Dem. Senator Hopes The DOJ Sues Global Warming ‘Deniers’

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is not a fan of anyone who disagrees with him about man-made global warming. And at an event hosted by environmentalists, he made it clear just how much he doesn’t like skeptics.

“But, this vast denial apparatus that propagates the false doubt, that props up the phony science, that gets these yahoos who can’t survive … peer-reviewed scrutiny onto Fox News, onto the cable shows, saying that their scientists, they create an artificial conflict about this and that’s why I think there’s doubt,” the Rhode Island Democrat told attendees at a League of Conservation Voters event in last month, according to a recently published Youtube video.

“A lot of people haven’t seen through the scam that’s being perpetrated,” Whitehouse said. “So that’s one of the reasons I hope that we get another lawsuit out of the Department of Justice, like the one they brought against the tobacco industry that showed that the whole fraudulent scam was a racketeering enterprise, held them accountable for it.”

This is not the only time Whitehouse suggested the federal government prosecute global warming skeptics under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for being a “racketeering enterprise.”

Whitehouse essentially wants the Justice Department to prosecute skeptics the same way it prosecuted the tobacco industry in the late 1990s.

“In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies… alleging that the companies ‘engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,’” Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May — The video that was recently posted to Youtube, was from an event that took place before his op-ed was written.

“The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking,” Whitehouse added.

Whitehouse, however, was forced to admit at the end of his op-ed that he didn’t actually know “whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry.” But, of course, he suggested there’s a lot of evidence pointing in that direction.

Ironically, Whitehouse’s support for using RICO against global warming skeptics came one month before he appeared at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, to unveil a bill he wrote that would slap a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. While at AEI, Whitehouse talked about how a carbon tax was the “conservative” answer to global warming.

AEI was actually one of the organizations targeted by Whitehouse and fellow Democrats earlier this year in an investigation to find out how much money right-wing groups and fossil fuels interests were putting towards funding climate science.

Whitehouse’s office responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment with this statement:

“A civil RICO lawsuit such as the one successfully brought against the tobacco companies requires proof by a preponderance of evidence of intent to defraud.  Senator Whitehouse has no information of any intent to defraud anyone by the American Enterprise Institute, and indeed appreciates their willingness to serve as an open forum for a range of views.”

[H/T Climate Depot]

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