Dem AG Solicited Help From Green Billionaire During Exxon Probe
The New York attorney general engaging in a highly publicized probe into oil producer ExxonMobil solicited meetings from an influential billionaire Democratic donor, according to emails obtained Monday by the New York Post.
Four months after announcing the Exxon investigation, Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tried to finagle meetings and phone communications with hedge-fund tycoon Tom Steyer, an environmental activist and self-styled enemy of the fossil fuel industry.
“Eric Schneiderman would like to have a call with Tom regarding support for his race for governor . . . regarding Exxon case,” Steyer’s lawyer, Ted White, wrote in a March 10 email. White is a Colorado-based attorney and a Steyer confidant.
The email was addressed to Erin Suhr, the California billionaire’s director of strategic planning at Fahr LLC, which manages Steyer’s philanthropic efforts.
“Anyone have any flags on this call before I add to Tom’s call sheet for Monday?” Suhr replied in an email the next day.
A spokeswoman for Steyer confirmed the e-mail exchange did take place, but said the phone meetings never transpired.
The initial email alludes to a run for governor, yet the New York attorney general continues to shoot down any rumors he is considering a gubernatorial run in 2018. Schneiderman’s spokesman, Eric Soufer, in fact, called suggestions the email was about the attorney general utter “nonsense.”
“If anything, Mr. White may be referring to Mr. Steyer’s reported interest in a run for governor of California,” Soufer told reporters.
Steyer – much like Schneiderman – has waged his own private war against Exxon, directing his political action committee NextGen Climate Action to hold a rally in April to push New Hampshire’s Attorney General Joseph Foster to take up the anti-Exxon message.
NextGen is also calling on the attorney general “to find the truth about whether Exxon Mobil intentionally misled the public about the risk climate change and fossil fuels pose to our communities,” according to a press release.
The probes are based on reports by liberal-leaning media outlets InsideClimate News and Columbia University – the reports claim Exxon has known the risks of global warming for decades but kept such knowledge under raps.
Recent reports that most states attorneys general are simply not in lockstep with the Exxon probe, despite Steyer’s prodding and Schneiderman’s recruitment attempts.
Emails released by conservative legal group Energy & Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal) in August indicate attorneys general see the investigation as just a wild-eyed vendetta by Schneiderman.
“I just returned from the evening’s activities. I will update you tomorrow but clearly Eric is himself the wild card for all,” Iowa’s Deputy Attorney General Tam Ormiston wrote in an email to his communications director after attending a meeting with Schneiderman.
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