Sen. Jim Inhofe accused 17 attorneys general of a “misuse of power” Wednesday after revelations that more than 100 universities, academics and think-tanks have been targeted in an investigation into climate-change dissent.
“While the AGs have attempted to package this latest effort as a legal matter, this is nothing more than a misuse of power to score cheap political points,” said Mr. Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
His comments came a day after an unredacted subpoena obtained by The Washington Times showed Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker demanding all communications between Exxon Mobil and a who’s who of free-market organizations, as well as professors and universities.
“This is a step too far. They know it and will be held accountable,” Mr. Inhofe said in a statement.
Exxon is challenging the March 15 subpoena, arguing that it violates the company’s rights to free speech and unreasonable searches and seizures.
A coalition known as AGs United for Clean Power announced at a March 29 press conference that they would use their law-enforcement authority to pursue allegations of “fraud” against those who challenge the catastrophic climate-change narrative.
SEE ALSO: Virgin Islands AG subpoenas Exxon communications in climate-change probe
Sixteen of the attorneys general are Democrats, while Mr. Walker is an independent. Four are reportedly investigating allegations that Exxon Mobil misled the public on the dangers of rising greenhouse-gas emissions in the atmosphere.
“Instead of honoring legitimate academic and scientific inquiry, the far-left has gone to extremes to silence those who disagree. This is not about the science, it is about personal attacks and politics at its worst,” Mr. Inhofe said.
He described the latest effort as “no different than the tactics used by my Democrat colleagues in Congress or the collusive campaign launched by radical environmental activists to target many of these same people and organizations.”
Last year, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, suggested using federal racketeering laws to pursue fossil-fuel companies and climate-change skeptics, comparing the oil-and-gas business to the tobacco industry.