Politics & Policy

Democrats Like Corporate Free Speech Well Enough When They Agree with It

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Alex Wong/Getty)

First, there was Chevron; now, there’s Exxon. The international oil-and-gas company is currently the target of two investigations — one by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, the second by California attorney general Kamala Harris. The prosecutors allege that Exxon “defrauded” its shareholders and the general public by misleading them about the impact of man-made climate change.

In reality, Schneiderman and Harris, both Democrats, are using their prestigious perch to hassle a company for having views with which they disagree. And their recklessness is spreading. This week, attorneys general from 15 other states and territories joined Schneiderman and Harris in New York to announce that they, too, have no qualms about employing their offices in a naked display of political muscle; a couple of them are vowing to look into fossil-fuel operations in their jurisdictions. The coalition calls itself “AGs United for Clean Power.” Delete “Clean,” and the name would be more accurate.

Democrats have long thrilled to the prospect of slapping biodegradable handcuffs around the wrists of those who disagree with them on the subject of climate change. In 2014, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. waxed tyrannical about tossing the “treasonous” Koch brothers into a sustainably designed jail cell, and climate scientists have fantasized about using RICO laws against “climate-change deniers.” It does not matter that “the science” is far from settled, that the “97 percent” consensus of scientists is bunk, or that there is a First Amendment that permits disagreement about matters of political debate. “Climate change is real; it is a threat to all the people we represent,” declared Schneiderman on Tuesday. And it’s time for a frog-march.

RELATED: Why Does the Walt Disney Co. Prefer Communists to Christians?

Coincidentally, another Democrat is all in for frog-marches, just for different perps. On Thursday, in a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White calling for an investigation into “contradictory statements” by financial-services providers with regard to a pending Department of Labor rule, Massachusetts senator Liz Warren observed: “Corporate interests have become accustomed to saying whatever they want about Washington policy debates, with little accountability when their predictions prove to be inaccurate.” Nudge, nudge.

Add to these the years of handwringing over Citizens United, and Democrats seem to have a decided distaste for businesses’ weighing in freely on matters of public interest — and no compunctions about using the levers of the law to spank them for it.

#share#Coincidentally, that’s not the case where businesses agree with Democrats. In stark contrast with the above, several major corporations — Apple, Disney, the National Football League, and Salesforce.com — recently cowed Georgia governor Nathan Deal into vetoing a modest religious-freedom bill earlier this month; the bill would have provided limited state protections for religious believers’ free-exercise rights, often under pressure in the wake of the Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a similar coalition of groups is trying to force the governor and legislature to repeal a bill that, among other things, requires that individuals using single-sex, multiple-occupancy bathrooms use the facilities that correspond to their birth-certificate gender.

EDITORIAL: Capitulation on Religious-Liberty Laws Is Shameful and Shortsighted

This is one instance of corporate free speech that Democrats are happy to endorse. As they did last year, when an uproar from businesses helped force Indiana governor Mike Pence into “clarifying” his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Democrats are thrilled that Apple and the NFL and the rest are displaying a “conscience” and using the tactics at their disposal to influence public life.

For the Left, businesses have a license to participate corporately in political life to the extent that they promote Democratic interests. Anything else is a license for Democrats to use the tools of the state to bring them to heel.

A relationship between the government and private enterprise that is reduced to power relations is an unsustainable one. This is a climate that needs to change.

Most Popular


What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Lessons of the Mueller Probe

Editor’s Note: The following is the written testimony submitted by Mr. McCarthy in connection with a hearing earlier today before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the Mueller Report (specifically, the first volume of the report, which addresses Russia’s interference in the 2016 ... Read More

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and ... Read More
Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More
White House

Sarah Sanders to Resign at End of June

Sarah Huckabee Sanders will resign from her position as White House press secretary at the end of the month, President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1139263782142787585 Sanders, the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, succeeded Sean ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More