E&E Legal Wins Major Rulings in Two Separate Vermont Public Records Suits Involving AG's Climate RICO Crusade

For Immediate Release:

July 27, 2017Contact:



E&E Legal Wins Major Rulings in Two Separate Vermont Public Records Suits Involving AG’s Climate RICO Crusade

Washington, D.C. – The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) has two freedom of Information Act cases pending against the Vermont Attorney General’s Office for records relating to the notorious “climate-RICO” scheme among ideologically aligned, activist state AGs, first exposed by E&E Legal last April.

At least until it faced public embarrassment thanks to E&E Legal’s FOIA efforts, Vermont was the co-ringleader with New York’s Eric Schneiderman of the climate-RICO cabal, having sent a joint-letterhead recruiting letter to like-minded AGs on March 7, 2016, stating the objective was to “ensur[e] that the promises made in Paris become reality.” This referred to using law enforcement offices to impose a political agenda, one struck by going around the United States Senate in the form of the now-rejected Paris climate treaty.

Today, the group received favorable rulings in both suits.

Case #558: ‘Common Interest Agreement’

In the first case, “#558”, the Court ruled in E&E Legal’s favor, ordering release of records related to the now-infamous ‘Common Interest Agreement’ the Attorneys General signed in order to evade public record requests.

The Court rejected the notion that this agreement constituted a get out of jail free card for public record requests. The Vermont Attorney General had asked to categorically withhold all records. The Court rejected this saying “The [Common Interest] doctrine does not create a separate freestanding privilege.” Instead the Court ordered the Vermont Attorney General to produce all non-exempt information.

“This case demonstrates that efforts to evade public scrutiny will not be permitted by the courts,” said Matthew Hardin, E&E Legal lead attorney.  “It’s absurd that these Attorneys General actually thought they could hide their political dealings behind a pseudo-legal agreement.”

Case #349: Use of G-Mail Account

The Court also ruled in E&E Legal’s favor in the second case, “#349.”  The group sought records dated January 9, 2016 through February 29, 2016, and March 31, 2016 through April 17, inclusive, for the following four search terms:

  1. Pawa (referring to “climate lawyer” Matt Pawa, famous in this scheme for among other things saying that legislation takes too long so maybe it is time to use the courts to impose the climate agenda, an admission he later sought to walk back when exposed in records uncovered by E&E Legal)
  2. Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists’ activist who copped, in an email to a George Mason University professor as exposed by E&E Legal’s lawyers in separate litigation, Horner v. GMU, that they were in on the AGs’ scheme months before Schneiderman issued any subpoena)
  3. any  email address @ag.ny.gov
  4. any email address @democraticags.org

Today the Court said it was wading through responsive documents in this case produced for in camera review, but granted E&E Legal’s motion seeking to join former VT AG Bill Sorrell to the litigation and seek the above-described emails on his GMail account, which E&E Legal had demonstrated he also used but the state has to date refused to search for these purposes.

This has direct relationship to E&E Legal’s related New York FOIL cases activity in part because E&E Legal recently demonstrated that Schneiderman, too, used a GMail account for work-related correspondence (including his climate scheming), despite his office misleading the court there to believe otherwise (a stunt that is now subject of a motion to rehear, on the basis of that misleading advocacy).

Further, this should impact two requests E&E Legal recently sent to both VT and NYOAGs seeking correspondence between Sorrell and Schneiderman on the pair’s GMail accounts. The ‘no records’ denials both offices issued almost simultaneously indicate, with a curious similarity, that they both elected to not search those accounts, but also to be crafty about admitting this in case they could get away with it. E&E Legal administratively appealed Vermont’s denial and will shortly appeal New York’s.

“Climate activists in government have been shown to have widely relied on private e-mail accounts for years to conduct official business in the shadows, operating presumably free from the public’s right to know,” said Hardin.  “Today’s ruling goes a long way toward ensuring that transparency laws will be applied to private e-mail accounts as well, including in the most outrageous cases such as the climate-RICO scheming, and that this avenue of hiding  activities from the public is not acceptable.”

About EE Legal

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.


Copyright © 2017 Energy & Environment Legal Institute, All rights reserved.

E&E Legal is engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. As a member of the press, we periodically disseminate information that is news worthy.Our mailing address is:

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July 28, 2017 1:00 am

Interesting ruling on emails. I am amazed that such a rule was not already established.

Patrick MJD
July 28, 2017 1:21 am

I wonder if Trump had not won and Hilliary took office would this rulling had been made?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 28, 2017 1:47 pm

Given Trump’s problems with the courts, do you have any reason to think that? It shows a distinct lack of faith in the separation of powers to think that these courts will be ruling to please the President.
It seems to me as an outside observer that the separation of powers is standing up pretty well. The checks and balances imposed by the courts ruled against Obama as well as restricted what he could do. As a non USA citizen I confess to being quite impressed with the way the constitution seems to work there. It requires the courts to be independent, and so far they seem to be living up to that standard.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  seaice1
July 29, 2017 12:05 am

seaice1. They are independent of the president but far, far from independent of the Democrats and RINOS. Mueller has loaded his staff with Clinton Democrats so the probability that they will find things that are wrong is 100%, even if they have to base them on fake news.

Reply to  seaice1
July 29, 2017 6:24 am

The courts are independent. The only issue shows up in residual partisan judges from one administration trying to thwart the next. This ends up in the long slow appeals process culminating in the Supreme Court that has slow (lifetime) drift with the median presidential appointment and congress approval.
Democrats have repeatedly tried to use judicial activism with some success, but Presidential term limits were added after Roosevelt “packed the court” over 4 terms. We are still trying to recover from that “progressive” Great Leap Forward ….
So in the medium term of several years, it works ok. Very long term of decades it drifts with the culture. Very short term of one case and appeal, you can be hosed by an activist partisan judge… The result is lots of strategic choosing when, where, and what to appeal as an indirect “judge shopping”.
The Democrats are far more active at deliberate judicial bias than the Republicans, who have been whipped into subservience on appointments.

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
July 28, 2017 1:22 am

Not a huuuuge lot OT so, while the eagle legals are airborne:
To my mind this is yet another epic Buck Pass.
They should not be doing Corporate Manslaughter on Grenfell Council or the tenant association, they should be going after J Hansen, M Mann & A Gore (for starters) for *actual* manslaughter.

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
July 28, 2017 1:23 am

and fraud

Gerry, England
Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
July 29, 2017 4:23 am

Corporate manslaughter charges won’t succeed because everything was done correctly at Grenfell Tower. What they should find are the flaws in the legislation in a trail that ends with the EU.
The EU are primary in causing the cladding of the tower because of their global warming legislation. In creating that, the EU led the UK government to create the Climate Change Act 2008 which required councils to reduce co2 emissions. Housing was identified as a good place to do this and especially social housing. There were grants aplenty to fund the cladding of the tower block. So without this it would never have been done.
This leads us to the second part of the story – building regulations. In the UK the building regulations are controlled by the EU. Back in 1999 a tower block had a fire similar to this one and an investigation was carried out. The report said that materials used for cladding systems – that’s lots of bits put together – require fire testing instead of the current individual component tests. The Labour government agreed and the British Standard was changed. BUT the building regulations required the use of a lower European standard with approved components. Use of the higher British standard was optional. Of course the Labour government and minister John Prescott could have gone to the EU to put the case for changing the regulations to require cladding system approval but he was too busy signing the Kyoto agreement. His deputy could have done it in his stead and that person was John McDonnell, who has ironically labelled those responsible as ‘murderers’ – I wonder if he has a mirror?

Nigel S
Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
July 28, 2017 1:50 am

Something the new local MP Emma Dent Coad will be trying to keep quiet since she was a council appointed board member and director of Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation from 27 June 2008 to 31 October 2012.

Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
July 28, 2017 4:20 am

Oh they’ll be pretty desperate to find someone to scapegoat and hide the real reasons for the ignition source and means of disastrous propagation of that fire. We all know who killed those people in the Grenfell Tower. The Green Blob killed them with their insane carbon dioxide voodoo religion and the manslaughter was fully aided and abetted by the European Union law makers.

Nigel S
Reply to  cephus0
July 28, 2017 6:10 am

Perhaps the extra insulation (cost far exceeding any possible energy saving) was added to justify leaving EDC’s pet brutalist KCTMO tower blocks to remain unclad. She boasts on her website about saving part of the estate that includesTrellick Tower.
‘2006 to present: Elected local Councillor, Labour Group spokesperson for Housing, Mayoral candidate 2010. … Led successful campaign to save Goldfinger’s Edenham Way, part of the Cheltenham Estate that includes Trellick Tower, from demolition by the Council. Initiated A Vision for Edenham (LINK) project with local people and local architecture practice, to develop a vision for the empty site in front of Trellick Tower. Pursuing training for Associate RTPI qualification.’
Despite all this and her specialist architectural and planning knowledge she claims to have been merely a political appointee with no influence over KCTMO decisions.

July 28, 2017 1:34 am

Sounds to me these 16 attorney generals tried to pull legislative, executive and judiciary powers to themselves. If so, any other ruling would have diminished the Court.

July 28, 2017 2:57 am

Difficult to think of a less relevant common interest cause than a calculated average temperature of outside air. Surely not wot worth wasting democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
July 28, 2017 11:49 am

ERRONEOUSLY calculated SUPPOSEDLY average SUPPOSEDLY global SUPPOSEDLY annual temperature.
Irrespective of the merits of even attempting to calculate something so pointless they also got the basic mathematical calculations wrong, according to Nikolov and Zeller anyway (Holders inequality IIRC).

Reply to  The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
July 28, 2017 1:59 pm

To quote Anthony Watts on Nikolov and Zeller
“And I agree with Gavin, the paper itself is nonsense. Their work has been the same sort of “pressure rules the temperature of planetary atmospheres” nonsense that the irascible Doug Cotton pushes…under multiple fake names to try to get attention, here and elsewhere.”
posted sept 14 2016.

Reply to  The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
July 28, 2017 2:09 pm

My posts seem to be disappearing, or not appearing. I have attempted to post two messages here today, one praising the constitution of the USA and one quoting our host Anthony Watts. The first is labelled ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation” and the second seems to have vanished. Neither can be considered in the least against the objectives of this site.
Can someone reassure me that this is is a glitch?
[Yep, just a glitch. We’re rescuing valid comments from WP purgatory regularly now. But not sure why they’re ending up there to begin with. Just bear with us. If you don’t see your post and no note that it’s “awaiting moderation”, then it’s likely been trashed by WP and just needs your friendly neighborhood mod to swing in and save it. -mod]

Reply to  The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
July 28, 2017 4:05 pm

Your posts are disappearing because of global warming.
Is it now the official consensus in chemistry and physics (97% will do) that Boyle’s law is false and there is no relationship between pressure and temperature in a gas?

Reply to  The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
July 28, 2017 5:36 pm

Thank you mods for the reassurance.
Regarding temperature and pressure, I think the key factor is adiabatic, or isolated system. If I pressurize a gas it will heat, but it will then cool as it loses energy to the surroundings. After awhile my gas cylinder at 200 bar is the same temperature as the atmosphere around it at 1 bar. The pressure of 200 bar does not somehow cause the gas to maintain a higher temperature.

David Ball
Reply to  The Eternally Optimistic Reverend Badger.
July 29, 2017 10:28 am

Seaice, your glass jar is NOT representative of the atmosphere. Capiche?

Ewin Barnett
July 28, 2017 3:56 am

Another variation of “hide the decline”.

Nigel S
Reply to  Ewin Barnett
July 28, 2017 4:16 am

In that the court declined to allow them to hide.

July 28, 2017 3:57 am

I was curious about the funding for E&E Legal. link Some money may have come indirectly from the Koch Bros. That made me wonder what George Soros is up to.
Apparently George Soros bought shares in struggling coal companies. link
There’s also the story about how Al Gore became filthy rich by pumping up the climate hysteria. link
Trying to swing the economy over to renewable energy will ruin it. Enough time has gone by since the start of the hysteria that the evidence is in. link Spain is a great example of an ambitious renewable energy plan that was a complete disaster. link
No matter what happens to the economy and how the rest of us have to struggle, folks like George Soros and Al Gore will profit. They don’t care what happens to the rest of us and they are not our friends.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 28, 2017 4:42 am

I’m kind of surprised the question “do you ever use a non-government email account, personal cellphone, private postal box, or any other means of communication for communications regarding official duties?” isn’t standard on FOIA requests. We’ve seen this pattern so often that it’s clearly a widespread practice intended to evade the reach of FOIA provisions.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 28, 2017 9:01 am

Good point, Alan. But your question may not be restrictive enough. Possibly they could claim those non-governmental communications are personal, “just friendly chats” as a means of delay (these are usually lawyers, you know). They need to be asked to disclose any communications that are about matters under the purview of their job scope.

Reply to  oeman50
July 28, 2017 10:45 am

There’s this little concept called ‘perjury.’ I strongly suspect the AGs have already crossed that line.
“If you like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution.”

Reply to  oeman50
July 28, 2017 10:36 pm

FOIA requests are valid only to provide copies of existing documents. There are no provisions to force people or agencies to create documents, answer questions, or compile information.

July 28, 2017 5:34 am

good article

July 28, 2017 5:40 am

Soon the best place for hiding secrets will be the alarmstream media. Who’d actively listen to anyone paying for, reading and believing it?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
July 28, 2017 5:46 am

I have a friend that calls it the “lamestream” media.

Paul Penrose
July 28, 2017 5:44 am

Far too often the FOI laws are seen by bureaucrats as an obstacle to evade, not a duty to the taxpayers.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
July 28, 2017 6:24 am

The Obama Administration took that evasion tactic to the extreme and made it SOP with a manual and training programs.

July 28, 2017 6:05 am

The Vermont AG concealment efforts hardly fit with any global emergency and common public interest. It does fit with political gamesmanship. But as usual, only rational, thinking people see the glaring differences involved. The Press is absent again as usual.

J Mac
July 28, 2017 6:10 am

Excellent! Go Get ‘Em!

Dr Deanster
July 28, 2017 7:07 am

Color me not excited. One thing I’ve learned in 55 years of existing on United States portion of this rock, is that the politicos, in particular the leftist politicos, are NEVER punished for misdeeds.
Just look at D.C. We have a massive abuse of power within the intelligence community for political purposes, where unmasking and leaking are occurring to bring down an administration that was elected by the people …… and yet, there is no serious investigation!! ….. there are no politicos wetting their pants!!! ….. none of the guilty will pay a dime nor will they spend a second on f time in jail. All the while, a complicit media (who should be reclassified as a DNC PAC), obfuscates, lies, and misdirected everyone’s attention to a non-issue, the faux collusion between Trump and Russia.
Congrats E&E …. but really, this is all just academic. … no one will read about this corruption 10 years from now, because no one will be found guilty and made to pay.

South River Independent
Reply to  Dr Deanster
July 28, 2017 9:43 am

Unfortunately, you are correct Dr Deanster. American government is a confederation of numerous criminal enterprises at all levels.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Dr Deanster
July 28, 2017 12:18 pm

I can’t argue with this but then I am not an American. The big question to me is why do our education systems in the West produce such unquestioning Leftist ideology. The practice of Socialism has discredited itself everywhere it has taken root but it refuses to die! I am not afraid to admit that Capitalism is more means than End but Socialism is just a pathway to Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism. This is the fault of the education system in my opinion. Most teachers are really not that bright and apparently bot capable of objectively analyzing what they decide to believe and pass on!

Robert of Texas
Reply to  john harmsworth
July 28, 2017 12:40 pm

It is the difference between “what we want” and “How things actually work”. Young and ignorant people do not have the wisdom, nor do they want to believe older people who do have the wisdom about how the world really works. They are optimists and if fed stories about how everyone can be better off if we just learn to share… They just do not understand tha5t leaders always arise, and if given the chance they consolidate power and wealth, and an elite class surrounds them, and all the rest are worse off. This is founded in human nature (ugly though it is) and no amount of “wishing” can make it vanish.
Capitalism works because people are driven to succeed to become wealthy. It doesn’t work for everyone, but on enough people that some wealth trickles down. So it works because it is selfish (again an ugly truth about human nature).
Liberals tend to stock universities because they cannot or will not (or choose not) to compete in a capitalistic society. They want security more than they want wealth. So you end up with a lot of liberals who have never functioned successfully in the real world teaching young people how they think society should be – a recipe for a lot of failures. Once entrenched, liberals surround themselves with more liberals (again, basic human nature). After a while, if not shaken up, a university becomes an echo chamber of liked minded people who resent capitalism and couldn’t compete in it with their precious ideas of how it “ought” to work.
The same reason that old industries need to be allowed to fail to be replaced by new vibrant ones, we need to allow old schools to fail to be replaced by new ones. A set of old elite schools does no one a service, other than keep entrenching stronger and stronger delusional ideas.

Reply to  john harmsworth
July 29, 2017 6:39 am

Read your communist manifesto. It clearly states that the takeover of the schools by government is one of the enumerated goals. This is why The Left so strongly fight school vouchers and push teachers unions.
Much is explained by looking at Progressive actions though the lens of their founding document and guiding goals.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

July 28, 2017 8:43 am

So… can we get the EPA’s determination of CO2 being a pollutant thrown out based upon first amendment arguments? Only a believer in the Religion of Global Warming could possibly believe that CO2 is a pollutant…

Robert of Texas
Reply to  BC
July 28, 2017 12:28 pm

Sorry, the Federal Church of Climantology is protected in the Hidden Amendment 1.AGW-Section A:
Anything made up by a Liberal concerning Climate Change is automatically the 97% Consensus View and shall not be subject to any other Law, Provision, or Amendment. Further more it shall be a crime to argue or debate any conclusions therein, and logic shall not be applied

Bill v
July 28, 2017 11:30 am

Exactly who are the 16 AG’s mentioned in this article?

Reply to  Bill v
July 28, 2017 8:00 pm

One of the AGs is now a U.S. Senator representing California. Elected November 2016.

Reply to  Bill v
July 29, 2017 12:09 am

The common interest agreement discloses the names starting from page 3 with Michele Van Gelderen

Mark McNeil
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
July 29, 2017 7:39 pm

Curiously, I note there are no gmail accounts on the signature pages on the pdf link provided by jaakkokateenkorva

August 1, 2017 1:18 am

One small step that will be the beginning of the end for the eco fraud industrial complex. Nice to see the tables turned and all that door knocker eco warrior money going to pay some might big lawyer bills .
The sue /settle charade of the EPA/ lobbyist’s is about to be fully exposed for the crime it is .
Who bought the little clique of AG lobbyist’s anyway ?

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