Adam Piper, one of only four full-time staffers for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in South Carolina, answers calls and returns emails from the state campaign headquarters in Columbia, S.C. Piper, the executive director of a national group that advocates for Republican attorneys general has resigned in the fallout of a robocall sent out by the association’s political arm urging people to march to the U.S. Capitol last week ahead of the violent assault that followed. The Republican Attorneys General Association and the Rule of Law Defense Fund accepted the voluntary resignation of Piper on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The executive director of a national group that advocates for Republican attorneys general has resigned in the fallout of a robocall urging people to march to the U.S. Capitol ahead of the violent assault last week.

The Republican Attorneys General Association and the Rule of Law Defense Fund accepted the voluntary resignation of Adam Piper on Monday, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

“Serving Republican attorneys general has been the honor of a lifetime and honestly a dream job,” Piper said in a statement.

Piper took the job in 2018, following two years as policy director for the partisan group, founded in the late 1990s that works to elect Republicans to top prosecutorial positions across the country. He also spearheaded the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a public policy organization affiliated with RAGA.

It's that political arm that sent out a robocall last Tuesday, encouraging “patriots” to attend an event termed the March to Save America, with remarks from President Donald Trump before a walk to the Capitol “to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections.”

The call did not for advocate violence or suggest that protesters should invade the chambers where federal lawmakers had assembled to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Thousands of Trump's supporters subsequently stormed the Capitol to try to stop the certification.

On Twitter, RAGA posted about the insurrection, writing during the protests Wednesday that “Americans have the Constitutional right to peacefully gather and protest. However, violence and lawlessness should not be tolerated and must be immediately condemned.”

Ken Paxton, attorney general of Texas and a member of RAGA, spoke at Wednesday's rally, pledging that “we will not quit fighting” in reference to Trump's attempts to subvert the election result.

In response to calls from media outlets seeking information on the group's affiliation with the event, Piper told the Alabama Political Reporter that “No Republican AG authorized the staff’s decision to amplify a colleague speaking at the rally" and called the violence “a dark day in American history.”

On Monday, RAGA Chairman Chris Carr, attorney general of Georgia, said Piper had a “servant’s heart” and commended his “tenacity, work ethic and vision.”

Piper didn't immediately respond to the AP's questions about his potential involvement in the robocall and feelings about the aftermath of Wednesday's events, pointing instead to his statement.

In a statement to the AP, Sean Rankin, executive director of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, said that "the issue here was more than the robocall" and called for "a move to accountability for actions outside the bounds and for greater civility among state Attorneys General.”

Piper, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, was southeastern political director for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign and, in 2007 and 2008, served as South Carolina campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s White House effort.

He spent five years working for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, was Wilson's campaign manager and served two terms as third vice chairman of the state Republican Party.

Over the weekend, Wilson, a former RAGA chairman, tweeted that he was “completely unaware” of and disagreed with the group's involvement in the event.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.