By Chris White
President Donald Trump’s interim replacement for out-going Attorney General Jeff Sessions was an instrumental cog in the effort to investigate state attorneys general involved in a climate probe against ExxonMobil
Climate investigations against Exxon is unconstitutional and an infringement on the oil producer’s First Amendment rights, according to Matthew Whitaker, Trump’s temporary choice to take over for Session. Whitaker is the executive director of the ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust.
“Let’s put aside the fact this probe was both unconstitutional and unethical. More disturbing is how these same attorneys general … are actively blocking ethics watchdog organizations like mine from further exposing their behavior,” Whitaker wrote in a 2016 editorial noting his role filing public information requests targeting the AGs.
He was referring to Democratic attorneys general who used the investigation in 2016 to target communications between Exxon and 142 conservative groups, skeptic scientists and other academics.
U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker subpoenaed Exxon after joining three Democratic state attorneys general from California, Massachusetts and New York in an investigation into whether the company misled the public on the science behind global warming.
Walker’s subpoena is only one part of a larger investigation into Exxon being pushed by mostly Democratic AGs (Walker is a liberal-leaning Independent) to prove the company orchestrated a conspiracy to fool the public about global warming.
Whitaker also chastised former New York AG Eric Schneiderman and his Massachusetts colleague, Maura Healey, for their role in the probe.
“Our judicial system was created as the third branch of our government to uphold laws and see that justice prevails,” he wrote. “It was not designed to be corrupted into a political tool, used as a weapon to persecute, intimidate and silence individuals and groups over mere differences of opinion.”
Trump has long considered firing Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and blames him for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump hinted in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections that he would fire Sessions. It is not yet clear who the president will nominate to replace Sessions.
The company and New York have haggled over the issue for years before the state officially pursued legal charges.
Exxon engaged in a “longstanding fraudulent scheme” to deceive investors, analysts and underwriters “concerning the company’s management of the risks posed to its business by climate change regulation,” the lawsuit notes.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email email@example.com.