- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2016

One of the 17 attorneys general who vowed last week to target climate change fraud issued a subpoena Thursday to the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute in what its counsel described as an attack on free speech.

CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said he would fight to quash the subpoena on First Amendment grounds. The subpoena was issued by Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker, a leader of the prosecutors’ climate change campaign.

“It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group,” said Mr. Kazman. “If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”

According to the CEI, the subpoena requests “communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016.”

The think-tank, which champions “sound climate science,” is known for its skeptical view of the catastrophic climate change narrative, raising fears that the attorneys general will target not just fraud but scientific disagreement on climate issues.

At a March 29 press conference in New York, Mr. Walker, an independent, and 16 Democrat attorneys general announced that they would use their offices to combat climate change. On hand to offer support was former Vice President Al Gore Jr.


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“The Virgin Islands, which is especially vulnerable to environmental threats, has a particular interest in making sure that companies are honest about what they know about climate change,” said Mr. Walker in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring a fair and transparent market where consumers can make informed choices about what they buy and from whom.”

He said he would investigate Exxon Mobil following several articles alleging the company hid research conducted by its own scientists linking fossil-fuel emissions to global warming. Exxon officials have denied the claims and countered that the investigation was conducted by journalism entities that receive funding from foundations known for their climate change activism.

“If ExxonMobil has tried to cloud their judgment, we are determined to hold the company accountable,” said Mr. Walker in a March 29 statement.

Representing CEI are attorneys from the Free Speech in Science Project, a newly founded legal-defense group aimed at defending “First Amendment rights against government abuses.”

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