Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained a quotation by Mr. Cox that drew an objection from Mr. Steyer’s lawyers. They sent us a letter contending that the quotation could be interpreted as asserting that Mr. Steyer ‘made political contributions in exchange for influence, access or favors, which is unethical and/or unlawful.’ The Daily Caller News Foundation did not intend to make, and does not make, any such assertion. We have retracted the words that Mr. Steyer’s lawyers contended gave rise to such an implication. Mr. Steyer’s lawyers state that he “has never contributed a penny to one of Eric Schneiderman’s campaigns, nor has he contributed to any organization known to be affiliated with Attorney General Schneiderman.” His lawyers have not claimed that the article was factually inaccurate in any other respect. TheDCNF does not retract its contention that the public is entitled to access to Mr. Schneiderman’s communications, and those of his staff, with wealthy donors such as Mr. Steyer, and environmentalist groups, including those funded by or associated with Mr. Steyer.
The head of New York’s Republican Party believes Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s ExxonMobil investigation is a “political cause” in search of a legal case.
Schneiderman has lived in a “far left, progressive bubble” so long that he does not know what it means to be a professional attorney general, Ed Cox, the head of the Empire State’s Republican Party, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Cox was referring to the New York AG’s recent probe against Exxon, as well as Schneiderman’s plans to target President Donald Trump over his supposed civil rights violations. He also suggested the lawman’s Exxon crusades are distracting him from other, more important matters, such as pursuing “actual criminals.”
Schneiderman began his anti-Exxon campaign in 2016, “demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents” from the oil producer dating all the way back to the 1970s. Several other attorneys general joined in the fray, including fellow Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Many of the AG’s who initially jumped on board the fact-finding mission ultimately bailed as news reports showed Schneiderman’s cause might be political in nature.
Conservative legal group Energy & Environmental Legal Institute released internal emails between AGs in March, 2016 suggesting the anti-Exxon ranks were frayed, namely because of the New York lawman’s behavior.
One email indicates some attorneys general offices asked Schneiderman to back off going after Exxon. They were also critical of his effort to bring Exxon and the others up on racketeering charges.
“It’s a political cause in search of a case,” he said, referring to the AG’s yearlong mission to unearth documents showing Exxon deliberately hid knowledge about climate change from the public.
Cox also suggested wealthy environmentalist groups are likely behind the probes, referring to speculation that billionaire eco-activist Steyer is goading the Democrat into chasing down Exxon.
He has raked in a treasure trove of cash from the likes of billionaire financier George Soros and his family, who have shoveled $251,000 into Schneiderman’s political war chest since 2006. Soros himself has given the New York attorney general $64,500, while his sons and daughter-in-law donated the rest.
Schneiderman’s move to block public requests for his emails has only added fuel to the fire that the investigation is mostly political. He continues to stonewall attempts to obtain emails between his office and wealthy donors such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, and Steyer.
Cox’s comments also come on the heels of revelations that the attorney general’s staff has used private email channels to conduct his legal work.
Discoveries show that Lem Srolovic, the assistant attorney general at the New York Attorney General’s Office, used his personal email account in 2012 to prepare for a meeting with various environmental organizations, according to documents obtained by TheDCNF on March 22.
“The real issue is this has all the earmarks of a political witch–hunt in the form of a dragnet,” Cox said.