A group of mostly Democratic Attorneys General, led by a political activist from the Virgin Islands, has launched a partisan witch hunt focused on Exxon Mobil which takes the idea of abuse of government power to a new level. A raft of subpoenas was issued recently demanding four decades worth of documents from the energy giant without even the suggestion that any laws had been broken, but rather to find out if they were “complicit” in public criticism of government policies which are supposedly aimed at combating climate change. (National Review)
On March 29, a group of mainly Democratic attorneys general announced at a press conference (with former vice president and green-energy profiteer Al Gore in attendance) that they would seek to transform U.S. policy on climate change by “creatively” and “aggressively” deploying their prosecutorial powers. That, in and of itself, should raise an entire May Day parade’s worth of red flags: Prosecutors are in the business of enforcing the law, not rewriting it, and the open, naked promise to use prosecutorial powers as a political weapon is a prima facie abuse of office. In a self-respecting society, every one of those state attorneys general would have been impeached the next day. But this is the Age of Obama, not the Age of Self-Respect.
Claude Earl Walker, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Island, who promised a “transformational” use of his prosecutorial powers in the global-warming crusade, shortly thereafter issued a subpoena to Exxon, demanding private communication and other internal information as part of an investigation into the firm. Walker has not come even close to describing any crime committed by Exxon, much less a crime committed by Exxon in his jurisdiction, the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Exxon does no business, holds no assets, maintains no employees, and has no physical presence. Again, this is, in and of itself, a grotesque abuse of power.
In addition to having Al Gore on hand there were numerous environment groups cheering on this direct attack on the energy industry. That might explain the rather curious list of other groups who were also caught up in the net of Earl Walker’s subpoena festival. Where did he get the names of his prospective targets? It turns out that it’s suspiciously close to a nearly identical list of “bad guys” who show up on the website of Greenpeace. (Washington Times)
When deciding which organizations to target in his probe into climate change dissent, Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker apparently received some help from Greenpeace.
Of the roughly 100 academic institutions and free market think tanks named in Mr. Walker’s subpoena of Exxon Mobil, 69 are listed on Greenpeace’s #ExxonSecrets website — and in virtually the same order.
The obvious overlap between the Greenpeace site and the March 15 subpoena, an unredacted copy of which was obtained Tuesday by The Washington Times, was but one of the points made Wednesday by those named in the document.
New York’s Attorney General started making noises about this same tactic last year, but this new Democrat coalition is really taking it to the next level. The job of our Attorneys General is to investigate and prosecute crimes. In this case, there has been no allegation of any violation of the law. This is a fishing expedition intended to find out if there was any sort of “collusion” between groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (who have been frequent critics of climate change activism) and Exxon. But to what end? Let’s just say that the fever dreams of Greenpeace are actually true and energy companies were providing data and analysis on this subject to think tanks who comment on it in public. So what? These are companies who are on the cutting edge of science in these fields and would be natural choices to contact for research material.
Unless these activists can provide some indication that a crime has taken place, these subpoenas are a blatant abuse of government power and an attempt to intimidate an industry which is politically unpopular on the left. And this needs to stop immediately.