Letter shows #ExxonKnew Attorneys General caught up in unlawful collusion

AG Letter Reveals #ExxonKnew AG Campaign about Defending Obama Climate Legacy

Washington, D.C. – On the heels of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) releasing the copy of the a secrecy pact between Democratic Attorneys General led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, obtained after a months-long fight with these AGs to keep it from the public, E&E Legal has posted a March 7th 2016 letter sent by Schneiderman and Vermont AG William Sorrell to other ideologically aligned AGs inviting them to join in using their law enforcement offices in an “informal coalition…to stem climate change and expand the availability and usage of renewable energy”.

The letter, also obtained under state open records laws, targets “Attorneys General who share this mission” of protecting and advancing “climate” policies, through “the formation of an Attorneys General climate change and energy coalition”.  This coalition’s members have launched investigations targeting industry and non-profit think tanks toward this end, under the guise of racketeering laws to promote this inherently political agenda.

This makes the AGs’ claims to “privilege” to keep their otherwise public records secret — grounded in that purported “Common Interest Agreement” (CIA) which plainly lacks the hallmarks such an agreement must have to be proper — not just implausible but patently unlawful.

The now infamous March 29 press conference among recipients of this letter and former Vice President and current “green” investor Al Gore immediately prompted questions about the actual intent of the campaign, particularly since the podium placard featured the president’s Clean Power Plan.

Indeed the very first of four sweeping, supposed common legal interests set forth in the purported CIA is “to compel or defend federal measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions.” “This letter makes inescapable the fact that the AGs’ goal was to defend and extend Obama’s environmental agenda,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal executive director. “That is a political cause, which the AGs seek to extend by improper means, circumventing the proper, democratic political process.”

“It is unprecedented to have the top state law enforcement officers waging a political war on behalf of the president at the cost of the First Amendment protections they are charged with upholding,” added E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow Chris Horner, “This letter lays bare that the purpose of their investigations was to launch a political campaign to silence critics of the Administration.”

E&E Legal intends to pursue all public records these AGs are trying to keep secret by this purported CIA, or secrecy pact drafted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. The group has already filed several lawsuits toward that end.

The AGs’ supporters responded to last week’s revelation of the terms of the purported CIA,insisting that “common interest agreements are common”. This is true: Common interest agreements are common; what the AGs entered into does not qualify as a common interest agreement; what the AGs entered into is not common.  It also therefore is not a shield to keep discussions of this abuse of their offices, which are otherwise public records, from the public.

Despite the claims that this agreement is routine, it is anything but.  As the New York Attorney General knows, and the highest court in New York just reaffirmed, the sheer breadth of the supposedly privileged areas of discussion, the lack of any litigation, the now-confirmed fact that few if any of the other states who signed this agreement ever intended to undertake so-called ‘investigations’ let alone pursue litigation, and the overtly political vs. legal nature of the campaign the document all reveal this agreement would never be accepted as legitimate by any court to hide the machinations of an overtly political campaign.

It was less than two months ago that New York’s highest court reaffirmed New York’s long-standing rule on common interest agreements in Ambac Assurance Corp.v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc, N.E.3d, 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 04439 (June 9, 2016), ruling that the doctrine “applies only where pending or reasonably anticipated litigation is involved.”  That, alone, informs anyone who reads the AGs’ document that it is inherently far too sweeping in its breadth and vagueness about what the common interests might be; its sweeping terms also betray the reality that there was no litigation they can point to as being reasonably anticipated among the parties.1

Instead, the AGs’ secrecy pact was drafted in anticipation of open records requests, which it aims to frustrate.  In fact, the Illinois OAG has already expressly claimed it as a reason the office cannot release public records sought by E&E Legal. These AGs are quite attentive to the document’s emphasis on only sharing discussions of their scheme with approved outside parties, stonewalling E&E Legal every step of the way since the first release, by Vermont’s OAG, led to terrific public blowback against the scheme.

Nonetheless, E&E Legal will continue to fight to make all public records relating to the AGs’ abusive scheme public.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.

1 Limitation to common legal interests. Courts addressing the common-interest doctrine frequently assess whether the interest being furthered was a “legal” interest (as opposed to, e.g., business or, here, policy/political), and have held that merely furthering other non-legal interests does not invoke the protections of the doctrine. Under Ambac, we see that in New York specifically the doctrine is limited to a common interest in pending or anticipated litigation as the legal interest.

-30-

Advertisements

79 thoughts on “Letter shows #ExxonKnew Attorneys General caught up in unlawful collusion

  1. ‘Letter shows #ExxonKnew Attorneys General caught up in unlawful collusion’
    Everyone knows laws don’t apply to Democrats.

    • Classic call Bobby.
      We are gonna get ya via The Rico Statutes and we are gonna use tactics that violate The Rico Statutes to do it.

    • “making up laws as they go”
      You mean like the EPA redefining a beneficial gas(CO2=pollution), even as it greens up the planet and massively increases crop yields?
      Photosynthesis before the ruling:
      CO2 + H2O + photons → [CH2O] + O2
      carbon dioxide + water + light energy → carbohydrate + oxygen
      Photosynthesis after the ruling:
      CO2 + H2O + photons → [CH2O] + O2
      pollution + water + light energy → carbohydrate + oxygen
      But wait, H2O is responsible for a much greater amount of the “greenhouse gas warming”.
      so applying this standard would mean that H2O=pollution also. Of course those making up the laws can identify anything they want as bad to regulate it or target any entity they want as bad for whatever reason to marginalize or destroy it.

  2. The problem is when elected officials and government employees break the law…nothing happens. Until the time comes when there is a process to lock their sorry butts up, nothing will change.

      • A federal grand jury would have to be empaneled by the DOJ. A state grand jury would have to be approved by the state AG. Who unfortunately is also the person who would be investigated.

      • If grand juries knew that they can initiate things on their own via a presentment whose original genesis is from English law and the need to go after corrupt public officials, if I recall correctly (IIRC), then our justice system wouldn’t necessarily be so politicized in favor of the elites. The 5th amendment to the U.S. Constitution still starts; “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury,…” however, IIRC there was a footnote in the 1940’s to the Federal Rules of Criminal Proceedings saying that presentments were obsolete. This footnote method of changing the Constitution works because law schools teach it and lawyers have to follow it. Also, IIRC, SCOTUS Justice Scalia in the early 1980’s commented that presentments were still valid. So, if grand jury members were informed that they could pursue their own reviews and make presentments maybe a few would do so. It would be interesting to see that happen. If nothing else listening to all the legal commentators babbling on with most probably trying to attack the grand jury members….

  3. I am truly amazed that this could take place in USA. I do hope that a case can be brought against these AG’s and that particularly New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman can be sentenced and locked up for what he has done so far. I don’t suppose that Loretta Lynch will take any action because she is probably like-minded.

    • John Peter,
      If one is not already a hard-core, leftard socialist progressive, then this is one more reason to hold one’s nose (as they deem necessary) and vote for Trump

      • Now I do not care for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as candidates for the Office of POTUS.
        That being said, I have no doubt that if President Trump proves himself to be in need of Impeachment and Removal by Congress, that there will be enough honest Congressional Republicans to join with a willing ethically-challenged Democratic Party members to make it happen.
        The same cannot be said of a President Hillary Clinton. The current crop of US Senate Democrats have shown themselves time and again to be dishonest, deceitful, and/or tolerant and accepting of others in their party to advance their political causes. Senate Democrats would give a President Hillary Clinton the Immunity Idol doll to stomp on the US constitution and rule of law, just as they have done for President Obama.
        Thus, Donald Trump is the only logical candidate to vote for by someone who values honesty and integrity of our political process.

    • JP, E&E looks to get sufficient evidence to get them charged federally under 18USC241. The problem is that they have to find a US DA willing to do so.

      • Ristvan, I’m glad you are commenting. Since there is no litigation right now, do you think they could be charged with attempting to to restrict Exxon-Mobil’s right of free speech? The law you refer to is a Federal law “18 USC Section 241” right? Isn’t that what you referring to? It makes it illegal to conspire to take away the rights of someone. Does that apply to corporations? This is a link to the code: https://www.justice.gov/crt/conspiracy-against-rights

      • AM, yes that is the criminal statute. AKA the KuKluxKlan law. There is also a civil suit equivalent, 48USC1983. For most legal purposes, corporations are ‘persons’ entitled to Bill of rights protections same as you. And remember, these AG’s also targeted about 100 other ‘conspiring to deny’ organizations, some of whom plainly practice First Amendment freedom of political speech. So it isn’t just Exxon.

      • And then there is barratry, if the laws even exists any more. Of course that is what many lawyers do every day for pay. So I suppose that makes it OK.

      • AM, the statute says “harm, threaten, or intimidate”. Defending against unlawful subpoenas under the Merchants of Doubt theory’ inflicts financial and reputational harm. Schneiderman explicitly said to the press that first amendment speech rights do not extend to fraud, meaning he is claiming Exxon engaged in fraudulent activity. There is a clear threat of RICO prosecution; this is explicit in UCS documents going back to the Scripps meeting in 2012 chaired by Naomi Oreskes and hosted by UCS.We know from FOI that UCS was very much in the planning loop for the AG’s actions and press conference. The AG’s press conference and actions based on this invitation letter are clearly intimidating Exxon from, for example, objecting to ‘green’ EPA policies, or unviable renewables. So the AG’s have tripped over all three tests in clearcut, documented ways.

    • That’s what I’m not getting. This is the sort of red-handed plain lettered outright villainy that I expected to never find. They state outright that the conference in which they announced plans to prosecute Exxon was for political purposes.
      If it wasn’t found in such an official manner, I wouldn’t believe it.

      • One way or another, this is going down in the history books.
        Tragedy and farce at the same time.
        I am confident that these people are rock-hard certain of their own
        righteousness, an excellent indicator of villainy.

      • joelobryan
        I know we’re probably using Google Translate to keep up with the Latin stuff, but I sincerely hope you are not implying in any shape or form that the military is responsible for “watching the watchers”, i.e., civilian government employees.
        It is expressly forbidden to do so.

      • Joelobryan
        Between you and “Bloke down the pub”, you have most of us using Google Translate to keep up with the cool Latin stuff.
        However, I sincerely hope you do not consider it the job of the military (Air Force) to “watch the watchers”, i.e.: the civilian government (of which AGs are a part).
        I would hope we all understand this is expressly forbidden by the constitution.
        In fact, citizens, with the help of a free press, are responsible for this function.

      • Javert,
        I have long since retired my military uniform.
        President Barack Obama thankfully was never my Commander-in-Chief.
        Yet I still will “defend the US constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” if the need arises.

      • joelobryan, I too had the privilege of serving in the USAF (1982-88), but I was a noncom (SSgt). My enlistment has long since expired, but the oath I took did not. At the time I never imagined the most dangerous enemy to our republic would be domestic and not foreign.
        Deus obedientia est tyrannis seditionem.

    • The answer is simple my friend, alii custodes (other guards).
      This is why we have separation of powers, and the power of impeachment.

    • Bloke down the pub
      August 9, 2016 at 10:43 am
      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      Clearly a different pub from the ones I know. 🙂
      SteveT

  4. Choreographed action to support Clinton campaign. Naked politics that will fail in court, They don’t care. Mission accomplished anyway. Will fade away after election.
    I follow politics and climate since the NFL is no longer a full contact sport.

    • Yes, it is a courageous People and their Constitution.
      Save that, no. Democrats are depending on the People to now be cowards.

  5. The administration in power controls the interpretation of laws. The people don’t matter anymore. We’re just along for the ride without any say in where it takes us. Instead of governing to the will of the people politicians are controlling us for their own agendas. Nothing will come of this.

    • The scope of Exxon affair is known but what about unknown parties who may have or are being affected by the same or similar tactics. And those who are afraid they might be next.

  6. This episode once again vividly demonstrates that the current incarnation of Democratic Party politicians cannot be trusted in positions of power and public trust.
    The 3 US military academy’s Honor Codes, from which I graduated from one (USAFA) in 1984, have a non-tolerance of dishonest behavior principle as well as their core principles of not lying, cheating, or stealing. Getting expelled for tolerating an honor code violation is the same as the violation itself.
    At every level (local, state, federal), we now find Democrats showing themselves to be dishonest, deceitful, deceptive, and/or tolerating and accepting of others who do so in the name of their political causes… for political power.
    Even if you can find and name a Democrat politician who is not actively lying or being deceptive and he/she appears honest in their own dealings and pronouncements, Democrats are being tolerant and supportive of those in their party who blatantly are deceptive and proven liars. Just as the other Democrat state AGs that tolerated the illegal and unethical behavior of their fellow AG’s in the Common Interest Agreement, they all deserve and warrant being tossed out on their keisters by the voters, tarred and feathered by angry populace at their waste of hard earned tax money, and then put on a rail out of town and told never to return.
    Democrats at all levels must be expelled from political power. Tolerating their systemic deceptions and acceptance of lies by its senior leaders (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Elijah Cummings to name a few at the Federal level) must stop. The very foundations of our nation depend on returning to honor and ethics in our governments. Tolerance of the many many many lies in the pursuit of political power by the likes of Obama, Clinton, and Reid is rapidly eroding confidence in our government. They take the people of the US to be cowards. That we will not stand up and fight them. They are woefully wrong.
    Now some individual Republicans have the same ethical problems of dishonesty, the scale difference now between the two is enormous. While of course one can point to dishonest individuals in both political parties, it is the now systemic acceptance and tolerance of dishonesty by Democrats and the Democratic Party that is so utterly corrosive to our democracy and the rule of law.
    Next time you watch an Olympic Medal ceremony where the US has won a gold medal, they will play the national anthem as the flags are lowered and the podium trio stands in silence. Recite the anthem to yourself (US citizens here at WUWT of course), and then listen to the words and intonations of the last line of the first stanza of the Star Spangled Banner US anthem as it is played.
    “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
    Then ask yourself, “is that a Question mark?? Why????”
    http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/starspangledbanner.html
    In every version you will find online and printed… It is a question mark.
    Make it a statement! Throw out Democrats at every level of government and tell them their dishonesty and tolerance of those in their party will not be tolerated. Democrats pols everywhere now are depending on cowardice of the People.
    Tolerance by the People of the many, many lies of the Democratic Party is cowardice. If practiced by enough people for long enough, our nation is being destroyed by those lies and its tolerance… and will be destroyed.

    • There used to be a few such Democrats, such as Leiberman. But they were driven out of the party long ago.

    • Joel,
      Then ask yourself, “is that a Question mark?? Why????”
      It’s there because it’s the correct punctuation. If the verse is reduced to the essentials, It would be, “Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave… [location in question]…?

    • Joel,
      In addition all of us who entered the armed forces took the oath to “defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic” . Over the last eight years this Country has been run by those enemies of the Constitution.

    • Joel O’Bryan
      Ya gotta read the whole thing:
      The reason ther stanza has a question mark after it is because the line before asks a question:
      O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

      • O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
        O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

        I’ve never taken it as a question and always heard it as, “Look how that star-spangled banner does yet wave,” because The Flag was seen still waving after the night of battle, which was the inspiration for the song and the inspiring thing it communicated. There wasn’t any question that the Flag was still waving, or any doubt expressed indicating that we wouldn’t be~>become “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
        However current conditions do make it more of a question on both counts.

    • The question mark is there because the verse is asking the question, “…does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave…?”. I think your point is still valid, and very relevant. Just sayin’…

  7. If there was one time in history when decent people couldn’t vote for a party, this is now.
    Those “Republican” who vote for Clinton defined themselves. Things are clearer now. Good riddance to “ex-GOP gubernatorial candidate Whitman”.

      • AM, definitely not the pothead or the crook. Waiting to see whether the buffoon can learn to be less of one. So far, not looking too good. But if the buffoon actually wants to win, there is still hope and time.

      • Andy, see my response to Phil R above.
        Voting for Trump is the only ethical and logical choice, as Johnson or Stein has not a chance of receiving any electoral college votes. A vote for Hillary is a vote for dishonor and destruction of democracy.

      • BTW, it is quite conceivable that the chronic liar and crook Hillary could be denied the electoral college votes of Vermont if enough Greenies there vote for Jill Stein. So on that point, Go Green!!

      • It is still possible the pay to play Clinton Foundation stuff while she was Sec State could undo her. Wikileaks has more stuff to be released. And if it was Russian hackers like apparrently the DNC, they got her private emails also. It only takes a few clear enough time stamped email chains to get her indicted for political corruption. Blogoyevich is serving 14 years for pay to play as IL gov.

      • Look at the “thread” of Greenpeace that runs through Vermont and/or connections to Greenpeace.

      • I believe our only hope is that Trump will populate his cabinet, and federal agencies with grounded, competent people with integrity. He can be a buffoon as long as he surrounds himself with quality people. People who can objectively, and dispassionately assess the merits and veracity of available data / evidence and act in the best interests of the country / people.

  8. Potentiated, that’s the word. We’ve gotten used to corrupt government. It’s background noise.

  9. It’s a problem when the ambulance chasers bring along the power of the State with them and runs over science and citizens in the haste.

  10. Above all, please do vote! You are also voting for senate and house seats, and the state and local governments. All important to keep balance in government. At the presidential level you are also voting for one to three supreme court justices.

  11. I usually stay out of another countries politics as I have American friends who are Democrats and those who are Republican and I respect their rights. I do point out that the crucial and possible corrupting wide ranging result in “winning” could be the right to appoint to the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
    Appointment of a political lackey, would be extremely dangerous to the checks and balances within the US Constitution and the independence and stability that is America as a world power.
    That will be the ultimate measure of any would be President. what would they do to guarantee the independence of the Judiciary and from that decision, the ongoing right of the American population to freedom of choice, a voice on vital issues and not be censored or silenced when speaking out..
    Your vote may be vital to the continuation of those rights, rather than diminution of rights under your Constitution.
    I would urge a vote to protect those values.
    Many citizens worldwide wish they had those rights enshrined in such a time tested powerful document (a statement of who we are and what are our rights) as you have, but may lose, if bad voter choices are made.

  12. I see my last reply probably hit moderation, I do hope it is o.k. even though I am an outsider, looking into the issues.

  13. Regarding the USC tit. 18. sect. 241 : The elements of the crime/law do not require an additional overt act (actual investigations to stifle legitimate political speech or business activity) in furtherance of the conspiracy to have committed the crime of conspiracy to violate a person’s civil rights:
    “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
    And, since those AGs are officers of the court and state officials acting under the color of law there is also sec. 242, USC:
    “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
    (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 696; Pub. L. 90–284, title I, § 103(b), Apr. 11, 1968, 82 Stat. 75; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7019, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4396; Pub. L. 103–322, title VI, § 60006(b), title XXXII, §§ 320103(b), 320201(b), title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1970, 2109, 2113, 2147; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, §§ 604(b)(14)(B), 607(a), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3507, 3511.)”
    I’m sure Barack’s DOJ will jump right on this once they finish up with the ATF gun smuggling and related deaths and the IRS suppression of political organizations, among other administration escapades.

  14. Nothing the Attornys General aimed to was realized – so no legal action is required.

  15. The “Common Interest Agreement ” were dated well after the March 29 AG’s For Clean Power lobby conference /witch hunt .
    Given these people are lawyers it seems fairly obvious they would have are their paper work done before lobbying for renewables and saber rattling . Who in their respective States was aware and authorized the clique of Democrat AG’s to act as lobbyist’s for any industry let alone one that has taken $Billions of tax payer charity and often after a few years promptly goes bankrupt . Shouldn’t the AG’s be looking into the tax payer rip off artists instead of lobbying for them ?
    Why would they target one company in the energy industry ? Is this routine out of the Sue – Settle playbook ?
    How would shareholders of one energy company view a set up on a sue -settle ? How would the entire energy sector react to being bullied by an orchestrated sue -settle ? Now that would be grounds for shareholders to revolt and a RICO lawsuit big enough to clean out those State treasuries .
    Which green activists were involved in meetings and calls to the AG clique ? Who got AL Gore involved in the lobby group ? He just appeared out of thin air with some AG’s ?
    How many, if any, “Common Interest Agreements ” have these AG’s signed prior to this one ? If any, were they retroactively signed ?
    The “Common Interest Agreement ” clearly lays out their motives . Lobby for “renewables ” , go after those that won’t play ball and pump the tires of the Paris Agreement . Like that’s their job ?
    Did they register as lobbyist’s ?
    Considering the involved AG’s were essentially all Democrats what outside influence set this up ?
    Were party fund raisers involved ?
    To many people involved to keep this hidden and the paper thin document to try and stop getting to the bottom of it will not do . At least the other AG’s called BS on it .

Comments are closed.