Massachusetts AG Spotted At Climate March Rubbing Elbows With Anti-Exxon Crusaders

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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One of the attorneys general involved in an investigation against Exxon was spotted hobnobbing with activists actively pushing the probe earlier this month at an anti-Trump climate march.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey tweeted photos of herself posing with the likes of anti-Exxon environmentalists Bill McKibben and Peter Frumhoff during the April 29 People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. The Democrat has faced accusations that her pursuit of the company is ideological.

A federal judge asked Healey in a court hearing earlier this year if the AGs involved in the probes were “trying to further their political agendas by using the vast power of the government to silence the voices of all those who disagree with them.”

Healey tweeted a picture of her and McKibben, an activist most known for holding a mock trial for Exxon at the Paris climate conference and other climate-related antics meant to tar and feather oil companies. The Paris climate conference spearheaded a 200-nation agreement meant to drastically reduce the world’s greenhouse gasses.

She also spent the weekend rubbing elbows with Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), who told reporters in February that former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s hearings should be devoted to holding the oil company responsible for hiding years of climate research.

He also said that Exxon’s policies under Tillerson’s leadership showed the company only supports policy ideas like carbon taxes when it’s expedient for its bottom line. Tillerson was eventually confirmed as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

Conservative analysts and various legal actors, meanwhile, believe that Healey’s anti-Exxon campaign is part of a larger mission to deprive the oil company of its freedom of speech.

Republican AGs from 11 states, including Oklahoma, Utah and Texas, for instance, filed an amicus brief in April criticizing the Massachusetts AG and New York AG Eric Schneiderman’s probe against Exxon’s handling of decades worth of climate data.

The authors of the amicus believe the pursuit of Exxon violates the First Amendment of the U.S Constitution and constitutes an “unconstitutional abuse of investigative power.”

Their brief also asserts that Healey and Schneiderman are seeking to “promote one side of [the] international public policy debate” on climate change issues, which should not be up to the courts to decide.

Legal analysts believe the infighting is unprecedented. Reid Weingarten, a lawyer at D.C.-based firm Steptoe & Johnson, for instance, told The Daily Caller News Foundation last month that he has not seen this kind of internal AG strife in more than 30 years.

“I don’t know of any” knock-out, drag down fights between AGs over political tactics and views, Weingarten said at the time. “They are essentially accusing two of their own of wrong doing.”

Weingarten was referring to several clauses in the brief suggesting that attorneys general have a duty to act impartially during their investigations. The 11 AGs argue that Schneiderman and Healey’s probes undermine public confidence the two Democrats’ ability to stay nonpartisan.

Healey’s office has not responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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