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    Attorney General T.J. Donovan Stepping Down to Take Corporate Gig | Politics | Seven Days

    • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
    • Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan

    Outgoing Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Friday that he will step down early to take a position with an online gaming platform.

    Donovan said his last day on the job will be June 20, more than six months before his term as the state’s top prosecutor is up.

    The Democrat announced last month that he would not seek reelection and would put politics behind him, at least temporarily. But the news that he would not even finish out his current term came as a surprise. Donovan served as Chittenden County state’s attorney for a decade before he won election as AG in 2016.

    “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Vermont for nearly the last 16 years as an elected official,” Donovan said in a statement. “The Attorney General’s Office has a strong team in place to carry out its duties to protect Vermonters until the next Attorney General is sworn in.”

    The role of attorney general will be filled by Chief Deputy Attorney General Joshua Diamond unless Gov. Phil Scott appoints someone to fill the vacancy. 

    Scott’s spokesperson, Rebecca Kelley, said the governor had just learned of the news, and his legal team would review whether an appointment made sense.

    “We’re just looking at options,” Kelley said.

    Donovan noted in his statement that Diamond is more than qualified to run the office until a new attorney general is elected, noting that the August 9 primary is fast approaching.

    “Diamond is one of the most experienced and well-regarded attorneys in Vermont and has the experience, knowledge, and ability to lead the Attorney General’s Office through this transition,” Donovan said.

    Donovan will become the director of public policy and U.S. state strategies for the fast-growing California-based online gaming platform Roblox. The company, which has seen rapid growth during the pandemic, went public in early 2021. Donovan said he’ll be based in Vermont.

    The platform allows users to build and share their own games. Critics charge that the company does not do enough to protect young users from inappropriate content or exploitative fee structures.

    During his time in office, Donovan notably launched or latched onto nationwide investigations of social media platforms such as Meta/Facebook, Instagram and TikTok that he has accused of harming young people.

    In his statement, Donovan suggested that that experience would serve him well in his new position.

    “I’m excited that this new role will allow me to continue to advance consumer Protections,” he wrote. “I will also continue to advocate for kids, teens, and their families while learning about and building safeguards into emerging trends and technologies.”

    Donovans’s former chief of staff, Charity Clark, and Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault are vying to be the Democratic nominee for AG, a contest likely to determine November’s winner. Also running in the primaries are Progressive candidate Elijah Bergman and perennial GOP candidate H. Brooke Paige.

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