Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson used a pseudonym during his email exchanges with executives about the company’s climate research, according to New York’s Democratic attorney general.
The former oil man used the alias “Wayne Tracker” on a separate business email account from at least 2008 through 2015, Eric Schneiderman said Monday in a letter to a judge. The New York Democrat claimed the fake name was used to discuss risks related to climate change.
“[N]either Exxon nor its counsel have ever disclosed that this separate e-mail account was a vehicle for Mr. Tillerson’s relevant communications at Exxon, and no documents appear to have been collected from this email account,” Schneiderman told Justice Barry Ostrager in New York state court in Manhattan
He was referring to emails the New York AG managed to retrieve from the company from a subpoena.
Exxon acknowledged that Tillerson, whose middle name is “Wayne,” used a separate email address but dismissed Schneiderman’s wider claim that the U.S. secretary of state used the fake name explicitly to discuss climate change.
“Media reports indicating that emails to or from this address were exclusively for climate-related topics are false,” the company wrote in a press statement Monday.”The very fact the attorney general’s office has these emails is because they were produced in response to the subpoena.”
Schneiderman’s investigation is partially the result of a probe last year of Exxon conducted by InsideClimate News (ICN). The outlet’s investigation found Exxon had allegedly played fast and loose with information concerning global warming.
ICN also alleges Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, and others joined Exxon in misleading the public about the supposed effects global warming has on sea levels.
The besieged oil company has argued for months that the probes violated Exxon’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. It also refutes the idea it violated the law and claims it promotes carbon taxes to fight man-made global warming.
Schneiderman’s fellow AG, Maura Healey of Massachusetts, embarked on a similar investigation against the oil company — some courts have noted a bit of skepticism about the investigation’s appropriateness and legality.
Texas Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade, for instance, said last year he suspected the Massachusetts Democrat of acting in “bad faith” when she issued her own subpoena targeting Exxon.
She was hoping to acquire the same trove of documents the New York attorney general acquired.
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