CEI formally objects to climate Witch Hunt from Virgin Islands attorney general

By Andrew Restuccia

A lawyer representing the Competitive Enterprise Institute today formally objected to a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker that demands a decade’s worth of internal documents related to climate change.

“Your demand on CEI is offensive, it is un-American, it is unlawful, and it will not stand,” Andrew Grossman, a BakerHostetler lawyer representing CEI, said in a letter to Walker. “You can either withdraw it or expect to fight, because CEI strongly believes that this campaign to intimidate those who dissent from the official orthodoxy on climate change must be stopped.”

In a corresponding eight-pageobjection requesting that the D.C. Superior Court immediately withdraw the subpoena, Grossman argues that the subpoena violates CEI’s First Amendment privilege because it “constitutes an attempt to silence and intimidate, as well as retaliate against, speech espousing a particular viewpoint with which the Attorney General disagrees … ”

The objection continues, “The subpoena is invalid because the underlying investigation is pretextual, is being undertaken in bad faith, is intended as a fishing expedition, and is in support of an investigation of charges that have no likelihood of success.”

Grossman also calls the subpoena unduly burdensome and vague, while adding that the statutes of limitations have already expired under the racketeering law cited by Walker.

Walker issued the subpoena earlier this month as part of his ongoing investigation into whether ExxonMobil misled the public about what it knew about the threat of climate change.

To view online:


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April 20, 2016 10:32 am

..Typing boo boo ?? Should be ” eight-page objection ”
In a corresponding eight-pageobjection requesting that the D.C. Superior Court immediately withdraw the subpoena,
Great post though..

Bill Powers
Reply to  Marcus
April 20, 2016 12:47 pm

Thanks to the internet, 32.000 proof readers are working at McDonalds and collecting food stamps

Reply to  Bill Powers
April 20, 2016 4:33 pm

….Sorry billy, but I’m a retired Iron-worker !!

Don Penim
April 20, 2016 10:39 am

CEI link to the story and the letter they sent to Attorney General Walker is here

Reply to  Don Penim
April 20, 2016 3:25 pm

Thank you, Don.

Reply to  Don Penim
April 20, 2016 4:26 pm

Having followed and read the links – Wow. Well worth reading the full objections. The AG would be crazy to push forward. Brilliantly done.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 20, 2016 10:51 am

More important, CEI should launch an FOI request for all communications between the VI attorney general, and any other attorneys general or any environmental group on this issue, to determine whether any unlawful collusion occurred, or if applicable sunshine laws were violated.

Patrick B
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 20, 2016 11:50 am

My thought exactly. FOIA the VI government, not just the attorney general – he probably didn’t take action without some coordination with other VI officials. Then hit each State involved with the same FOIA request.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 20, 2016 12:04 pm

18USC241 makes it a crime to conspire to deprive anyone of any constitutional rights. Problem is, you need to persuade a US Distric Attorney to prosecute. But 42USC1985 makes it a civil offence. Forget FOIA. Sue their pants off and go for discovery a a conspiracy to deprive CEI of first Amendment rights. Pants include Oreskes, the other AG’s at NYC AG presser, Union of Concerned Scientists,…Sue personally as well as in official capacity on grounds of violating prosecutorial discretion. Sue for enough damages to fund CEI for 20 years. That would be about $120 million. Easy to put this on contingent fee, because easier than shooting fish in a barrel based on what is already known.

Reply to  ristvan
April 21, 2016 1:40 pm

+120 million

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 20, 2016 7:25 pm

Charges should be sought for misfeasance of office against this AG. A conviction would stop this kind of abuse.

April 20, 2016 10:54 am

That was the only reasonable response other than surrender–*****and the horse you rode in on!.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 20, 2016 12:15 pm

That should be “Thank You and the Horse You rode in on” 😉

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
April 20, 2016 12:15 pm

Or tell them to “Go Thank Yourself”

April 20, 2016 10:57 am

It’s in the D.C. courts? Ask Mark Steyn how that will turn out.

Reply to  Gary
April 20, 2016 11:56 am

Expect a ruling by 2020.

April 20, 2016 11:19 am

The Attorney General of…what?
I’m sure we’re going to see lawsuits from dog catchers and meter maids soon.

Reply to  CaligulaJones
April 20, 2016 11:47 am
Reply to  mikewaite
April 20, 2016 12:50 pm

I stand corrected. And saddened.

Reply to  mikewaite
April 20, 2016 2:31 pm

Its not as bad as you think. Think of this comment as a pep talk.
The magistrate only rejected a summary dismissal on standing. Magistrate judges deal only with procedural matters.
These children plaintiffs have incurred no actual harm since there has been no warming in their lifetimes. Fact. Injunctive relief for potential future harm is only available when that harm is at least ‘reasonably foreseeable’ but more likely ‘foreseeable by the preponderance of evidence’ (a higher standard where states and feds vary). That in no way can be shown from IPCC AR5. ECS uncertainty, cloud uncertainty, pause….
The beauty is, desperate warmunists are now resorting to courts where evidentiary standards have been long established. With the pause, no SLR acceleration, Arctic ice recovery, greening, the warmunists do not have sufficient evidence to ever prevail. And they are too dumb or transfixed to realize it. I personally urge them on. Cavalry versus machine guns… “into the valley of death rode the six hundred” sort of stuff.

Reply to  mikewaite
April 21, 2016 6:18 am

Socialists have long relied on the courts to give them what the legislatures will not.
It’s hardly surprising that they have gone to that well again.

Reply to  CaligulaJones
April 20, 2016 8:54 pm

… and most people can’t grasp why they don’t just show any evidence for AGW, instead of spending billions of dollars trying to stop people saying there isn’t any such evidence.
Most people don’t understand the complex brokerage fees and phony job salaries.

April 20, 2016 12:25 pm

Any competent judge would throw this out of court, and sanction the prosecutors for wasting the Court’s time.
This is the “Power of the State” trying to intimidate people into silence. There should be consequences for this illegality.

Reply to  TA
April 20, 2016 12:51 pm

“Any competent judge would throw this out of court”
As mentioned above re: Steyn and Washington courts: competency has little to do with it. More like “political acuity”…

Reply to  CaligulaJones
April 20, 2016 3:49 pm

Well, there are a few competent Federal Judges who do their jobs properly. Just ask Hillary Clinton about that. She has a couple of them pursuing her shenanighans right this very minute.
I get your point, though. It depends on who the Judge is as to what decision you get. The good part is, many times you can take a defeat in a hostile lower court to a higher court for relief.
It does take time, however, when high-priced, high-powered lawyers are involved. They can drag out anything.
The only problem for the high-powered lawyers is they are not able to prove their clients assertions that humans are doing things that cause the climate to change in a way it would not normally do, without human “intervention”.
They can’t bridge that gap. None of their clients can bridge that gap. All they have is handwaving, which won’t impress a Federal Judge. Well, won’t impress some Federal Judges.
The Courts are definitely the best place to air this issue. The Alarmists will be required to provide proof of their assertions before winning a favorable ruling, IMO. Since they have no proof, this will probably be fun for the skeptic spectators.

April 20, 2016 1:02 pm

This has all the earmarks of a SLAPP action intended “as a weapon to chill or silence speech.”
Last month’s DC Court of Appeals may apply here.

Science or Fiction
April 20, 2016 1:23 pm

From the:
Objections of Competitive Enterprise Institute to Subpoena Issued by United States Virgin Islands Office of Attorney General

“The subpoena demands materials in violation of CEI’s First Amendment privilege. “[C]ompelled disclosure of political affiliations and activities can impose just as substantial a burden on First Amendment rights as can direct regulation”
U.S. Attorneys and their offices are part of the Department of Justice. An attorney general is supposed to act safely within the constitution and protect the people against a violation of the constitution – and not to act in a manner which can be regarded as a violation of the constitution.
By law, each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President. By not taking immediate action to remove Attorney General Claude Earl Walker, and the other Attorney Generals colluding on this, the President accepts a lack of integrity among the Attorney Generals which may be regarded as a violation of the constitution. That violation has already happened – it happened when the attorney General issued that subpoena.

Dick F.
Reply to  Science or Fiction
April 20, 2016 1:41 pm

Quite right, of course. But at this point I have more faith in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy than I do in Obama’s willingness to act with integrity or to confine his actions within the limits established by the Constitution.

Retired Engineer Jim
Reply to  Science or Fiction
April 20, 2016 5:25 pm

I believe that you will find that State Attorneys General are not US Attorneys – they are state officers.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Retired Engineer Jim
April 20, 2016 9:26 pm

Thanks for correcting me on that. It, doesn’t make things much better, however. This is what The Virgin Island write at their home page:
“The Virgin Island Department of Justice will provide excellent, independent, and ethical legal services for the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to achieve justice and to assert, protect, and defend the rights of the people.”
The Attorney General of the U. S. Virgin Islands is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands. The role of the Attorney General is to act as the advocate for every resident of the Territory, asserting the rights of the residents under the laws of the Territory and the United States, and protecting them from those who would violate those rights.”

April 20, 2016 5:35 pm

I say bring it on.they will rue the day…….

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