Stopping The Conspiracy To Silence Conservatives

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

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Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker recently issued an administrative subpoena to the nonprofit Competitive Enterprise Institute demanding research, op-eds, speeches, and publications about Climate Change. The First Amendment protects speech and publication, and attacks on the content of speech have long been considered among its most pernicious violations.

Conservatives should view this as an opportunity to use lawsuits authorized under Title 42 of the U.S. Code to counter-investigate a widespread conspiracy to violate the First Amendment. Congress should also conduct aggressive investigations of a network including leftwing state attorneys general that may have acted in combination with Al Gore and others to profit by violating constitutional rights of those with whom they disagree.

Walker, who formerly was a lawyer with the Environment Protection Agency, issued his administrative subpoena unilaterally, meaning he bypassed approval of a judge, and directed it smack dab at the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Had Walker been required to seek his subpoena from a judge, which one would think is required under the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, it is doubtful his subpoena would have seen the light of day because it is so brazenly targeted at First Amendment rights. This points to the need to eliminate administrative subpoenas issued to private parties. They shift the burdens and costs to those who must defend against these frequently abused tools of corrupt government. Our First Amendment rights are at grave risk as long as the government may issue these judge-less warrants.

Walker’s subpoena is purportedly part of an investigation under the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The investigation first began by targeting ExxonMobil. Over a dozen Democrat state attorneys general claim that ExxonMobil has committed consumer fraud in staking out a position on Climate Change that disagrees with leftwing dogma.

Fraud, of course, is not protected speech. The subpoena to nonprofit CEI, however, is targeted at non-commercial speech and publication. This is a tactical error that gives better grounds for a lawsuit and discovery probing the strategy of the combination of state AGs to violate constitutional rights, which players are involved, and what moneyed interests are behind it.

Since there is substantial unseen lawlessness within the offices of many state AGs, whose staff attorneys frequently cut corners in their investigations and enforcement of laws, such discovery could be devastating.

Discovery in a different kind of lawsuit by Americans for Prosperity Foundation against California AG Kamala Harris, one of the attorneys general probing Exxon, showed her office was blatantly and routinely violating federal tax code confidentiality laws for donors to nonprofit organizations. The discovery caught Ms. Harris posting confidential tax return information online, and then misleading a federal circuit court of appeals about it. The tax code provides criminal penalties for unlawful disclosure of confidential tax return information by federal or state officials.

Ms. Harris also sent her agents to raid the home of pro-life filmmaker David Daleiden, who exposed how Planned Parenthood grotesquely sold baby parts. Harris received at least $81,000 in contributions to her campaign for U.S. Senate from Planned Parenthood, and used her campaign emails to drum up support for the abortion group. The raid was an excessive use of government power given the circumstances, was clearly designed to intimidate through punishment without due process, and was a conflict of interests.

State attorneys general are accustomed to being the hunters, not the hunted. They thrive on the publicity of bringing charges. Since their offices are rarely probed, many develop sloppy protocols and procedures when it comes to following the law and respecting constitutional rights. In fact, nearly every state attorney general office I’ve dealt with has been in violation of either statutory or case law in areas they regulate.

Legal and congressional probes of the Climate Change combination would probably uncover various violations of the law by these attorneys general, and would likely expose an illegal conspiracy to violate constitutional rights of conservatives — or extort money from energy companies — using leftwing state AG surrogates.