No “Swamp” to See Here — EPA Quietly Hires ‘Climate RICO’ Ringleader

From the but, but, but David Legates! department

By CHRIS HORNER GAO

Can’t Spell The Swamp Without E-P-A

Following up on this gem posted earlier, the topic of properly using — or misusing — law enforcement powers is one of great interest to GAO, which also runs ClimateLitigationWatch.org. The importance of the issue has become increasingly obvious in the past, say, four years. It became more topical still with the announcement of former California Attorney General Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate. 

Expect more news in coming days and weeks on then-AG Harris’s actual role with the climate litigation industry, about which she has expressed some confusion. For now, bearing in mind the new demand for an Inspector General report on why career EPA lawyers aren’t left to run amok, harken back to the infamous March 29, 2016 press conference with investor Al Gore at which 17 state attorneys general offices were represented (including Harris’s) to announce that, given persistent democratic resistance to the “climate” agenda, AGs would use law enforcement to impose it anyway.

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey suggested that the reason the climate movement had been frustrated by the democratic process is that dark forces managed to confuse people, causing them “to misunderstand and misapprehend” the facts as she sees them. Those forces were now going to pay.

Literally. One participant, U.S. Virgin Islands AG Claude Earl Walker, wrote to his colleagues in advance of the pre-presser strategy session and hush-hush pre-briefing that, after extracting an $800 million settlement from Hess Oil, “We are interested in identifying other potential litigation targets.”

Visions of a climate settlement fund in the hundreds of billions of dollars, modeled after the tobacco settlement and again for distribution among political constituencies, danced in the AGs’ heads

Walker had just emerged from obscurity with a disgraceful torrent of subpoenas of over 100 groups and individuals in an effort to silence political opposition. As the Washington Times reported, “Mr. Walker has been the most aggressive member of AGs United for Clean Power, an unprecedented coalition of 17 attorneys general aimed at pursuing fraud accusations against Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies.”

These broad subpoenas covered years of, e.g., donor information of targeted non-profit organizations, most of which had first appeared on an environmentalist pressure group’s target list. See, e.g., Valerie Richardson, “Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker used Greenpeace list to target climate change skeptics: Listed names decry effort to silence climate change dissent.”

You see, he had to “make it clear …that we have to do something transformational” about climate change.  Mr. Walker also boasted of this in those same pre-meeting suggestions to the other AGs.

The press conference represented the high-water mark of a disastrous campaign to pursue political opposition to the climate agenda as racketeering, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. AGs fled the coalition as open records requests poured in to reveal how these institutions came to be used this way (the answers are very ugly). The first test case, in New York, began as the Climate Trial of the Century and fizzled out as an accounting dispute, ultimately blowing up on NY OAG, whose effort the defense “eviscerated”.

Walker himself was also in for a rough ride, though he was ultimately saved from sanctions for his behavior by the District of Columbia Courts.

Mr. Walker apparently finds DC quite hospitable, having relocated there where he has been quietly brought into the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a Deputy Director, apparently for Criminal Enforcement of all things.

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against EPA by GAO on behalf of the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates produced numerous items of interest regarding this development (while not answering how this came about), including the resume Mr. Walker used to score the position. CLW was rather surprised to see his top marquee career achievement.

That important national investigation Mr. Walker launched involved a supposed anti-racketeering investigation that subpoenaed parties for sharing the common trait of having opposed the “climate” political agenda. One which collapsed the moment it was subject to open-records scrutiny.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT: Launched important national environmental investigation” — New Environmental Protection Agency Enforcement attorney Claude Earl Walker, on the ill-fated 2016 ‘Climate RICO’

One target of Mr. Walker’s subpoenas was the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CEI responded to Walker’s subpoenas by noting, “You are entitled to your opinions on public policy, but you have no right to wield your power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with you.”

Another target of the subpoenas described them to a state court as “a pretextual use of law enforcement power to deter [it] from participating in ongoing public deliberations about climate change and to fish through decades of [its] documents with the hope of finding some ammunition to enhance Attorney General Walker’s position in the policy debate.”

When challenged, then-Attorney General Walker quickly withdrew this fusillade of subpoenas, though this apparent abuse of power became the subject of CEI’s move for sanctions. After which, someone decided he needs to be in a senior position of federal environmental law enforcement. If not, mind you, so much that such an otherwise very newsworthy hire warranted drawing attention to it.

One can understand the reticence, by whoever engineered this, to announce the hiring. It does make Swamp Denial a little more difficult.

Here’s to more government accountability and oversight.

28 thoughts on “No “Swamp” to See Here — EPA Quietly Hires ‘Climate RICO’ Ringleader

  1. If brought to President Trump’s attention, Walker’s career in the EPA will be short-lived. Trump does not suffer climate alarmists fools gladly.

    • I would hope so but he may have other preoccupations right now. I’m surprised he has not been more forceful in correcting the function of federal EPA.

      Having one of these corrupt DAs in there would certainly warrent some “executive actions”. Execute with prejudice !

      • Maybe Tucker will cover this clown and then TRUMP! will know about him.

        BTW, all you legal experts out there, could this cabal of 17 AGs be prosecuted under RICO? This appears tome to be an extortion plot for the purpose of political and financial gain. What is good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

  2. If these lawsuits against oil companies actually succeed and the companies have to pay hundreds of billions then the only way for them to pay would actually be for them to sell more oil.

    • Their point to is make money – they do not really care about the oil or fossil fuels in general or climate.

        • Well Yeah, they’re freaking politicians. They will tell you if you let them tax the air they will control the weather. If you give up your rights they will stop disease. If you just give me more money and more power your life will be better.

          Yeah. It’s an extremely rare person that goes into “public service” for public service.

          • Well, it’s even more obvious in South Africa. One senior member of the now-ruling ANC, is reported to have said “Well, I didn’t join the revolution to be poor…”.

    • The vindictive thing to do would be to close shop completely, stop selling oil entirely, then allow the country to survive on unreliable energy resources. We all know how well that will work.

      • No, that would just let the B*stards declare and “Emergency” and nationalize the industry. See Venezuela.

    • Stevek

      They don’t HAVE to sell more oil; they can sell the same oil at higher prices, and the consumers will ultimately pay.

      Even better (for them) than a carbon tax. The public won’t see it as a tax.

      • That is effectively what happened in many countries with smoking, the cigarettes got given a huge tax based on the health impost argument. The countries then continued to allow sale of slightly fewer cigarettes but at a huge gain to the government. Most governments spent token amounts of money on the health system which the tax was theoretically for and squandered the rest.

  3. Oct 2020 Issue: Scientific American: Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden
    We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now
    by the Editors
    Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly…
    In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it. ***The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.
    Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making. He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals…

    On the environment and climate change, Biden wants to spend $2 trillion on an emissions-free power sector by 2035, build energy-efficient structures and vehicles, push solar and wind power, establish research agencies to develop safe nuclear power and carbon capture technologies, and more. The investment will produce two million jobs for U.S. workers, his campaign claims, and the climate plan will be partly paid by eliminating Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. will receive 40 percent of these energy and infrastructure benefits…

    Although Trump and his allies have tried to create obstacles that prevent people from casting ballots safely in November, either by mail or in person, it is crucial that we surmount them and vote. It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.

    Editor’s Note (9/15/20): This article has been edited after its publication in the October 2020 issue of Scientific American to reflect recent reporting.
    This article was originally published with the title “From Fear to Hope” in Scientific American 323, 4, 12-13 (October 2020)…
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-american-endorses-joe-biden/

    • Scientific American has been a dish rag for more than forty years. It was that long ago that I cancelled my subscription in disgust. They might as well be the New York Times.

    • Who permitted “Woke” ideology to infiltrate scientific publications?

      Scientific American (sic) may be on the way out. I recently picked up a copy and was amazed at how thin and flimsy the magazine was. New Scientist has also undergone the same process.

      • Yeah, it used to be an 80+ page actual scientific review magazine. I remember early on reading about research into how the heart works. The group doing the research analyzed how the signal to beat started in one spot and then worked it’s way around the heart and to the upper ventricles. They showed mathematically that there is a small range of combination of length of the beat signal and its speed where any heart, even a totally healthy one, can go into fibrillation. Very interesting and up to date at the time. There had be a minor outbreak of high school and collegiate athletes having heart attacks for no reason. This research contributed greatly to developing current heart resuscitation techniques.

        Now it’s lucky to have 40 pages of propaganda. Not even worth picking up except for laughs.

    • Dont forget that Scientific American, under editor John Rennie, devoted an entire issue to mostly ad hominem attacks against Bjorn Lomborg … this was around year 2002.
      By 2000s, SciAm was a pale shadow of itself compared to 1970s & 1980s

  4. “Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.”
    It is a well hidden record.

    • I would pay good money to watch Biden take the science portion of the ACT test on camera.

      Of course, his staff cannot see the questions before hand, and he cannot use a teleprompter to answer.

      • Pillage Idiot, Biden without the question and answer sheet and a teleprompter? That would be “idiotic”.

      • It would be even more amusing to watch him take a test for a drivers license.

        (does he have one? can someone with apparent dementia get a drivers license in his state? when is/was his renewal date? would it be too mean to take away his current license?)

  5. The “excuse” for Harris from her spokesperson:

    …..but sure, let’s spend our time on whether, as Attorney General, Kamala “sued” vs. “investigated” Exxon.

    Sorry, but isn’t there an important decision to be made between “investigating” and “suing” steps?

    If you investigated but DIDN’T sue, isn’t that an significant statement?
    Like maybe there was no “there” there?

  6. “Massachusetts AG Maura Healey suggested that the reason the climate movement had been frustrated by the democratic process is that dark forces managed to confuse people, causing them “to misunderstand and misapprehend” the facts as she sees them. Those forces were now going to pay.”

    Unfortunately, there are very few such “dark forces” in Massachusetts. No newspaper that I’m aware of in this state- no TV station- no radio station ever presents the skeptical point of view. All state agencies are on board with the alarmist perspective and that attitude has now filtered down to the towns and cities. Meanwhile, there’s almost no industry left other than hospitals, some high tech and universities. All towns in the state have dozens of empty, rotting factory buildings. I work in the small forestry industry- which will get smaller as there is a movement to end all forestry, “to save the Earth and its species”. Forestry used to be a big industry in New England but it’s now dying off- for many reasons but partly because of this hatred for any tree cutting- by people who live in big wood homes with lots of nice wood furniture and tons of paper products all imported from across the planet.

  7. Sooner or later, Trump or no trump, the crazy in our dna combined with voting will destroy civilization as we know it. If the past is any indication.

    Technotronic coercion and surveillance in the hands of the very most crazy will be spectacular. Did the sane explode Atlantis to save the earth from a similar situation?

    Maybe the Sumerian visitors can bail us out??

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