There is a growing trend among climate justice warriors in the Senate to use tactics like crying “fraud” or yelling “that’s illegal” when people disagree with them about global warming, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights group said Sunday.
Democrats in Congress were probably not expecting much pushback when they used legal tools to target ExxonMobil and conservative groups over allegedly suppressing data indicating that fossil fuels cause global warming, Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning American Civil Rights Union, wrote in an analysis for the Washington Times.
But pushback is exactly what they got, Knight added.
The conservative writer also wrote he sees a growing trend of Democrats and environmentalists calling conservative and libertarian groups “criminals” for remaining skeptical about global warming, not to mention burying them in endless legal documents and attacking them through federal agencies.
Knight ticked off a handful of examples when Senate Democrats and bureaucrats used their political power to rail against global warming skeptics.
He explained that the Attorneys General United for Clean Power, a coalition of Democratic state attorney generals, used government power to throttle climate change dissent — his first example of Democrats acting like bullies.
One of the attorneys, the Virgin Islands’ Claude E. Walker, issued subpoenas to Exxon requesting information from more than 100 scientists, universities and think tanks related to their positions on global warming and Exxon.
The attorneys, according to Knight, took cues from Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, who suggested in 2015 that civil racketeering law (RICO statutes) could be used to slam companies like Exxon Mobil.
Walker, a self-described independent and the only non-Democrat in the coalition, withdrew his subpoena in July.
Spearheading the group is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said in a March 29 press conference hosted by Al Gore that “the bottom line is simple: Climate change is real.” And if companies are committing fraud by “lying” about the effects of global warming, he added, the group will “pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”
The retribution from the groups’ fatwa came fast and furious, Knight said.
House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, sent congressional subpoenas last week to attorneys general and the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Union, Knight said, “without a hint of irony about its own conduct, accused Rep. Smith of an ‘abuse of power.’”
Ethics groups have also lambasted the groups’ efforts.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a Freedom of Information Act request in May in hopes of unearthing details of the activities of the Attorneys General United for Clean Power Coalition. FACT claimed the investigations and the subpoenas are an Orwellian attack on the Constitution.
“Our legal system was not designed to be used as a tool to persecute, intimidate and silence individuals and groups just because they hold certain viewpoints,” Matthew Whitaker, executive director of FACT, said in a Thursday press statement. “This unlawful effort is a blatant, Orwellian attack on the First Amendment’s right to free speech and we are going to expose their unconstitutional and unethical actions.”
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