The Corner

Update on the Left’s ‘Denial’ Campaign Against Exxon

The Democratic attorneys-general jihad against Exxon plows ahead. To recap: The energy giants’ sin, per the AGs, is denying global warming. Its alleged nefariousness, again per the AGs: Conducting scientific studies, decades ago, that discovered global warming was real, but then suppressing that very information. Exxon calls that charge “preposterous.”

We at NR also call it dangerous. This corporate inquisition (it also targets conservative and libertarian groups, like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which have received support from Exxon), as Kevin Williamson and Rich Lowry have discussed on NRO, is a threat to the First Amendment. For this cabal of Dem “AGs United for Clean Power,” speech is free, as long as it conforms to a reality they determine, and serves notice that conflicting positions will be considered “fraud.” Which means: Climate-change deniers will be punished.

Not so fast: the Dem AGs’ effort — being led by Claude Earl Walker (from the U.S. Virgin Islands) – has prompted a backlash from a coalition of Republican AGs, who argue “Using law enforcement authority to resolve a public policy debate undermines the trust invested in our offices and threatens free speech.”

On thick partisan skulls that logic has landed. 

Meanwhile, Walker has shown he might not be up to his role as Spearheader-in-Chief. Shaking down a corporate giant really does require an army of legal hacks. Those being in short supply in the USVI, Walker has, according to The Hill, hired the Washington, D.C. law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to heavy lift.

How is Cohen Milstein paid? By the proceeds (per contract, a whopping 27 per cent, plus expenses) from a victorious lawsuit or settlement. But . . . isn’t this still an investigation (says Walker, into racketeering)? And don’t investigations on occasion find . . . no evidence, no probable cause, no crime (see James Comey and Loretta Lynch for details)? Can you really farm out criminal investigations when the incentive, for the contracted firm, is dependent on the filing of charges?

Questions abound, but let’s ask one more: If they do this stuff to Exxon (and the left has tried similar with Chevron), then what they will do to us Little Shots like wedding cake bakers . . . oh, we know the answer to that.

One final note: While the Democrat AGs do their thing, Exxon’s tree-hugging foes, led by the Center for International Environmental Law, are positioning their “Exxon Knew” campaign to include a role for Big Tobacco as an ally of Big Oil in some grand deception effort. It’s like one of those lobbyist lunch scenes in Thank You for Smoking. Part of the concocted logic to this argument is that the tobacco and oil industries share ideas, research, and tactics, and this presumption is evidenced by their using the same public relations firm.

In 1958! Back when Exxon was Esso, and being so . . . obviously misleading, if this ad is any indication.

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