Activists admit at forum they’ve been working with NY AG on climate RICO campaign for over a year

From Energy in Depth’s Katie Brown

At a forum on Wednesday hosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, several climate activists including Naomi Oreskes and representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists admitted that they have been meeting with the state Attorneys General launching climate RICO investigations for over a year.

The fact that the AGs have been meeting with Oreskes is pretty telling considering that for years she has been spearheading the effort to find a way to prosecute oil companies under RICO laws. She’s author of Merchants of Doubt, a book published in 2010 that attempts to link ExxonMobil to tobacco companies. She’s also on the board of the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI), the group that organized the now infamous 2012 La Jolla Conference with the Union of Concerned Scientists at which activists brainstormed ways they could launch racketeering investigations into ExxonMobil. The New York Times even credits Oreskes with conceiving the conference.

At the question and answer session of the forum, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) asked Oreskes “Have any of you had interactions with the any of the AGs?”

Oreskes replied,

“Yes, thank you. Thank you for your work. I have. I was invited about a year or so ago to New York to speak to the staff of the New York Attorney Generals’ office mostly about the work we did in Merchant of Doubt … And I also participated a few weeks ago in a meeting in Boston with some colleagues from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which also involved the staff of Attorney Generals offices from a number of states who came to listen to again factual presentations about climate science, history of climate disinformation and also a presentation by Sharon Eubanks who had led the US Department of justice prosecution of tobacco industry under the RICO statues.” (emphasis added)

Note that Oreskes mentioned she was joined by Sharon Eubanks for the AG meeting in Boston – this is interesting because she directed the Department of Justice’s tobacco litigation effort in the 1990s. Eubanks also attended the 2012 La Jolla Conference as well as a closed-door January 2016 meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices, at which activists brainstormed ways they could establish “in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.” This meeting in Boston is especially significant because, as Energy In Depth noted previously, Attorney General Maura Healey openly admitted that she had already determined Exxon was guilty before she even began investigating the company.

After hearing from Oreskes, Rep. Tonko then turned to Kathy Mulvey of the Union of Concerned Scientists who replied,

“Yes, UCS has also been involved in providing information to attorneys general who are moving into the issue on whether these companies violated any state laws in providing this information to shareholders and the public.  Our interest is really in ensuring they have access to the best science on which to base any actions and also documenting the responsibilities of these companies in terms of their emissions and their role in providing this information. So our chief scientist Peter Frumhoff who’s actually here with me as well and he has briefed a number of the AGs and he co-convened a session with the Harvard law school back in April that was attended by staff (inaudible) many of the AGs (inaudible).” (emphasis added)

Of course the only reason we know that UCS’ Peter Frumhoff briefed the AGs ahead of their March 29 press conference with Al Gore is because several batches of FOIA’d emails revealing that fact were recently made available to the public. These emails not only showed that activists were secretly meeting with the AGs launching investigations, but that both parties were actively trying to hide their meetings through Common Interests Agreements and stonewalling the press. In fact Lem Srolovic of the New York Attorney General’s Office told activist Matt Pawa not to tell a Wall Street Journal reporter that he had briefed the AGs ahead of their press conference: “My ask is if you speak to the reporter,” Srolovic said, “to not confirm that you attended or otherwise discuss the event.”

After their secret was revealed however, activists went into full damage control-mode and attempted to claim they had been open the whole time and “there’s nothing hidden here.” This forum’s question and answer sessions is undoubtedly part of that attempt to shift the story.

But if there’s “nothing hidden” why were activists penning Common Interest Agreements and telling each other not to speak to the press? And if there’s “nothing hidden” why are they happy to respond to this forum but not the House Science Chairman Smith’s requests?

Transcript of Progressive Caucus Hearing Exchange on Climate Activists Briefing State AGs

Tonko: If indeed a fossil based industry has conducted themselves in a disingenuous manner, and moved along with a misinformation campaign; if indeed that’s a fact, that is truly regrettable because what we need to do is make certain that we’re sound stewards of the environment; that we pass to the next generations an environment that is as clean if not cleaner than that which we inherited. And right now one of the issues in New York is the move by Science (inaudible) to bring our Attorney General before the committee because of his review of the allegations. Now instead of focusing on allegations, they’re bringing in the AGs in a manner that would review them for their actions.  And I’m wondering if any of you have been involved in any of the states where the AGs are now the target for reviewing allegations that obviously respond to the needs of the different consuming public.

Have any of you had interactions with the any of the AGs?

Naomi Oreskes: Yes, thank you. Thank you for your work. I have. I was invited about a year or so ago to New York to speak to the staff of the New York Attorney Generals’ office mostly about the work we did in Merchant of Doubt – the history of misinformation and what our findings were. It was a fact based presentation. And I also participated a few weeks ago in a meeting in Boston with some colleagues from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which also involved the staff of Attorney Generals offices from a number of states who came to listen to again factual presentations about climate science, history of climate disinformation and also a presentation by Sharon Eubanks who had led the US Department of justice prosecution of tobacco industry under the RICO statues.

Tonko: Kathy? Ms. Mulvey?

Kathy Mulvey: Yes, UCS has also been involved in providing information to attorneys general who are moving into the issue on whether these companies violated any state laws in providing this information to shareholders and the public.  Our interest is really in ensuring they have access to the best science on which to base any actions and also documenting the responsibilities of these companies in terms of their emissions and their role in providing this information. So our chief scientist Peter Frumhoff who’s actually here with me as well and he has briefed a number of the AGs and he co-convened a session with the Harvard law school back in April that was attended by staff (inaudible) many of the AGs (inaudible).

Tonko: I find that very encouraging. Yes, Ms. Lamb.

Natasha Lamb: As I mentioned in my testimony, I have personally not been in touch with the AGs but the report that we negotiated has certainly been an important part of their investigation.

Tonko: That’s great, thank you. Mr. Garvey?

Ed Garvey: I have been contacted by the State of New York AG office (inaudible)

Tonko: Thank you. It seems as though that reinforcement is important so we can go forward with every bit of truth exposed and information, not misinformation, to guide us through. So I thank you for that.

 

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71 thoughts on “Activists admit at forum they’ve been working with NY AG on climate RICO campaign for over a year

    • I submit they have the ammo to do so.

      For those who didn’t have the patience to slog all the way through NY AG Schneiderman’s March 29th hour-long press conference where Al Gore occupied a large portion of it, Gore name-dropped Oreskes in the Q&A session at the end, 53:23 point here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd4Udhnha2A&t=3203

      As I pointed out in my 4/15 A.T. article ( http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/04/gores_ricostyle_prosecution_of_global_warming_skeptics.html ), that name-drop is the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to who actually appears to be doing the racketeering in this issue. With the help of Washington Examiner columnist / WUWT contributor Ron Arnold, I additionally detailed ( http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=4024 ) how Oreskes is enslaved to a particular set of so-called leaked industry memos which are NOT actually what she, Al Gore and global warming alarmist book author Ross Gelbspan portray them to be.

    • This is the money quote:

      “Eubanks also attended the 2012 La Jolla Conference as well as a closed-door January 2016 meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices, at which activists brainstormed ways they could establish “in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.”

      The irony is as blinding as the stupidity since the Rockefeller family founded Exxon as Standard Oil. They were known as “robber barons” back then. I guess by creating the League of Nations after WW1 and the UN after WW2 (which in turn led to the IPCC), they are still in the robber baron game.

  1. So, the “Congressional Progressive Caucus” had a meeting where where everybody kissed each others “Green” [pruned] ?

  2. In the article heading you say “working with”. I think “CONSPIRING with” would be more appropriate.

    • And I also participated a few weeks ago in a meeting in Boston with some colleagues from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which also involved the staff of Attorney Generals offices from a number of states who came to listen to again factual presentations about climate science, history of climate disinformation

      simply seeking information. They wanted to get the climate disinformation first hand and see how it was done.

    • Yes, conspiring, I notice the WUWT headlines as they appear on my Facebook often appear to support the CAGW agenda, unless one opens and reads the story. Is this intentional by Facebook?
      Anthony, might want get the skeptic viewpoint in the top page to make sure the right message gets out.

  3. Let’s reverse this. Imagine during George Bush’s administration it leaked that lobbyists for oil companies had participated in regulatory discussions regarding drilling. The hypocrisy is stunning.
    Secondly, why isn’t this plain and simple evidence of “conspiracy”, the very thing they are objecting to by their opponents?

    • John, she doesn’t need to drive a car in Boston. The T takes you anywhere that any progressive could possibly want to go. Heating her home? In the Boston area? She doesn’t need to heat her home or office in the winter and neither needs air conditioning in the Boston summer. She can thank the mild Northern California-like climate for these blessings. Flying? Why just fire up the trusty old broom.

      If you believe any of this I have a deal for you on the Zakim Bridge.

      • The first couple seem kind of suspicious to me, but I’ve never been to Boston so what do I know.

        The Broom? Ya, I could see her on one.

  4. It would appear that the “activists” are the ones who should be facing RICO charges – collusion, lies, misinformation, obtaining money by deception…….

    • So now the EU is going to mandate low power toasters, kettles and hair dryers all in a misguided attempt to save electricity. But of course they could not announce this ahead of the brexit vote, or there would have been a stampede for the exit.

      These new “low power appliances” are similar to low flow toilets. Each flush saves water, but you have to flush it 3 times to actually get it to work. And over time, the plumbing clogs up because the pipes were never engineered to operate with low flow.

      What started out as a good idea, the “common market” has been corrupted by the bureaucrats into a way of controlling every aspect of people’s lives, without any means to remove them, no matter how stupid the regulations.

      Regulation without representation is tyranny.

      • The big problem with many of these EU mandated efficiency rules is that they do absolutely nothing to improve energy efficiency. A low-flow toilet or low heat hair dryer MIGHT do the job using less water or power, but boiling a cup of water or toasting a slice of bread will always require a set amount of energy. Reducing the Wattage of an appliance in these cases just increases the time it takes to do so, ad allows for more wastage from heat dissipation. A slower Toaster or Kettle would in actuality require more real energy (watt/secs).

        The sad thing is, REAL efficiency improvements will come about regardless of these mandates, as manufactures work to improve their products. Better insulation, more energy efficient heating coils, and other improvements have come to nearly all appliances without the EU making demands.

  5. These people are actively trying to turn the US into Venezuela. There was an old joke during the cold war that, if the Soviets took over the Sahara, in 50 years there would be a shortage of sand. It didn’t take that long in Venezuela.

  6. Dr. Roy has a post about Earth’s atmosphere and its lack of cooperation with the agenda.
    His interest is whether or not 2016 will be the warmest or not.

  7. Natasha Lamb: As I mentioned … the report that we negotiated

    Since when the #$&%^((*& does one “negotiate” a report. That sounds like an effort to fabricate evidence.

    Senator Cruz should pull them all into a hearing, he clearly has the authority since they are dealing with commercial interests that cross state lines. I can hear them trying to invoke the 5th, and having the Chairman remind them that the 5th offers them no protection in a Congressional proceeding, only in a criminal investigation.

      • But by doing that she created a very clear record that can be used against her in a civil proceeding, where it is 1: Already established through the record, (repeated claims), that there was a preponderance of evidence that she was acting in a fashion the violated statutory limits of her power, and 2: If she was acting outside the authority granted under law then she can be held accountable in a civil proceeding. It’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t.

  8. Kathy Mulvey from the “Union of Concerned Scientists” has some serious science creds… she earned a B.A. in English and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Our favorite dog member of the UCS has comparable scientific credentials.

  9. “Merchants of Doubt” is listed as a scientific reference in the RICO20 letter.

    One such tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation ofcorporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. We are familiar with the actions of these organizations – which have been extensively chronicled in peer-reviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in several recent books: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants ofDoubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010) – in large part because they have sought to undermine our efforts to conduct scientific research on the risks ofclimate change. We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

    Note that only Brulle, 2013 is “peer reviewed academic research”. The rest are not, but are clearly being treated as such.

  10. At a forum on Wednesday hosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, several climate activists including Naomi Oreskes and representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists admitted boasted that they have been meeting with the state Attorneys General launching climate RICO investigations for over a year.

    There, fixed.

  11. What does it take to get access to attorney generals and start colluding with them?

    • Money? Influence? Power?
      As if they’d have the time of day to say good morning to me. The house gets robbed repeatedly, family members get mugged and beaten, “oh that’s too bad”, doing 26 in a 25…. how could you!
      The AG are acting as if catastrophe has already happened, when in fact nothing. If it starts to get colder in the next few years, do you think some of these same groups that are doing this will be charged with anything?

    • Well as we’ve just seen, if those AGs are liberals… apparently all you need is to share their ideology

    • That’s what I was wondering. Can any common citizen with a grievance drop by for a chat with one of these state attorney yahoos? How do they justify what conspiracies they launch on a whim? Activists make unsubstantiated accusations that point to huge potential sums of money in litigation for the lawyer and politician friends of these guys and they’re all over it like flies on…

      • I believe that they will hear grievances, but only during the appointed period of the Festivus celebration.

  12. I have no problem with AGs talking to anyone they want. That is only a “conspiracy” in the literal sense. I have a problem with all of them (AGs and Oreskes and friends) trying to prosecute people they disagree with. In the case of tobacco, there was a direct harm to the people consuming their product (though the lawsuit and punishment were still wrong–warning labels on cigs is sufficient). In the case of climate change, ALL human activities lead to some sort of climate impact. If you want to charge Exxon for not being sufficiently alarmist in their SEC filings, you must also go after manufacturers of every product, after every electric utility, after all the car companies, after the airlines, after agriculture.
    They want to extend the “agreement” of the IPCC about causation to cover a claim that all policy is also beyond discussion. We are not allowed to talk about how much warming will actually occur, how much impact that will have to what sectors (are we supposed to believe Gore about 20 ft of sea level rise and respond to that?), and what policy at what cost should be the response. The claim of 97% consensus (false on its face) is assumed to lead directly to whatever draconian policies Oreskes and friends think should be implemented, with no discussion or pushback. But even IF IPCC were totally right about causation and even their forecasts, the response to this “fact” is not a given and needs to be discussed. There are many possible responses, there will be winners and losers. Everyone needs a voice. Their RICO approach is simply totalitarian.

    • They already have gone after the forest products industry, the auto industry and the electric utility industry. Oil as well in Canada and there is an indication that U.S. Marathon Oil is in their sights now.

    • Are you also alright with them NOT talking to whomever they dislike? They are supposed to be the AG’s of ALL the people. We always have this problem when elected or appointed individuals get on their high horse and think that they are going on crusade and only they know where that should start and stop. Meanwhile, real problems are left to rot because they don’t fit the agenda. These useless twits keep digging their constituents deeper and deeper into the hole trying to cover themselves in glory. The media help them by trumpeting the same lefty-eco crap without even a hint of critical analysis.
      There’s a lot of similarities between eco-left politicians and weathermen- neither are ever right!

    • See comments by ristvan in earlier postings, and the letter by Republican Attorneys General. As I noted at the time:

      This should leave some skid marks, although I bet not a peep will be heard from the MSM. I particularly liked their second point (AGs have aligned themselves with the target’s competition, references 7-10). Looks to be a major blunder to have had them on the same stage at the press conference. In effect the AGs have admitted their aim is to aid one segment of the energy market by suppressing a competing segment.

      It is actually quite a serious charge for a state Attorney General to use the office to promote one sector of an industry by disadvantaging the competition.

      Exxon probably won’t pursue this to the extent they should, but Alex Epstein might. I’d buy popcorn, but at the pace the courts deal with these issues (e.g., Mann vs Steyn), all the ingredients will have been banned for causing cancer long before I would get to enjoy it.

  13. The green AG’s should be very cautious about using RICO laws, as with their collustion with various lobbying groups are prima facie violations of RICO. Turnabout would be so very appropriate. Schneiderman for lead defendant?

  14. I, personally, don’t see the problem with the activists talking to the AGs. Our system is defined by the “right to petition the government for redress of grievances”. But hearing the activists complaints and acting on them are two different things. It is hard for me to imagine any of the AGs think fraud was committed. Yet they are willing to abuse their power to harass people and businesses on trumped up fraud charges. That’s outrageous. The AGs abusing their power is the problem.

    • Groty,
      The problem for the AGs is that they have specified RICO in their subpoenas. That means that they are constrained to the nine types of fraud called out in the various sections of that law:

      section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents);
      section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices);
      section 1341 (relating to mail fraud);
      section 1343 (relating to wire fraud);
      section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud);
      section 1351 (relating to fraud in foreign labor contracting);
      section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents);
      any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title); and
      fraud in the sale of securities.

      These are all contained within the definition of “racketeering activity”, which also implies there must be evidence of organised crime. Proving either of those elements needs to the AGs to show who was the “victim” of those crimes, and what damages they suffered.

      The AGs are constrained by their own actions. They cannot prosecute any other types of fraud that they might uncover using RICO. I assume their intent is to create enough alarm at the potential scale of potentially hidden criminal activity to justify their wholesale fishing expedition. Then in the long term, having “uncovered” evidence of other crimes, they can find other ways to prosecute those organisations later.

      As yet, there are no charges. And as Russell Cook indicates at the very start of these comments, it appears that the “evidence” that kicked of this entire investigation may be entirely fabricated as well.

  15. Sorry ‘off topic’, but Anthony and every one who sweats for this site, your work is priceless. Day in day, day out you never cease to come up with top quality science, commentary and background. The surface stations project alone is worth its weight in gold. Simply the best.

    • That reminds me that It has been a while since I donated to Anthony.

      Now it is done!

      While Governments are happy pursuing their own agendas for my money – I´m happy to once in a while give a little something to Anthony.

      I suggest that all those who enjoy this site should do the same!

  16. I wonder when the Eureka moment will be for the climate scaremongers:
    Oh My! We are the ones who are just like the tobacco industry!
    Our product is fear – the consequences are energy poverty – our benefits are good feelings about ourselves!

  17. Does anyone know if the Ed Garvey mentioned at the end of the transcript is the Madison, Wisconsin attorney and former head of the NFL Players’ Association?

  18. You need to know that there is no such thing as fossil fuel, a fossil has no biological component just mineral deposits. Likewise Dr Gold established that petroleum contains Helium which is not included in living things yet is a component in petroleum because it is a product of the breakdown of the iron making up the core structures of the planet below levels where living material was buried. These people are not altruistic just power hunger and money grubbing haters that are search and destroy political robots.

  19. EPA mistake – How many have been misled?

    At https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gwps.html the EPA erroneously asserts Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a measure of “effects on the Earth’s warming” with “Two key ways in which these [ghg] gases differ from each other are their ability to absorb energy (their “radiative efficiency”), and how long they stay in the atmosphere (also known as their “lifetime”).”

    The EPA calculation overlooks the fact that any effect the ghg might have on temperature is also integrated (accumulated) over the “lifetime” of the gas in the atmosphere so the effect of the duration in the atmosphere cancels out. Therefore GWP, as calculated by the EPA, is not a measure of the relative influence on average global temperature of ghgs.

    The influence on average global temperature of a ghg molecule depends on how many different wavelengths of EMR the molecule can absorb. Water vapor molecules can absorb hundreds in the wavelength range of terrestrial radiation compared to only one for CO2, 15 microns (at sea level conditions, pressure etc. broadening spreads this to about 14-16 microns with peak at 15).

    As a consequence non-condensing ghgs are insignificant compared to water vapor in influencing average global temperature.

    Search “globalclimatedrivers” to discover the cause of climate change (97% match since before 1900) and demonstration that significant influence from CO2 is not needed to explain the average global temperature trajectory.

  20. “Eubanks also attended the 2012 La Jolla Conference as well as a closed-door January 2016 meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices, at which activists brainstormed ways they could establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.”

    Strange, didn’t the Rockefeller’s until recently own Exxon and other oil interests?

    Fascinating how their name keeps popping up!

    Check my blog

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

  21. If there wasn’t a law against it at the time, it wasn’t a crime. Welcome to the United States of America.

  22. It is amazing how far gone, ethically speaking, North American Progressives are.
    These fools and bandits openly admitting to colluding in private to infringe the civil rights of fellow Americans.
    On party lines
    Without a moments doubt as to the sanity of their behaviour.

    Attorney General was once a serious and respected position.

    Now?
    Self admitted Oath Breaker.
    Violator of the very laws they swore to uphold.
    And fool, to consort with opinionated activists over points of fact and law.

    Goes a long way to improve my understanding as to how/why the US Democrats chose H.Clinton as their presidential candidate.

    This kind of contempt toward the citizen who pays the bills should not go unrewarded.

  23. This is pretty frightening when NGOs can team up with Government Officials to attack another group of Americans. I, as well as some of my friends, have been audited by the IRS 3 times during the Obama Administration. Coincidence? I doubt it. In the business world we have Anti-Trust laws to punish collusion. Similar laws should be written to prevent NGOs from colluding and corrupting government officials and institutions. Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. Environmentalists corrupt the legal system. The AGs should be looking into how these Wind and Solar Farms get such easy approval whereas Nuclear and Coal get near impossible to meet regulatory hurdles thrown in front of them.

  24. Vermont is now dragging it’s feet on FOI requests pertaining to investigations of possible collusion
    with environmental groups and some State AG’. Al Gore ‘s involvement with a lobby group AG’s For Clean Power are no coincident . Allegations of fraud and attempts to target those through blanket correspondence requests are pure and simple intimidation tactics . The AG’s involved are not supported by over a dozen AG’s who see through the silence science (SS) and free speech (FS) agenda . Promoting an industry while
    harassing its competitors for their own gain all while cashing government pay cheques and using their office titles as a club .
    Lawyers are well aware of when they are in a conflict of interest .

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