Delaware Dem Is The Latest AG To Pull Out Of RICO Case Against Exxon
Internal emails reveal Delaware’s attorney general is the latest Democrat to pull out of a criminal investigation into ExxonMobil for supposedly hiding knowledge about global warming.
Emails released Friday by conservative legal group Energy & Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal) indicate that Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn bowed out of a coalition of attorneys general seeking to bring Exxon up on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges.
“Our AG has determined that Delaware will not be involved in this worthy effort,” Delaware Deputy Attorney General Ralph Durnstein wrote in an email to several other members of the coalition. Durnstein also told the cabal of attorneys general that he was tasked with monitoring the proceedings.
“I would appreciate any updates that can be shared with ‘outsiders,” he added.
Denn wiggled free from the coalition a mere two weeks after initially signing on to probe the much-maligned oil company.
The attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, castigated oil producers at a press conference in March for misleading the public and shareholders about what they knew about global warming and sea levels.
The New York Democrat managed to wrangle about $264,000 in campaign donations from wealthy people with ties to lawyers and environmentalists propping up the prosecutor’s investigation.
Schneiderman began his Exxon investigation in November, which, according to a New York Times report at the time, was, “demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents” from the oil producer dating all the way back to the 1970s.
Denn was among 17 attorneys general to sign a common interest agreement, including states like California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Mexico.
The criticisms came as a result of a 2015 investigation of ExxonMobil conducted by InsideClimate News and others. The investigation found Exxon had allegedly played fast and loose with information concerning global warming.
“First the Iowa AG’s office picked up on the gross abuse of power Schneiderman displayed in targeting political opponents,” Senior Legal Fellow for E&E Legal Chris Horner wrote in a press statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Facing the prospect of scrutiny, the Delaware AG reversed course, revoked his signature and excusing himself from Schneiderman’s crusade.”
Horner was referring to emails obtained in August indicating attorney general offices asked Schneiderman to back off going after Exxon. They were also critical of the attorney general’s effort to bring Exxon and others up on racketeering charges.
“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.
The investigation meandered off the tracks for a period, sidestepped by months of bad press, but was brought back on the rails by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC bailed out Schneiderman last week, when it began a probe seeking to determine how Exxon estimates its future worth as climate regulations continue apace.
Denn did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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