A federal judge questioned the motivations of a Massachusetts attorney general who helped kick-start investigations into ExxonMobil for allegedly hiding information on global warming.
Texas federal judge Ed Kinkeade said Thursday he suspected Democratic Massachusetts AG Maura Healey of acting in “bad faith” when she issued a subpoena to the oil company for 30-years worth of documents related to the company’s information about climate change.
“The Court finds the allegations about Attorney General Healey and the anticipatory nature of Attorney General Healey’s remarks about the outcome of the Exxon investigation to be concerning to this Court,” reads a statement from the court. “The foregoing allegations about Attorney General Healey, if true, may constitute bad faith in issuing the CID …”
Healey’s crusade was part of a multi-state effort among liberal attorneys general, lawmakers, and celebrities to probe Exxon for allegedly trying to cover up decades of global warming science.
The Democratic attorney general argued the oil company lied to shareholders, media, and the public about the risks global warming posed to Exxon’s financial dealings.
The investigation is partially the result of a September investigation of Exxon conducted by InsideClimate News. The investigation found Exxon had allegedly played fast and loose with information concerning global warming.
InsideClimate News also alleges that Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, and others joined Exxon in misleading the public about the supposed effects global warming has on sea levels.
Exxon wants Kinkeade to prohibit Healey from continuing her investigation, arguing the probe violates the company’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. It also refutes the idea it violated the law and claims it promotes carbon taxes as a way to fight man-made global warming.
Opponents of the crusade believe the court will eventually find that Healey’s investigations are politically motivated.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, also launched an investigation into Exxon in November for similar reasons.
Schneiderman hosted a conference in March with other AGs, which included Healey, when it was announced that more prosecutors would probe Exxon and fight back against Republican attacks on federal environmental regulations.
Kinkeade said in September that the investigation has to be “political” because former Vice President Al Gore was involved.
The judge was referring to Gore’s role in the “AGs United for Clean Power” press conference on March 29, which was attended by Healey and Schneiderman.
Gore said that the best way to solve the Exxon problem is if the Congress allows the Obama administration to do its work on punishing fossil fuel companies that, according to the politician-turned-environmentalist, break the law.
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