Attack on Free Speech: CEI Subpoenaed over Global Warming Skepticism

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Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has just been subpoenaed, as part of Al Gore’s Climate Witch hunt. This is a move which so blatantly reeks of McCarthyite abuse of power, even some proponents of climate action are horrified at the attack on freedom which this subpoena represents.

The following is the statement of the Competitive Enterprise Institute;

CEI Fights Subpoena to Silence Debate on Climate Change

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) today denounced a subpoena from Attorney General Claude E. Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands that attempts to unearth a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy. This is the latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former Vice President Al Gore.

“CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena. It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”

The subpoena requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016.

On March 30, 2016, Attorney General Schneiderman, former Vice President Al Gore, and attorneys general from Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, as well as Attorney General Walker, held a press conference in New York City to announce “an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement officials committed to aggressively protecting and building upon the recent progress the United States has made in combating climate change.” Schneiderman said that the group, calling itself “AGs United for Clean Power,” will address climate change by threatening criminal investigations and charges against companies, policy organizations, scientists, and others who disagree with its members’ climate policy agenda.

CEI has long been a champion of sound climate change policy, and opposed previous attempts to use McCarthy-style tactics by officials aiming to limit discussions between nonprofit policy groups and the private sector regarding federal policies. CEI is being represented in this matter by attorneys Andrew M. Grossman and David B. Rivkin, Jr., who recently founded the Free Speech in Science Project to defend First Amendment rights against government abuses.

Source: https://cei.org/content/cei-fights-subpoena-silence-debate-climate-change

The text of the subpoena is here.

Here is a response from Bloomberg, which frequently takes a pro climate action position;

Subpoenaed Into Silence on Global Warming

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is getting subpoenaed by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands to cough up its communications regarding climate change. The scope of the subpoena is quite broad, covering the period from 1997 to 2007, and includes, according to CEI, “a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information.”

My first reaction to this news was “Um, wut?” CEI has long denied humans’ role in global warming, and I have fairly substantial disagreements with CEI on the issue. However, when last I checked, it was not a criminal matter to disagree with me. It’s a pity, I grant you, but there it is; the law’s the law.

(I pause to note, in the interests of full disclosure, that before we met, my husband briefly worked for CEI as a junior employee. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.)

Speaking of the law, why on earth is CEI getting subpoenaed? The attorney general, Claude Earl Walker, explains: “We are committed to ensuring a fair and transparent market where consumers can make informed choices about what they buy and from whom. If ExxonMobil has tried to cloud their judgment, we are determined to hold the company accountable.”

That wasn’t much of an explanation. It doesn’t mention any law that ExxonMobil may have broken. It is also borderline delusional, if Walker believes that ExxonMobil’s statements or non-statements about climate change during the period 1997 to 2007 appreciably affected consumer propensity to stop at a Mobil station, rather than tootling down the road to Shell or Chevron, or giving up their car in favor of walking to work.

Prosecutors know the damage they can do even when they don’t have a leg to stand on. The threat of investigation can coerce settlements even in weak cases.

Read more: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-04-08/subpoenaed-into-silence-on-global-warming

In my opinion, this hysterical executive overreach will be the downfall of the climate alarmist movement in America, just as outrage at the excesses of the McCarthy era brought an end to that dark period of American history.

You don’t have to be a climate skeptic, to recognise that an attack on freedom of speech, in whatever guise, is an attack on everything which America stands for.

More than anything, this authoritarian, un-American attempt to silence dissent betrays the weakness of those perpetrating this attack on the CEI. In a Republic, people who have a compelling case to offer, don’t have to intimidate their political opponents into silence, to win the argument.

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This is so difficult to believe. It doesn’t seem real.

@ Shelly, believe it, this is real, it is an attack on people that are skeptical of “global warming” . These people like the AG’s know they have millions of dollars backing them up in a fight against people and groupslike CEI ( even attacks on single persons that are basically doing it for their love of correct science. Personally I am appalled at these tactics and we need to stand behind anyone that is being attacked in this way, if they are successful at these levels we should be really alarmed at what their next steps could be.

Mark

Billions of dollars backing them up not millions. A worthy use of “climate change funds” I am sure. Not

Samuel C Cogar

Shelly M, try believing this one, to wit:

President Obama and the fossil fuel industry at last have found common cause: fighting a lawsuit brought by kids and teenagers over the administration’s alleged inaction on global warming.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/03/21/strange-bedfellows-obama-fossil-fuel-industry-unite-against-kids-climate-suit.html?intcmp=hphz28

dennisambler

“industry groups argued that if the court accepts the plaintiff’s claims, it would “empower a group of private citizens to compel through judicial fiat the exercise of sweeping legislative and executive authority conferred by our Constitution exclusively to the political branches.”
This is of course, just what the Obama Administration wants. The Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, (2007) law suit, which led to the EPA Endangerment finding, was brought by a group of highly visible and well-funded NGO’s and Environmental Law Groups, supported by politicians from twelve US states and three cities, in a creatively constructed legal suit. The NGO practice of suing the EPA, in order to force them to do something that was their primary objective anyway, is something that has happened from the beginning of the EPA, commencing with the Environmental Defense Fund litigation against William Ruckelshaus over DDT.
Lisa Jackson, when EPA head, boasted at a “40 years of EPA” celebration at Harvard, about the fact that:
“the lead author of Massachusetts vs. EPA, came to work at the agency she once sued – to see through the work she sued it to do.
“Lisa Heinzerling, who with my colleagues here today including Gina McCarthy, Bob Perciasepe and Bob Sussman, helped EPA follow the science and follow the Supreme Court to finalize our endangerment finding on greenhouse gases last year.”
From January 2009 to July 2009, Heinzerling served as Senior Climate Policy Counsel to Lisa Jackson and then, from July 2009 to December 2010, she served as Associate Administrator of EPA’s Office of Policy. In 2008, she was a member of President Obama’s EPA transition team. A Professor of Law at Georgetown, she was at one time an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts, specializing in environmental law.
Which is where of course Gina McCarthy was Undersecretary for Policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office for Environmental Affairs under Mitt Romney.
You can read more about Lisa Jackson and the EPA here:
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/science-papers/originals/lisa-p-jackson-epa-administrator-fulfilling-the-un-mission

bh2

Let ’em keep on ramping up stupid claims for all the world to see. This legal claim is as meritless as most “scientific” claims promoted by this crowd.
Support by the general public for AGW is steadily ebbing away. The more outrageous their claims, the less credible their position, and the more surely are they seen for what they really are: racketeering white-collar promoters rent-seeking for public funds.
So let ’em run wild, secure in the knowledge that, eventually, “time wounds all heels”.

Hugs

Easy. Actually, this is pretty American tactics. Subpoena, threaten with grave penalties provided by the local collection of established and unestablished law, coerce into co-operation.
Or use huge amounts of money into legal defence not needed elsewhere.
The system resembles justice. Yes, but only remotely.

Barbara

Don’t accept a subpoena. Don’t even touch the envelope if presented. Let the party get a warrant to serve the subpoena and let the party prove in court why they want a subpoena.

A.J.

[snip – fake name, fake email address, sockpuppeting -mod]

Barbara

Maybe Shelly means this is some kind of bad dream so this doesn’t look real?

Barbara

The Virgin Islands Consortium
Claude Walker was an EPA attorney in Washington for 8 years.
http://www.viconsortium.com/politics/claude-walker-is-the-new-acting-attorney-general

BillJ

Absolutely shameful.

Appalling. It’s an attack on civilization. Not only do the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age not exist in their tiny demented minds but neither does the Age of Enlightenment.

Rob Morrow

The Enlightenment killer Rousseau is still haunting us from the grave. The stated position of AGW totalitarian cowards is (more or less) that they are serving the “general will” of the people.

mikebartnz

They should be done for an abuse of the law.

Greg

Unprecedented Coalition Vows To Defend Climate Change Progress Made Under President Obama And To Push The Next President For Even More Aggressive Action
from th AG’s official site. This is blatantly politically motived. Since when is it job of AG to do anything other than prosecute on the objectives merits of the case not as a form of political pressure and pre-motivated harassment?

Hugs

‘Unprecedented Coalition Vows To Defend Climate Change Progress Made Under President Obama And To Push The Next President For Even More Aggressive Action’
Gawd. You call that man attorney general?
He’s a political rat.

NeedleFactory

Agreed. The 12+ pages of detailed instructions in Appendix A of the subpoena imposes a horrendous amount of work on CEI: documents cannot merely be “handed over”, they must be catalogued, scanned via OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so that they are searchable via computer, and provided with “Bates Numbers.” I imagine it might take thousands of man-hours to put the requested documents into the form demanded. A fishing expedition by the AG, with all the work done by those subpoenaed.
Outrageous!

Hugs

FOIAing is easy peasy compared to this kind of politicized criminal investigation.

Tom Anderson

Well, defendants could file a counterclaim for malicious prosecution.

Read up on SLAPP laws. That’s why they filed in the US Virgin Islands. They don’t have to win, just intimidate you and use up your time and money. They don’t have an anti SLAPP law like most states do.
In fact, just filing has a chilling effect. The plaintiffs don’t have to do anything else. Show up, nada, zipo, doda, nothing.

Tucci78

Writes rishrac: “Read up on SLAPP laws. That’s why they filed in the US Virgin Islands. They don’t have to win, just intimidate you and use up your time and money. They don’t have an anti SLAPP law like most states do.
“In fact, just filing has a chilling effect. The plaintiffs don’t have to do anything else.”

Let me reiterate an earlier request I’d made – moderated into asphyxiation – with regard to a potential federal anti-SLAPP statute.
Are there any reading here prepared to suggest the characteristics that an ideal anti-SLAPP law should incorporate?

maybe we should be counting our blessings.
remember when al gore almost became POTUS?

Maybe his global warming crusade is driven by bitterness and desire for more power than he lost.

BFL

“You don’t have to be a climate skeptic, to recognise that an attack on freedom of speech, in whatever guise, is an attack on everything which America stands for.”
Someone hasn’t been paying much attention to the liberal news and PC activists lately……

rogerthesurf

This is just like the Chinese Communist Government, during 1958 – 62 which was the period when land was confiscated and agriculture etc was collectivised, arresting everyone who said there was a food shortage and accusing them of capitalistic tendencies and they were hiding food.
Some say as many as 60 million died during that period.
Roger
http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

BrianMcL

No doubt in the interests of justice similar full disclosure will be required from the climate modellers,their funders and acolytes.
It would certainly be interesting to hear them admitting to losing their data or admitting that they are so unsure of it’s accuracy that they refuse to supply it to people who might want to find errors with it under oath.

Jon

So why isn’t NASA forced to give up its emails? The government actually owns those records.

Jon, I agree with you.
But, let us never forget that NASA is the government. It is one of the bureaucracies that form the government and that NASA carries out government policy as it understands it just as every bureaucracy does.
One of the things that every government and every bureaucracy within any government strives for at all times is an expansion of power. Power drives the governmental mind and the “CO2 causes global warming and that warming will fry us all” delusion is a perfect scare story to drive Total Control of all of mankind’s activities.
This is all about control and not science.

To reinforce Markstoval’s comment, one of my favorite lines of this election season was “I will make government so small that it will fit into the Constitution”.
In that vision, there would not be room for most of the bureaucracies.
Now, THAT’S Hope and Change for you.

Mike McMillan

The government doesn’t have a legitimate interest in the lawful activities of a private outfit that doesn’t take taxpayer money. Congress could invite those AG’s in for a little chat, under oath, of course.
On the other hand, the govt has an obligation to investigate the activities of those multitudes on the climate gravy train. Over a hundred billion so far, might just be some prosecutable offenses in there.
First thing Cruz or Trump should do is appoint a whole passel of special prosecutors. (Then fire the Joint Chiefs and move EPA headquarters to Lenexa, Kansas.)

firetoice2014

Move EPA headquarters to Beijing, where they really need it.

H.R.

“Move EPA headquarters to Beijing, where they really need it.”
What?!? And start a war with China?! ;o)

Pops

You might consider that China might be behind this subtle form of economic warfare. Check out where Maurice Strong, an early UN promoter of this propaganda, disappeared to in his later years, for example.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Riverhead

China has an EPA, and it is called, believe it or not, the EPA.

firetoice2014

Perhaps, but apparently it does not work very well. China has access to SOx, NOx and particulate control technology, but apparently chooses not to use it.

MarkW

After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was shown that the Soviets were behind many of the so called peace and environmental activists.

Evan Jones

Perhaps, but apparently it does not work very well. China has access to SOx, NOx and particulate control technology, but apparently chooses not to use it.
Wisely so. They realize that — at this time — far more lives are saved and extended per dollar by building the cheapest coal plants than by capping existing ones. Poverty is still the great killer. Pollution, as bad as it is, is a distant second.
When that equation changes (and it will as they develop), they will make what they have much, much cleaner. That process is just beginning.

Geoff Sherrington

The subpoena deals with CEI as additional to a main defendant ExxonMobil Oil Corp., with the inference that certain actions of CEI are related to actions of ExxonMobil.
An action of ExxonMobil that plausibly will be considered, will be the release of GHG, especially Carbon Dioxide, into the air. If this is so, it might be noted that ExxonMobil has a somewhat circuitous path with respect to such emissions. Many in the public see it as selling a product, auto gas, that people can take away to use in ways of their own, but which will usually involve GHG emissions.
A more direct path of CO2 to the air would arise from the deliberate manufacture or purchase of CO2, putting it in a container, adding to the amount stored by moves such as the addition of water and maybe other chemicals. A person purchasing such a product would more likely know that opening it is a direct cause of CO2 emissions.
There is such a product. It is called a drink bottle or can and it is sold by well-known corporations such as Coca Cola and many makers of beer.
It is difficult to imagine a more direct way to deliberately release CO2 into the air. It is also a life style choice to do so, not a requirement of human survival. In a sense, the CO2 is an incentive in the product that makes it more tasty for people to buy. The emission of CO2 to the air is a deliberate act by the bottlers and brewers, while for ExxonMobil the emissions are a by-product that possibly they would prefer not to have.
So, if there is to be a process that claims that CO2 emissions are bad, who is guilty of causing them and who should be first to explain and justify, logic would say that the bottlers and brewers should be ahead of ExxonMobil in the queue.
Indeed, it seems that CEI has a rationale to demand that not only drink makers, but all corporations, industries, people, governments etc that are not already involved in this search by the Attorney General of Virgin Islands, should be included alongside CEI unless a strong, particular reason exists to select CEI as a co-defendant. This is because each one of us is by design of Nature, an emitter of CO2 in a compulsory manner, through breathing.
If that reason to defocus on ExxonMobil exists, surely CEI is entitled to have it detailed before moving to comply.
However, the better outcome would be for the originators of this legal demand to reconsider it and withdraw.
It is the stuff that causes wars. It is a serious mischief.

Samuel C Cogar

Great post, Geoff S, …….. but you should have included another direct path of CO2 to the air ……. and that is the baking industry as well as the suppliers of baking powders and baking soda.

Rich Lambert

What about all the CO2 released from the production of ethanol?

bobl

What about breathing out?

wakeupmaggy

One of my favorite speculations along the same lines, when seeing the entire aisle of our grocery filled with soda pop…What if we shook them all and opened at the same time, would everyone in the sore die from the CO2?
Likewise every human is like a huge beer can 24/7, turning all those carbs they eat into co2 emissions. Athletes should be prosecutes, especially triathletes. Obese, inactive people should get a tax break.

dudleyhorscroft

Is this not similar to the requests for Mr Mann to produce certain emails. As a non-US citizen, it appears that the procedure is the same. The difference is that Mr Mann and Mr Steyn are engaged in a legal bttle between the pair of them.
I cannot see what the CEI has to do with Exxon – did CEI advise Exxon, has any link been established between CEI and Exxon? Does Exxon operate in the colony of Virgin Islands? Does Exxon pay CEI to do anything? This commandment could be equally well addressed to the State of Kentucky. The causal link would appear to bea s good.
Yes, the commands appears to be totally off the page, but does this really amount to an attack on free speech?
To demand that 10 years worth of documents be transcribed into electronic text and all within a month appears to be totally ridiculous.

Gaelanclark

Mann is paid by the public.
CEI is a private enterprise.
Mann’s records are, and should be, all of our property. CEI paid for their own research, it’s theirs.
It’s that simple.

“It’s that simple.”
No, it’s not. Cuccinelli as Virginia AG issued a Civil Investigative Demand, claiming that he suspected Mann of freud; the VI AG has issued an investigative subpoena claiming a suspicion of RICO violation by Exxon. Neither action had anything to do with the source of funding for the documents. Both were, IMO, an abuse of AG investigative powers.

michael hart

“he suspected Mann of freud”
lol. A fraudian slip there, Nic? 🙂

gaelansclark

Hello Nick…..Mann and Styne were mentioned and CEI was mentioned. I commented. Nothing about Virginia or Cuccinelli or any OTHER lawsuit/investigations.
It’s that simple. Don’t confuse yourself.

benofhouston

Nick, If they had limited the request to documents pertaining to or in communication with Exxon, then I can see how it would valid. Though the exact same complaint can and has been made of the entire investigation of Exxon in the first place. I still do not understand the tortured logic of how, even if everything they accuse Exxon of is true, it would be racketeering.
However, they asked for everything in total. Including private donations. That’s a vast overreach far beyond any rational investigation into Exxon.

GC,
“Mann and Styne were mentioned and CEI was mentioned.”
The comment confused things. But Steyn etc have not (yet) demanded Mann’s emails. The only legal attempt to force that came from Cuccinelli and, yes, CEI.
Ben,
“However, they asked for everything in total. Including private donations. “
I couldn’t see that. They asked for everything about relationship with Exxon. They asked about donations and funding from Exxon, directly or indirectly.
michael hard
slip
My earlier slip was to use correct spelling. The comment went into moderation, then disappeared.

benofhouston

OK Nick, after reading it more thoroughly, you are correct. However, Item 8 on page 12 and the ludicrously broad definition of “Concerning” on page 9 can easily be construed to mean anything related to combustion of oil, which reduces to my prior statement.
https://cei.org/sites/default/files/CEI%20Subpoena%20from%20USVI%20AG%20Claude%20Walker%20April%207%202016.pdf

Nick Stokes:
Prof. Mann was an employee of the State of Virginia for the period investigated by Virginia’s AG. Apples and oranges comparison with CEI.
States also have FOIA rules that cover state employees. You don’t seem to know what you are talking about here.

“States also have FOIA rules that cover state employees.”
They don’t cover employees; they cover institutions. But Cuccinelli’s investigative demand was not made under FOIA. It was made claiming suspicion of frαud. In fact, it failed because UVa was a State institution.

NS:
Cuccineli’s fraud investigation was not based on FOIA. CEI’s request was. You mentioned both.
https://cei.org/news-releases/cei-seeks-climategate-and-foia-related-documents-university-virginia
The AG’s investigation was stymied by the court’s ruling that UVA was covered by an exception in the state’s fraud statute. The VA Supreme Court found that UVA was not a legal “person” under the statute (in contrast with, for example, the treatment of state corporations as “persons” with regard to federal campaign finance laws).
Note also that CEI’s FOIA request (which you may have confused with ATI’s FOIA efforts**) was an effort to learn the basis for UVA’s decisions to withhold all info about Prof. Mann’s communications yet release similar information about his adversary, Prof. Patrick Michaels.
UVA originally agreed it had a duty to release the Mann-related documents to ATI under FOIA but Prof. Mann challenged the agreement in court. It was during this time that a CEI employee blogged disparaging, if satiric, comments about Prof. Mann — ultimately leading to the Mann vs Steyn imbroglio.
** http://blog.ucsusa.org/michael-halpern/virginia-supreme-court-unanimously-supports-academic-freedom-at-the-university-of-virginia-488?_ga=1.131154383.1769443458.1460377211

Gary Pearse

Dudley, Mann sued Steyn!! Steyn has already supplied Mann’s demand for disclosure documents. Steyn has counter-sued Mann and has demanded the data behind his hockeystick which he has steadfastly refused to supply to scientists or anyone else. This is very much apropos since Mann sued Steyn for his mocking the ‘stick’ as scientific fraud or some such so the data is centrally relevant.
Steyn’s counter-suit for $20million was a very balsy move. It means that Mann can’t now back out of the suit (he was really using it to punish as in the case of AG of V.I.), so it will go forward come hell or high water. Now why do you think that Mann would be reluctant to supply the data and code for his hockey stick – what important reason can you think of?

Simon

Eric
So where do you stand on the Lamar Smith abuse of power in his request for the NOAA emails? Seems to me you can draw parallels to McCarthyism there to. In fact he has been accused of it by more than just a few.

gregjxn

Don’t be ridiculous. NOAA is a government agency, not an organization of citizens with constitutional protections to think and speak anything they wish w/o any permission or interference from the government. Congress has over-site responsibilities wrt such government functions as NOAA.

Simon

“Congress has over-site responsibilities wrt such government functions as NOAA.” But I would have thought they are also obliged to use tax payers money efficiently and Smith’s witch hunt is surely at risk of being accused of wasting everyones time and money. Hardly responsible government.

Simon

Well that’s all good then…. because I am. And I think he should be held accountable for being anti science, particularly so because of the position he holds.

Simon. You may think it’s a waste of tax payer’s money to investigate the government sponsored wholesale fabrication of data – paid for by those tax payers – in the interests of destroying the the US economy and causing energy costs – for those self-same tax payers – to soar out of control but let me be the first to assure you – anyone with more than two brain cells will not.

Chris

“If your case is compelling, you may convince the people to elect different politicians.”
That’s virtually impossible, because Smith is in one of the most heavily gerrymandered districts in the country. The shape is a complete joke, it makes absolutely zero sense except as a way to ensure his re-election while avoiding the Democratic pockets in San Antonio and Austin.
https://lamarsmith.house.gov/district

Brett Keane

I am afraid I know Simon, and ridiculous is his middle name.!

Brett Keane,
He’s Simpleton Simon to me.
Simpleton Ridiculous Simon. I like it!

Eric Worrall @ April 9, 2016 at 1:00 am wrote:
“America is a free country”
That is not true. We could argue that the country used to be “free”, but if one does not understand the nature of the present police state called the USA then one is not a reliable observer of politics and reality.
As one example out of millions; the police can confiscate property and money from people and it does so at an enormous rate each year without even a requirement to bring charges much the less convicting the victim.
As another example: the feds are spying on everyone in the country in direct violation of the “worthless piece of paper” called the Constitution. Joseph Stalin could only dream of the surveillance powers that the USA now has.

Barbara

The Congress has the duty to see to it that government data has not or is not been tampered with.
If data is allowed to be tampered with in one agency, then any other government agency can tamper with data.

Slacko

I wasn’t around to oversee your over-site. Where is it?

I think a closer analogy is with the CID issued re Mann by Cuccinelli as AG of Virginia. That was an investigative demand based on his suspicion of fraud; this seems to be an investigative subpoena issued under the authority of the AG of the Virgin Islands,based on his suspicion of some RICO violation. I would expect that the authority of the VI AG action to also be vigorously and successfully contested. It should be.

Nick, this got flagged as a duplicate comment, next time please state it is a correction.

re Duplicate comment – actually that was my first comment on the thread, but went into moderation and then disappeared, because, I think, of the f-word. Anyway, thanks for restoring it.

Simon says “abuse of power”, “McCarthyism”, and “Smith’s witch hunt”, arguing from his impotent emotion as usual.
Even more preposterous, Simon wails about “wasting everyones time and money”, when there is no bigger waste of time and money than the ongoing “climate change” scam — the biggest hoax on the taxpaying public ever perpetrated.
But Simon dosen’t care. He is no skeptic, so that wastage is A-OK with Simon. But when a Representative even starts to question the monumental waste, Simon gets all holier-than-thou.
That’s typical two-faced hypocrisy from the climate alarmist cult.

Simon

DB
Thank you for using the word “hypocrisy,” it was my very point. Eric is bleating about Gore taking a group rightly or wrongly to task and here we have Lamar Smith pushing his own personal viewpoint (not that of the established science) and churning through taxpayers dollars to do it. it seems everyone here is fine with that, why, because they agree with his misguided view. “Hypocrisy” indeed.

Simon…
Ah, so now Simon is the arbiter of what is “established science”.
Is that something like the “consensus”?
And the “churning through taxpayer dollars” comment is so hypocritical it needs no further response.

Samuel C Cogar

I don’t know why I kept thinking about what Josephus said, ….. every time I read one of Simon’s comments, to wit:

Now I cannot but think, that the greatness of a kingdom, and its changes into prosperity, often becomes the occasion of mischief and of transgression to men, for so it usually happens, that the manners of subjects are corrupted at the same time with those of their governors, which subjects then lay aside their own sober way of living, as a reproof of their governor’s intemperate courses, and follow their wickedness, as if it were virtue, for it is not possible to show that men approve of the actions of their kings, unless they do the same actions with them.” (Flavius Josephus – 37- 100 AD)

Simon: Every politicians pushes their own personal viewpoint. Obama keeps sending the army out to fight climate change, as nonsensical as that may be. As is pointed out, NOAA is a publicly funded agency and people have the right to know if that agency is manipulating data to a political end. Global warming believers are not pure as the newly fallen snow in East. They are just as prone to cover things up, pay off politicians, etc to get thier personal viewpoint through. Global warming has been turned into politics, dropping the science out it quite effectively.

Mark

When you use “anti science” you become transparent.
Whispers came from NOAA bout the abuse of scientific process, not congress. So in that context, your argument is moot.

benofhouston

It’s also a matter of power. Lamar Smith could not prosecute NOAA if he wanted to. The AG is explicitly trying to put people into prison.
Also, there is a reasonable chain of logic that could reveal that NOAA had exaggerated warming. While I still do not understand how the actions of Exxon could possibly be racketeering
Finally, the subpoena asks for donor information. How could that possibly be relevant to the matter at hand?

Doug in Calgary

“Finally, the subpoena asks for donor information. How could that possibly be relevant to the matter at hand?”
——————–
I believe that is called a fishing trip in order to generate more subpoenas.

Barbara

How about coercion or extortion? This kind of situation has been brewing for quite sometime now!
COP21 gave this the final push.

lee

Seems like abuse of process to me.

Pauly

Perhaps the CEI’s first reaction is too confrontational. The subpoena appears to be a fishing expedition, because it is entirely unclear how these communications can possibly relate to:
a) The Virgin Islands,
b) Obtaining money by false pretenses, or
c) Conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses,
which is all that the RICO laws relate to.
In any event, it is not an attempt “to unearth a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy”, nor is it “an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate”. The subpoena relates only to communications to and from ExxonMobil. Should be easy enough to limit documentation to only that material.
However, I am at a complete loss as to how the prosecution will then be able to prove that the company has been “engaging in conduct misrepresenting its knowledge of the likelihood that its products or activities have contributed or are continuing to contribute to Climate Change”.
Given how long this company has been in operation, does that mean the prosecution has to show that ExxonMobil were contributing to the cooling period from 1940 to 1976, but then their products completely changed so that they were now contributing to heating from 1976 to 1998? And given the specific period of the subpoena (1997-2007), does that mean that ExxonMobil will have to show how its products contributed to the 18 year pause?
The fun will begin when the prosecution has to try to define what they mean by climate change. Given that the IPCC has changed its definition several times, I wonder which definition the courts will settle on. In any event, a semi-competent industrial chemist or engineer with a 1954 textbook should be able to show what the IPCC has always avoided hearing – that atmospheric CO2 concentrations only have limited impact on atmospheric temperature, and no demonstrable influence on climate.

gazzatrone

“The fun will begin when the prosecution has to try to define what they mean by climate change.”
I think you could probably go one step further as a debate in a legal forum should, in theory, allow the Climate Pragmatists* the opportunity to validate their claims instead of having to fight their corner on websites such as these. It would in effect give the Pragmatist the opportunity to say to the Alarmists, prove it.
In my own science field I put a similar question to a leading world practitioner, that if a particular practice was used as evidence in a court of law and found to be provable evidence, would the use of such technique in a court of law validate its further use. Her response was a simple yes.
*My preference of moniker for those that oppose the Alarmists stance if the Alarmists stance is rooted firmly in fictional scenarios based on models based on battered datasets.

Steve Fraser

The subpoena has a definition of climate change inclusive of human and natural causes.

Dan Daly

I am hoping the fun begins with a motion to quash the subpoena on grounds that it pertains to a lawsuit over which the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The DC Superior Court is not in a position to determine whether “climate change” exists or is an injury for which an oil company can be held accountable based on its speech. Just the hearings on the subpoena could last for years.

John in Oz

Perhaps the A’s G should be asked why they still use Exxon Mobile’s products as they obviously know the detrimental effects using them has. They would all drive (or be driven in) automobiles, use electricity that is not wholly ‘green’, utilise plastics, etc.
Hypocrites, all.

Mark T

Ah, proper punctuation!

Mark T

Rather, you put the pluralization in the right place. 😉

Theo

If the AG asking for the fishing expedition knows Exxon is doing wrong, and he purchases Exxon’s products anyway because they’re cheaper, that’s R.I.C.O. violation right there.
RICO has to do with any manner of profiting from crime, and if he knows Exxon’s prices are criminally low, and he has purchased any of them, he’s violated RICO by profiting from that illegal activity.

John in Oz
April 9, 2016 at 12:33 am
Perhaps the A’s G should be asked why they still use Exxon Mobile’s products as they obviously know the detrimental effects using them has. They would all drive (or be driven in) automobiles, use electricity that is not wholly ‘green’, utilise plastics, etc.
Hypocrites, all.

BlueSkies

America is moving toward becoming the United States of Russia. Very sad.

Zenreverend

Russia’s been a lot more open and democratic than the U.S. on most issues like this recently…sad to say

Hugs

At Russia, Attorney General is doing exactly what the President tells him to do. In the US, AG is doing a doggy-do.

Varco

Mahatma Gandhi — ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.’

Hlaford

+1

graphicconception

This is obviously not going to be a zero-cost exercise and CEI are not even the focus of the exercise.
Will CEI be able to claim expenses?

Mark T

Likely no, unless they can prove prosecutorial misconduct. Even then, I don’t know…

Hugs

Does that mean that owning an AG can be compared to having some WMD? Dead by legal expenses?

3¢worth

It’s been cold up here in Canada (Toronto) for the past 10 days or so. Please tell me that I’ve been hibernating for the past 356 days and it’s now April 1st, 2017. This attorney general should be impeached for this move – why did western nations expend copious amounts of blood and treasure fighting the Axis in WW II and then fight the Cold War for 45 years against world-wide Communism? If this action succeeds against the Competitive Enterprise Institute then it will just be the beginning, or the beginning of the end of free speech. In Canada since the 1970’s, the wrong kind of speech often got the attention of Human Rights Commissions (HRC’s) – one in every province & territory. This included charging conservative commentator Ezra Levant in 2008 for reprinting the “Danish Cartoons” of the Prophet Mohammed and Mark Steyn for his article on Islam in Macleans magazine. The HRC’s were reined in somewhat by the previous Conservative federal government, but now the Liberals are back in power with Trudeau Jr, who knows. I bet every one of these Kangeroo Courts will be chomping at the bit in anticipation of some action against “Deniers” in Canada. Dr. Goebbels is probably applauding this move somewhere down in the depths of Hell along with his boss and their former arch-enemy, Stalin..

This is an attack not only on freedom of speech but also an attack on Science itself. This McCarthy style attack and abuse of power strike at the fundamental free exchange of ideas that Science represents and by which Science develops.

I’m advising my friends and relatives to think twice before taking a holiday in the “Land of the Free”.

Hlaford

They’ll give up anyway. The visa regime is about to toughen for travellers between USA and EU.
Besides, flying there violates mother Gaia with tons of anti-American poison, and those who do that risk being forcibly deported to Gul… re-education facility.

Evan Jones

Gul-AG?

Why 1997 to 2007? Why not the more recent years?

Gaz

Because from 2007 onwards would indicate there hasn’t been any warming.

Ed Zuiderwijk

These people have no shame.

Evan Jones

I suppose not. But one must not forget that this is a sword that cuts both ways.

Steamboat McGoo

On the (potential) bright side: Gore et al are going to be tasting the foot they just shoved deeply into their collective mouths for a looooog time!

Coeur de Lion

Counter sue

Steve Fraser

CEI is not being sued.

Hlaford

I’m not surprised.
North America is excessively left for over a decade now. It comes with consequences.
You are in a position to vote for a Marxist feminist, and if that option wins, well, your imagination is not colourful enough to imagine what follows.

Amatør1

Frankly, I don’t quite understand why this behaviour is called un-American.

Bruce Cobb

Does not coincide with basic American principles of freedom and democracy.

Jtom

A subpoena must be based on a theory that a specific law has been violated, and evidence of that violation can be obtained by a search. The subpoena must cite where the search is to be, and what items are being looked for. As far as I can see, it is ExxonMobil who is accused of violating the law, not CEI. Any communications between ExxonMobil and CEI could be obtained solely from ExxonMobil. If those communications suggest a “conspiracy” with CEI, THEN they should get a subpoena for CEI’s internal documents.
That the government is seeking additional work product from CEI at this point indicates a gross over-reach and a fishing expedition, or an attempt to shut down an organization that does not agree with the government’s position on climate.
Just imagine that your neighbor is accused of breaking the law, and a subpoena is sought to search YOUR house based on your having talked to your neighbor. No. They must have a theory as to what role you played, and specifically what they are looking for. Without such requirements, our Constitutionally protected rights against UNREASONABLE searches would be meaningless.

You rightfully raise the underlying question here: Who is telling the truth and who is lying? Since these legal proceedings are located in the USA, there must be US laws on the books claiming the truth of climate change. Where are they to be found? Is the premise that EPA science is legal authority binding all US citizens and corporations? If so, how did that happen?

Peter Miller

Perhaps this legal bully would like to subpoena Michael Mann to release all his emails etc of the past 10 years as well?
Balance in the climate debate? Yeah right, but not in our lifetime or in our real world.

Chris Hanley

The process is the punishment.

MarkW

Lawfare

londo

This and other such events in the US has made to wonder, what was that 2nd amendment really for, shooting clay pigeons? What atrocity does the government need to commit to get people to defend the constitution (you know, from enemies, foreign and domestic), put people behind bars for life on bullshit charges? No, they are already doing that. Perhaps the need to come home to people and just execute their families. Perhaps that is the limit. I guess they will most probably just ruin people. Back in the days when the common folks didn’t really have anything you had to kill them and their loved ones to really hurt them. Today, you don’t have to do that. Just take their stuff and means of supporting themselves.
The USA was the only free country in the entire world. Its is really sad to see it go without a fight.

Perhaps this is just an attack on free speech but I doubt that is the end goal. Climate Change is big business and big profits can be made by the mere filing of the subpoena. E-Gore’s gang of government paid attorneys have unlimited tax payer funds to waste, non-profits don’t. The accusations will feed the need for action to save the planet at any costs. Politicians will not argue against it and send more money. Private donations will increase. They don’t have to win to win!! Privilege Laws protect government employees from most litigation, perhaps those laws should be looked at again.

jorgekafkazar

Fascism, plain and simple–always lurking within Socialism.

Dave

To: Mr Gore and all AG friends: when do we burn the books?

Zenreverend

lol and on that tack: Maybe the CEI should simply reply with the last 5 years’ records and state that they don’t keep anything older than that.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall (28 September 1868)

Gunga Din

Many have said something along those lines. “Give me liberty or give me death”. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. etc.
The form of Government inspired by and to implement the ideals laid out in The Declaration of Independence had the Bill of Rights as a brake on it’s authority.
The Bill of Rights has been eroded for multiple decades.
Gore, the judge and AG are using Government’s authority, not to protect individual rights but to preserve a cash cow.

Barbara

And this may be the biggest cash cow ever!
As I recall, some of the Founders thought that the country might last 200 years and now it’s about 40 years beyond that.

Clyde Spencer

Hans,
I thought that was Voltaire.

Patrick

Quite astonishing. Remember Nullius in verba. Science is ALL about testing theories, hypotheses and the work of others. Furthermore if the said theories and hypotheses do not replicate reality they are dismissed. Very frequently do dismissed theories return to be proven. Marshall’s work on heliocobacter pylori is one, Fred Hoyle’s theories on continuous element formation in stars is another as is (as we now know for sure only this year) his and Chandra Wickramasinghe’s much ridiculed ideas for panspermia. Unless and until there is continuous testing of theories – however unwarranted some might appear to be at some time, true science will be suppressed.
Why is it that in America (and elsewhere) today the motto of the Royal Society is apparently forgotten:
Nullius in verba (Take nobody’s word for it)?

mkelly

They should tell the AG that all that information was stored on Hillary’s server and may have been erased/deleted.

Zenreverend

+1

Sleepalot

“including private donor information” … there it is.
On it’s face, they’re implying that they want to know if Exxon gave CEI cash to “deny CC”, but what they really want is to find out who really does finance CEI.
They’re just using an Exxon investigation as a “false front”.

Sleepalot

Next stop, Heartland.

old construction worker

bingo, we have a winner

I would think some of us could go to jail by default. On the one hand, NOAA scientists are up in arms decrying that their freedom to work independently is at stake from producing internal emails and documents, and then on the other, advocates of global warming are demanding exhaustive documentation for 20 years ago. As if I could produce that. I am quite certain that I meet the criteria for being an expert in climate science. Further, in my opinion, which is free of financial gain, ( the many millions of dollars from Exxon has not materialized and if they did, I’d promptly find another country to live in) that AGW is wrong. It can be further argued that almost the entire group of AGW proponents, including the grant takers and lawyers, have a financial interest. I don’t. One way or the other. Over the years I have been solidly convinced that AGW is wrong. Will jail time or re education solve that problem for them? When is a legitimate scientific question criminal? All I’m asking is on what basis do they assert that co2 is driving the current warming period. And, how or what are the factors that drove the LIA or MWP different than today? Is that so hard? (skeptics don’t have to answer that, AGW people do) The argument that AGW people put forward that “settled” it was that ” it was local and not world wide. The evidence is otherwise. The question for AGW concerning the LIA and MWP remains.
In recent years it has been of interest that the climate record keeps being adjusted. How many times does it need adjusting? It was definitely adjusted when they threw away the original records. They said so. By how much, who knows? Only the fiche knows, good luck trying to get access to it.
AGW is a religious argument, not a scientific.

Mark

Only if the law determines such data retention can the data be asked for, so were the NGO under legal obligation to retain data for 20 years? If not then that data can not be legally demanded

That’s true. The problem is that it seems they are trying to apply these precedents retro actively.They are using fraud as the catch all for skeptics while they are ignoring any question, while asserting that AGW is a fact. We are guilty of fraud by fiat. Any trial will be a kangaroo court. By standing, in their view, in the way of saving the planet. Whatever that means.

sigmundb

Please tell me the subpoena is dated 1. of April.

Johann Wundersamer

The green parole :
My science is as bad as to be protected by the Attorney General !

TonyN

Seems that the enlightenment concept of a rational Federal democracy governed by written rules, is running into trouble as the language inevitably mutates.
Government by algorithm (or Al Goreithm?) = Goedel’s theorem in action.
To have sensible rule, better to have stuck with a real live human monarch, rather than hordes of Cymini Sectores (aka lawyers) …. who can be purchased.

The problem with this is that most Government officials – elected or job holders have almost no science knowledge at all. They believe that science uses consensus. They are informed everyday of that ‘fact’.
As with any case like this, when/if you get your day in court, you have to hit them hard with every single argument and device you have available.
no more no less.

Mark

On either side of the debate, there is no actual proof of AGW or no AGW. Exxon nor anyone else has any science that proves anything.
All the best oceanographers and atmospheric scientists cannot figure this out, because the science is not empirical in many aspects, so no “hidden proof” can exist.
Is Gore saying Exxon and co discovered what the IPCC could not, 10 years ago..
One one applies basic logical questioning, this mess is revealed as the nonsense it is

I am from OZ but this is ridiculous, time I think for the big guns in the legal industry to step forward and offer their services for free. If they do not and Hillary gets into power America is lost to the new world government.
This coming twelve months is the battle for American freedom, I hate to think of the future of the world with no real America, if the worst comes to the worst, Texas has an out clause and the revolution will start from there. Well paid legal gurus do something for your country, not just your bank balance.

AlexS

Typical American Leftist Lawfare.
Opression against people with different opinions.

mikewaite

Perhaps in a sense this is a welcome development in that the “phony war” is now over and the ruthless ambitions and malice of the Al Gore team are now laid bare for all to see, if they wish to.
It will be interesting to watch the reactions of ,say the BBC and the Guardian to this development. Do they stand up for freedom of belief and individual and corporate rights (within the law) or support suppression by any means available of thought deemed unacceptable to the US govt on a scientific subject still considered by many to be far from settled.
I fear that I already know the answer to that question.

Josh ‎@Cartoonsbyjosh made a tweet the other day about the “pause” turning 58 years old according to some old meteorological balloon data that seems to show around 58 years of pause. 58 years!
Josh was referring to a Tony Heller find and his post here: http://realclimatescience.com/2016/03/noaa-radiosonde-data-shows-no-warming-for-58-years/
No mention of the possibility of a coming carton on the find from Josh. And H/T to Scottish-Sceptic and his post on Josh here: http://scottishsceptic.co.uk/2016/04/05/the-58-year-old-pause/

ozspeaksup

yeah.this gem just goes to show..
just how…Exceptional uSSa is becoming
as to exactly what form of exceptional ?
lets just say it wouldnt be complimentary or prob printable
the biggest worry I have is our brain dead brown nosing pollies following slavishly on any “suggestions” by the clown in chief and his mil and other goons.
god or some deity help us all

Hlaford

You’ll need plenty of that in a Gul-AG

Johann Wundersamer

Western states are democratic, secular and tolerant –
– the people is the sovereign and elects it’s administration
– freedom of mind and speech is not to be questioned
– religions are tolerated, in no way they have to interfere with states administration or freedom of the people.
– science is judged by the natural physically real existing world – justice has none expertise in there.

Everybody feel free to contribute to and / or correct that list.
Regards – Hans

Moderators,
A post about Josh went into oblivion (not moderation). Josh?
[Don’t know specifics. Will look. .mod]

Bob boder

Why does everyone think that Exxon or any big corporation is against all the regulation and control that comes from the green movement. Regulation and government controls eliminate any possibility of competition from smaller companies and new viable technologies. This cements their position and eliminates the need for them to innovate to stay competitive. How much of a fight did the big insurance companies put up over Obamacare, zero they were all for it. When was the last time you saw an auto manufacturer complain about meeting fuel economy regulations or emissions regulation, never. All of these companies donate heavily to the politician that push these regulations, if the energy companies are on any side it’s the CAGW side.