Climate Change Subpoenas Versus Free Speech

Constitutional rights threatened by the legal storms over global warming



Climate change partisans are issuing subpoenas right and left in attempts to shut up their opponents. The first salvos were launched from the left when 20 Democratic state attorneys-general joined together at the behest of several environmental activist organizations to demand the oil giant ExxonMobil turn over 40 years of documents. New York Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney-General Maura Healey are leading the legal campaign and ordered ExxonMobil to turn over all internal communications regarding climate change including all those related to various think tanks, academicians, lobbying groups who question the urgency of man-made global warming.

The Democratic attorneys-general have issued their subpoenas and civil investigatory demands on the pretext that they are investigating the possibility that ExxonMobil knowingly defrauded and misled investors and customers about how climate change will affect its business prospects. They also demand to know what was communicated to various skeptical public policy groups who they evidently believe could have been paid by the company to mislead policymakers and public about the dangers of climate change. ExxonMobil and some of the groups are fighting back arguing that the attorneys-general are engaging in a legal fishing expedition whose chief aim is to intimidate and thus stifle the free speech rights of those with whom they disagree.

In the meantime, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the chair of House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has issued subpoenas from his committee to Schneiderman and Healey as well as to nine environmental activist groups who evidently worked with both AGs to create the pretextual fraud investigation against ExxonMobil. Smith claims that the AGs and activists worked together to devise a strategy "to act under color of law to persuade attorneys general to use their prosecutorial powers to stifle scientific discourse, to intimidate private entities and individuals, and deprive them of their First Amendment rights and freedoms." Smith is demanding in the "interests of transparency" to see all documents relating to this plan exchanged between the AGs and the activists. The AGs and groups are refusing to cough up the demanded documents.

As this legal battle over who can say what about climate change in public as evolved, several Republican attorneys-general have filed an amicus brief in the federal district court for Northern Texas in support of ExxonMobil's motions to quash Healey's civil investigative demand. They note:

The Attorney General of Massachusetts is investigating Plaintiff's expressed opinions on the issue of climate change and those with whom they communicate about this subject. While vocal assaults from politicians, universities, professional societies, journalists, and others are a natural part of the discourse that accompanies free expression, the action by Defendant herein is of a different ilk. Here, a government official is using their law enforcement power to attack a company for expressing opinions, or asking questions, unpopular within their office or political constituency.

Yesterday, several constitutional scholars sent a letter to Rep. Smith arguing that his committee has no authority to bedevil the AGs and their activist friends in this matter. The scholars assert:

When UCS [Union of Concerned Scientists] and other organizations discussed their concerns about what they viewed as the apparently intentional distortion of climate science with state attorneys general and with each other, they were exercising their constitutional rights. The First Amendment guarantees, among other rights, the rights to speak freely, to petition the government, and to associate with others for the advancement of beliefs and ideas. The right to petition entitles citizens to communicate with their government bodies and officials to express ideas, hopes, and concerns. It incorporates the right to associate with others in a joint effort to convince the government to take particular actions. The right to associate, in turn, permits groups to associate freely and in private, so long as they are not engaged in subversive or illegal activity.

Your Subpoenas infringe the organizations' exercise of these First Amendment rights. The rights of association and petition are as fundamental and precious to our society as they are delicate and vulnerable.

And yet both climate change "alarmists" and "deniers" (their tendentious characterizations of each other) seem intent on trampling on those delicate and vulnerable rights.

Back in June, several Republican attorneys-general issued a dear colleauge letter to their Democratic confreres warning that subpoena wars could get out of hand. Specifically, they noted:

Once the government begins policing viewpoints, two solutions exist. The first solution is to police all viewpoints equally. Another group of Attorneys General could use the precedent established by the "AGs United for Clean Power" to investigate fraudulent statements associated with competing interests. The subpoenas currently directed at some market participants could be met with a barrage of subpoenas directed at other market participants.

Well, that's where we are now. Who needs mere science when you've got lawyers?

NEXT: Joke of a Debate About Trigger Warnings, We Couldn't Save Harambe But We Can #SaveNelly: P.M. Links

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  1. As American, I have an inherent right to enforce my vision and definition of science. Why is this so hard to understand?

    1. "Who needs mere science when you've got lawyers?"

      The lawyers are going to discover a theory of everything, and a basis for practical anti-gravity, just you wait and see!

  2. I think Peter Thiel funded the deniers so it's ok to go after them.

  3. The First Amendment guarantees, among other rights, the rights to speak freely, to petition the government, and to associate with others for the advancement of beliefs and ideas. The right to petition entitles citizens to communicate with their government bodies and officials to express ideas, hopes, and concerns.

    That's interesting. So what, that doesn't apply to Exxon mobile?

    1. Like, duh. ExxonMobil is a corporation and corporations don't have rights, you know.

      1. I'm sorry, the response we were looking for was "Corporations are not people."

        1. But isn't Soylent Green a corporation?

            1. You can build bridges with witches!

    2. But they're using that speech to rip people off, and that can't be allowed. Korporations are evil

  4. Wait, you're trying to equate the two? Left wing attorney generals subpoena groups from dissenting against the climate alarmism (including the Reason Foundation) and then Republican attorney generals write amicus briefs in defense of these groups' free speech rights and members of congress subpoena these left wing attorney generals who are undertaking a witch hunt and it is a case of 'a pox on both their houses'?

    I hope these Republican attorney generals and Congress see this and say- 'nah, let Reason defend themselves'. I sincerely hope that all right-leaning groups decide that they'll help each other, but let Reason flap in the wind. Thus is the fate deserving of 'cowards', which has really just become a by-word for 'libertarian'.

        1. Ok. But what does that have to do with cherry-picking a sentence from Ron's post as an excuse to launch into a strident philippic?

          1. That's a curiously charitable read of Ron's claimed eqivalence.

          2. Christ, he isn't cherry picking a sentence, it's the entire point of the article.

          3. I think this is in the, first they came for the ______ , but I did nothing because I wasn't ________

            If the progressives get Exxon, you can be your bottom dollar they are going to fuck over reason for being libertarian.

            Don't believe me, I have one word for you.... woodchippers......

            1. Reason was already targeted in the Democratic AG subpoenas and shamed on the floor of the US Senate by Democratic Senators (along with Cato, AEI, and others). So, it's already come for them, yet still they grovel.

      1. Let's make it simple.

        AGs are supposed to be about law enforcement, and only law enforcement. Presumably any investigation by AGs carries the threat of legal sanction.

        Unlike Congress, which is inherently political. They are supposed to investigate political issues.

        Ron doesn't want to draw that distinction and he doesn't want you to do so either.

    1. attorney generals


      1. Are you twitching because of the bad plural form?
        Of course, it should be attorneys general.

        As in, "should our platoon attack all the attorneys, General?"

        1. Let's eat, Grandpa


          Let's eat Grandpa

  5. The difference is:
    Once side knowingly broke the law and abused their power. The other didn't.

    1. The cover up may do more damage than the crime.

    2. I was kind of thinking the same thing.

    3. Thank you Playa.

      I'm stuck on a crappy mobile device today pecking out letters one at a time.

      *the side without a defensible position always resorts to force. The last thing these thugs want is for this to go into court because the whole global warming scam will be put on trial. It was extortion, plain and simple. I wonder how many 'Trump is the worst' people are taking note of this fascist tactic that Hillary has promised to continue?

      1. A tactic that if it is successful will be used on more than just climate deniers.

        Hear that Ron?

        1. First they came for the climate deniers...

          1. Yes they did.

        2. If only Reason had an example of an overzealous officer of the court coming after them for something, then maybe they'd understand...... Oh, wait.....

  6. Teh big difference is that the AG's and their supporters violated the Anti-Ku Klux Clan act. Essentially, they sought to deprive people of their civil rights my abusing their positions.

    1) Exxon is accused of not disclosing the true risks climate change posed to their business model to shareholders. There is no evidence of this. The evidence claiming to show this was so blatantly manufactured that I was reminded of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion when I reviewed it.

    2) Exxon's disclosures and internal communications on the subject of climate change are both internally and externally congruent. More tellingly, their educated guesses as to the equilibrium climate change sensitivity to doubling of CO2 are actually not to far off from what observations are converging on.

    1. 3) The AG's were working off a playbook created by the self-proclaimed Climate Accountability Institute. They knew they had no evidence of fraud. They hoped a fishing expedition would find it:

      And finally, the group sought to identify the most promising and mutually reinforcing intellectual, legal, and/or public strategies for moving forward. We are pleased to share the outcome of these preliminary workshop discussions. Among the many points captured in this report, we want to highlight the following:
      ? A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups, and there are many possible approaches to
      unearthing them.

      While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.

      See Shub Niggurath's thorough expose.

      1. 4) The guys assisting the AG's were hoping to make money off a legal settlement extorted from Exxon.

        Maibach has told allies that he hopes a RICO case against oil companies will prove a financial boon to groups like his Center for Climate Change Communication.

        "If there was a settlement between the government and the fossil fuel industry" stemming from a RICO investigation, "there is no question in my mind that a good portion of that money should be spent on a national campaign to educate people on the risks of climate change, and build their resolve to work towards solutions," Maibach told the website Grist last year.

        Maibach already receives significant grant money for just those sorts of campaigns. One recent grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded his research on methods for "persuading the public and policy-makers to take action" on climate change.

        1. Congress has a proper role in uncovering civil rights violations committed by the executive branch or by states. And what Al Gore and his cultists who have embedded themselves in the Democratic Party and the civil services of the states and the federal government are trying to do to Exxon is to extort money by threatening them with a criminal investigation that has no penitentiary basis. It is no different than if a democrat like Boss Hog were to tell a newspaper to stop carrying editorials opposing Jim Crow and make a donation to the policemen's benevolence association fund or face a code inspection that would close down their offices and condemn the building where their printing presses are sited.

          1. One thing I forgot. The AG's conspiracy blatantly violates a bunch of state laws, and because of the interstate nature of the conspiracy, falls very firmly in the ambit of the federal government.

            1. I have to laugh at your last sentence. Obumbles and lynch had a summit for the express purpose of cooking this strategy up. This is coming from him.

              1. I have to laugh thinking that Robert has a Wood Johnson.

          2. It is no different than if a democrat like Boss Hog were to tell a newspaper to stop carrying editorials opposing Jim Crow and make a donation to the policemen's benevolence association fund or face a code inspection that would close down their offices and condemn the building where their printing presses are sited.

            I'd be curious to know how exactly the Duke boys would thwart that plot. Probably something involving dynamite sticks taped to arrows shot from a compound bow.

            1. Next up: Bo and Luke rebuild the shitter!

              /sure, Luke, "car" magazines.....

      2. They knew they had no evidence of fraud. They hoped a fishing expedition would find it:

        If I may, a possible other explanation: "They knew they had no evidence of fraud. They hoped a witch hunt would silence anyone else from speaking about the dubious claims of the AGW / CC political machine."

  7. Ron Bailey is defending the authority of government employees to deprive citizens of their constitutional "rights" under color of law. Not your father's libertarian magazine's blog!

    1. I musta missed that part

      1. You would've seen it if you weren't such a kozmo cuck. /sarc

        1. Well you are making Lamar Smiths congressional hearing equivalent to the witch hunt the AGs have against Exxon.

          That would make Jackass Ace really proud....

          1. Ron's article is the side that started the battle calling for a cease fire now that they are headed for defeat.

    2. Par for the course for Happy Face Bailey...


    In: All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  9. The whole climate change has become so politicized and irrational it's a marvel how we can still ask for plastic bans and carbon taxes. Seems to me once everything settles and cooler minds prevail, the shrill cries we do something and anything will subside.

    I reckon.

    I hope.

  10. They're trying to do the same thing to the oil industry over pollution and global warming that they did to the tobacco industry over smoking--have a government takeover--and they're using the exact same tactics that Al Gore used against tobacco.

    There are a number of reasons why that's awful (closely tracking why nationalizing industry, socialism, and trashing the rule of law are awful), but we can safely add one dreadful irony to the list--if and when the government takes over the oil industry, the government will inevitably start encouraging the use of oil.

    Has there ever been an oil nationalization in history that didn't result in the government selling oil at below market prices to appease voters? People have forgotten what high oil prices are like, but if and when they spike again, the President's poll numbers will drop again--just like they did when Obama shut down drilling in the Gulf during the Gulf oil spill.

    That wasn't the only time Obama's been pressured into tapping our strategic oil reserves; Obama did it during the Arab Spring when the Libyan revolution made the price of oil spike, too. And why wait for a crisis when there's another election every two years?

    1. "if and when the government takes over the oil industry, the government will inevitably start encouraging the use of oil."

      Kinda like how the government is now trying to encourage more smoking by going after e-cigarettes because it doesn't want to lose tax revenue? In this light, Gary Johnson's support for a carbon tax makes a lot of sense-the government will never sacrifice a cash cow.

      1. Tobacco is different in that it isn't as essential to the economy.

        People bought the houses they have and commute because they can afford the gas. Make it so they can't afford to commute anymore, so their house isn't as desirable anymore, etc.--and they're really pissed off.

        Meanwhile, goods and services are all being delivered in trucks with an assumed price of gasoline within a certain tolerance. If the price of gasoline spikes, the whole economy feels it. I remember circa 2007, when the price of oil was so high, it cost less for me to pave a parking lot with labor intensive concrete than it did with asphalt. $150 a barrel changed everything.

        Tobacco isn't like oil. If tobacco gets squeezed out of existence through excessive regulation and taxation, it won't have a huge impact on the entire economy. Yeah, the government doesn't want tobacco use to go away entirely because they want to maximize that revenue stream. What I'm saying, however, is that voters are still extremely sensitive to the cost of oil--and every state owned oil company sells it as cheaply as possible to its own people for that reason.

      2. I doubt there's anything except maybe unemployment that has a bigger influence on approval ratings for politicians than the price of oil--and that goes up to and through the Obama Administration.

        Scroll down this link for a great graph on the correlation from 1977 through 2010 between the price of gasoline and Presidential approval ratings:


        That behavior continues through today.

        It's sooooo easy for voters to be concerned about global warming when the price of gasoline is hovering around $2.50 a gallon. If it were up near $4.50 a gallon, even the Democrats in California would shut up about global warming. It's politically unsustainable.

        OTBE, the idea that the government can squeeze off the supply of oil and hold it there to save polar bears and the future is ridiculous in a democracy. It's a pipe dream.

  11. How stupid would it be for climate change activists to succeed in seeing oil production nationalized in the false hope that drilling and production would be curtailed by the Democrats because of climate change--only to see every politician in the country suddenly start running on giving their constituents cheap oil that's priced below market?

    Why wouldn't our politicians start doing that? The idea that people will still care more about climate change than the price of gasoline when it's up over $4.00 a gallon is a fantasy.

    1. +1 Hugo Chavez

  12. Schnotthead and Mucus Maura really are dangerous when you think of it. Like I'd totally trust these two tyrants with 40 years of material. I can just imagine what they could *find*.

    1. They will find something even if not climate related they will be able to make a case of something else through other government agencies. Exxon is screwed, it may take several years but it will happen

  13. Good to see, Ronald, that you finally made note of Smith's subpoenas of AGs and any communication they may have had with independent activist groups. As if they're not allowed to talk.

    But you fail to note the difference. Whereas Schneideman is simply following New York law (Martin Act) that has been in existence for nearly100 years and used before to investigate possible business fraud, Smith is attempting to interfere in states rights.

    It's why Exxon seems to be cooperating and both AGs told Smith to take a hike.

    By the way, if Smith is so concerned about AGs and who they talk to, he may want to investigate all these GOP AGs who seem to have been unduly influenced by the fossil fuel industry:

    "Fossil fuel giants Murray Energy and Southern Company paid for meetings with Republican attorneys general to discuss their opposition to the Clean Power Plan less than two weeks before the same GOP officials petitioned federal courts to block the Obama administration's signature climate proposal, according to private emails (see below) from state attorneys general obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy. The meetings took place at an August 2015 summit hosted by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in West Virginia, where attendees were offered the opportunity to meet with GOP attorneys general in exchange for financial donations to help reelect the Republican state prosecutors."

    1. Link


      I mean, in this case, money changed hands and lo and behold, a petition!

    2. Bloomberg on those meetings


    3. "unduly influenced by the fossil fuel industry:"

      Cute but troublesome.

      On so many levels.

      Soon you're gonna accuse Bailey of getting a check from Exxon, right?

      1. Shillbucks for the win!

    4. Why is it that when progressives are asked about whether what they're doing is stupid, they often respond with answers about why it's legal?

      P.S. Ask progressives whether what they're doing is constitutional, and they typically respond with the answer that the law doesn't really matter anyway.

      1. Thanks. But it's not stupid. And it's legal.

        1. Ok. Let's go with it's legal.

          Is this a road you want to go down?

          Think hard.

          Show your work.

          1. I live in NY. Schneideman is following the law if he thinks fraud may have been committed. It's that simple. Yes, I want him to do his job.

            We will see if Smith is doing his job or something else, as that plays out.

            1. Did Exxon shareholders lose money? The answer to that is the same as the answer to whether or not fraud was committed.

              1. We are glad your not AG in NY.

                1. Am I to understand that the New York AG is suing to take money away from oil company shareholders--on behalf of their shareholders?

                  And that this is smart for shareholders?

                  That's what you're saying?

                  That shareholders aren't smart enough to sue for losses they haven't sustained (even though they're perfectly free to do so), and that the AGs screwing the shareholders (on behalf of shareholders) is smart because the Martin Act is legal?!

                  You don't even believe that yourself, do you?

                  If the New York Attorney General wins a cash award and takes the money from the oil company's shareholders, how much money will the oil company's shareholders get?

                  Or will the money the Attorney General wins stay with the State of New York?

                  If the money stays with the State of New York, is ripping off the shareholders for losses they never sustained smart because it's legal?

                  1. If it turns out to be fraud, there are penalties. We will see. Just because there are shareholders isn't an out for fraud.

                    1. If it turns out to be fraud, there are penalties. We will see. Just because there are shareholders isn't an out for fraud.

                      If the AG can punish and fine Exxon for fraud in this vein, then taxpayers can sue the government for fraud in cases like this:


                      or this:


                      (if Reason didn't have a two-link limit, I'd post about 500 more)

                      If the government promised (and demonstrably lied) to fleece me out of money for projects that would never meet projections... that's black-letter fraud, bitch. Can I sue? Or is this just the sausage of good governance?

                    2. "If it turns out to be fraud, there are penalties."

                      Yes, and we need a world of lawyers and experts to tell us whether there was fraud.

                      . . . especially since they can't find any victims.

                    3. "Just because there are shareholders isn't an out for fraud."

                      Well then, this negates Schneiderman's whole case.

                  2. It makes sense to joe...he has the mental acuity of a 7year old.

            2. Bull shit.

              He's not looking for fraud in the way you think. He's looking to lynch a company for a movement that's been tainted by manipulated data to further his ambitions.

              Who exactly was hurt and why does going back in time gonna help anything? You let AG's do crap like this they will justify doing this to any company or persons including YOU.

              Do you not see the trouble this is brewing?

              1. He's going to help the shareholders by destroying the company. Why is that so hard to understand????

                1. I still don't understand why Jack & Ace thinks this is not stupid.

                  From any defensible perspective.

                  If you want to pressure the oil companies into a tobacco industry type government takeover, I guess this might make sense--but it depends on what you want to do with a nationalized oil industry.

                  That sort of arrangement has not had the results progressives or environmentalists typically want in the countries that have tried it. If they think oil is going to be rationed or that environmental regulations for fracking, and such, would be more onerous if only the oil industry were owned and operated by our government, then they will be terribly disappointed.

                  If they think carbon emissions are a problem now with oil selling at market rates, wait 'til the government oil company making cheap oil available to their constituents makes it even harder for alternative energy sources to compete on the market.

                  If they think the oil companies and regulators are too cozy now, why would it make them less cozy if the oil producers and the regulators were the same entity? Jesus, they'd probably all be represented by the same union.

                  If the progressives think that if the government took over the oil industry, then they'd be able to ration the American voters off of oil through high prices and production cuts, then they're even dumber than I thought.

                  1. Because he's a zealot.

                    1. He doesn't want to admit that they're really out to regulate the fuck out of the oil companies.

                      The Democrats don't want to tell voters in an election year that what they really want to do is do to the oil industry what they did to the healthcare industry by way of ObamaCare.

                      This is all just secondary to that goal. Making like oil company investors need the New York Attorney General to protect them from their own profits is just ridiculous.

                      Jack & Ace isn't even taking himself seriously.

                      Ken Shultz: "Is this smart for some reason?"

                      Jack & Ace: "It's legal!"

                      Ken Shultz: "What does that have to do with anything?"

                      Jack & Ace: "It's fraud".

                      Ken Shultz: "Who's the victim of this fraud"?

                      Jack & Ace: *crickets*

                2. Don't make me laugh. Exxon destroyed? Surely you jest.

                  1. "Don't make me laugh. Exxon destroyed? Surely you jest."

                    Jack & Ace is conveniently ignoring the way Al Gore and the AGs took over the the tobacco industry:

                    "The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was entered in November 1998, originally between the four largest United States tobacco companies (Philip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard ? the "original participating manufacturers", referred to as the "Majors") and the attorneys general of 46 states. The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco-related health-care costs, and also exempted the companies from private tort liability regarding harm caused by tobacco use.[1]:25 In exchange, the companies agreed to curtail or cease certain tobacco marketing practices, as well as to pay, in perpetuity, various annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses . . . . In the MSA, the original participating manufacturers (OPM) agreed to pay a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement."


                    1. That all started over the state Attorney Generals effectively suing the tobacco companies for "fraud" or "false advertising". Notice the prohibition against advertising? That was originally about them challenging scientific research over the course of decades linking smoking to lung cancer and other ailments. The Attorney Generals (led by Al Gore) went after their freedom of speech first. Like I said, they're using the same playbook to go after the oil industry that they used to go after the tobacco industry.

                      No, the Attorney Generals didn't bankrupt the tobacco companies--they just forced them to choose between bankruptcy and accepting whatever regulation the government wanted to pile on them.

                      And that's the same thing they're trying to do to Exxon.

                      They'll go after them for fraud publicly questioning the link between their oil sales and global warming (over the course of decades), and once they've got that nailed down, they'll go after the oil companies for aggravating every case of asthma, every crop failure, and every bad weather event since 1896, when it was first suggested that combustion might eventually contribute to climate change. And Exxon will cave--in exchange for protection from class action lawsuits.

                    2. And just for the record, if you don't think Al Gore is behind this (just like he was with the tobacco settlement), don't take my word for it.

                      Al Gore says so himself!

                      "Former US Vice President and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project Al Gore joined New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in New York March 29, to announce a coalition aimed at aggressively protecting the recent progress the US has made in combatting climate change. Lauded by Vice President Gore as "the best, most hopeful step in years" in this effort, the AGs United for Clean Power coalition brings together attorneys general from 25 states, territories, cities and counties to explore ways to jointly support the fight against climate change.

                      One such tactic includes facilitating ongoing and potential joint investigations into whether fossil fuel companies and industry groups mislead the public about the dangers of climate change or the viability of renewable energy resources.

                      "What these attorneys general are doing is extremely important. These brave members of this coalition are doing their job like they did in the tobacco case," said Vice President Gore, comparing fossil fuel companies to the tobacco companies of the 1990s that fell under intense scrutiny over misstatements about cancer and heart disease risks associated with cigarette smoking.

                      ----Climate Reality Project


                    3. One such tactic includes facilitating ongoing and potential joint investigations into whether fossil fuel companies and industry groups mislead the public about the dangers of climate change or the viability of renewable energy resources.

                      If anyone is misleading the public about the dangers of climate change or the viability of renewable energy resources, it's renewable energy companies and industry groups.

                      Sauce for the goose and all.

                    4. "If anyone is misleading the public about the dangers of climate change or the viability of renewable energy resources, it's renewable energy companies and industry groups."

                      That's for a jury to decide, Mike.

                      And in civil court, you don't need unanimity or for the verdict to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

                      Those oil companies must be guilty of somethin'. That's what science and not being a redneck is all about!

        2. In this investigation, is Schneideman representing the interests of the shareholders of Exxon like he says he is?
          Yes or no. Don't even bother lying.

          It's stupid, and it's not fucking legal.

          1. If a cash award goes to the shareholders because of the AG, won't it be taxed as ordinary income?

            If the money doesn't go to the shareholders, then how can it be in their interests?

            Oh, and how much you wanna bet that these oil companies' stocks would rally tomorrow if it were announced that the suits were all dropped today?

            I don't know whether it's legal, but it's definitely stupid.

            Lots of stupid things are legal!

          2. Of course it's legal. Go read the Martin Act. He is INVESTIGTING whether or not fraud was committed to the people in his jurisdiction as well as shareholders...as the potential is that they bought stock when the company kept from them information the company knew and hid. If so, fraud.

            We will see. If not, no fraud.

            1. Let's pass a law that anyone who demands data from a climate-change scientist without being able to PROVE, with HARD EVIDENCE, that the request is NOT a nuisance-request

              We're only investigating.

            2. If not, YES fraud. By Schneideman.

              This entire self-fulfilling prophecy is absolute bullshit, and you know it.

              The only thing that's going to change in Exxon's prospectus next year is the threat of GOVERNMENT, not global warming. And yes, they do have to disclose that, and yes, they're aware that an asshole like Schneideman has the power of subpoena.

            3. It's a fishing expedition with no justification for a warrant.

            4. Jackand Ace: In what universe did Exxon influence public opinion? Their research was published. They gave money to scientists at universities for basic research on climate. The AGs are going back 40 years, well before anyone had any idea of the magnitude or cause of climate change. In fact 1976 was the peak of "global cooling" worries. Exxon already includes statements in their prospectus each year that regulations could hurt their business. If they cry too loudly about government regulation in their prospectus, they get punished by regulators (go ahead, try it, that is why most corporations work through trade associations and lobbyists rather than putting big ads in the paper).
              In a legal sense, the AGs have not put forth a theory of a crime, evidence of a crime, or plausible anything.
              Finally, the tobacco settlement was bad law in the first place. Everyone knew cigs were bad for you. In WWII they called them coffin nails.

              1. Fraud is wrong. Real fraud, such as Climategate and Fakegate, both committed by AGW/SS advocates.

        3. Thanks. But it's not stupid. And it's legal.

          Sorry jackass, it wasn't. See 18USC241.

          What was also not legal was attempts to use a Common Interest Agreement to get around open-records requests.


          A Common Interest Agreement requires that there be 1) litigation, or the reasonable anticipation of litigation, 2) that the parties share a similar interest, and that 3) there be a clearly defined scope to the agreement. Here the AGs from many different states, apparently working with outside interest groups, came together to claim privilege for documents without the required shared reasonable anticipation of litigation, but in anticipation of open records requests.

    5. Sigh.

      Carbon taxes are essentially dead, but insteading of dealing with it (their inability to convince people to pay more for power), they whine and subpoena and go on a witch hunt, because it must all be a conspiracy.

      I guess that's better than admitting failure in someone's book.

      You know they could just try being more persuasive.

      Nap. It must be Exxon and every person they've ever talk to's fault.

    6. See Ron, happy with yourself? Now Jackass thinks you're on his side.

      Of course Reason still won't get out of the subpoenas.

      Because they'll fucking destroy the lukewarmers worse than the full deniers....

      When Reason is on the side of Jackass Ace, do Free Minds and Free Markets matter???

      Don't come crying to the commentariat for money when the AG's come to fuck Reason over.....

      This was the stupidest story you've ever posted, Ron.

    7. "Smith is attempting to interfere in states rights."

      Yes Congress is addressing an un-Constitutional application of state law, and - as once and for always- the Democrat party has a problem with that.

      Bravo, Bull Connor couldn't have said it better himself.

  14. The denialists started this--the use of legal harassment as a weapon against scientists. The denialists were abusing the law requiring data sharing, making the scientists waste their time answering endlessly repeaded nuisance-requests for raw data, long before any politician ever thought of abusing any law in order to harass any denier. Now what THEY started is coming back around to bite them. Fck 'em. Let's pass a law that anyone who demands data from a climate-change scientist without being able to PROVE, with HARD EVIDENCE, that the request is NOT a nuisance-request made in order to waste the scientist's time, gets fifty years in solitary confinement.

    1. Sounds like you have a place in Hillary's administration.

    2. B+. That bit at the end where you go full Stalinist is too over the top.

      But it's still quite good!

    3. Is there any particular reason for the raw data not to be made directly available to the public without the need for an FOIA request?

      I mean, I guess it would make it harder to surreptitiously edit it after the fact to generate a preferred narrative...

    4. Should there be a law requiring data sharing? No.

      But, if you don't share your data, you're not a scientist. You need to find a new word. How about Scientician?

      1. You should be required to share data, but only with those who request it in good faith, not in order to harass you and waste your time.

        1. but only with those who request it in good faith

          Let me guess, those requesting in "good faith" and those who are a part of a "consensus" are gonna line up pretty close to one another.

        2. What an odd way to phrase that.

          How about the data is made available on the internet (you know, in DATA form), and anyone can download it.

          If it's science, it's reproducible. No harassment. Just data. You're OK with that, right? RIGHT?

          1. Yeah, making your data public kind of undermines the whole "Shit, now I gotta go to kinkos" meme that probably ended in the 1980s.

            1. Shit, this is going to take at least 4 weeks.

        3. You should be required to share data, but only with those who request it in good faith, not in order to harass you and waste your time.

          The point of publishing scientific research is to allow others to contradict it. If somebody wants to attack your conclusions that is the definition of good faith.

          1. But then the scientists get hurt feelings.


          2. RE: "The point of publishing scientific research is to allow others to contradict it. If somebody wants to attack your conclusions that is the definition of good faith."

            Yes yes yes but that's different from filing hundreds of nuisance-demands for raw data, often using many different false names, purely in order to make the scientist waste time answering them.

            You are like someone who says "The point of publishing scientific research is to allow others to contradict it, therefore, if someone objects to your findings, then he should be allowed to kill your children." The first part does not imply the second part.

            1. I'm going to file this under "things that never happened"
              cc: "retard file"

              1. RE: "things that never happened" Check these articles out!



      2. "Should there be a law requiring data sharing?" If any of that data is generated using public sources of funding their damn well better be data sharing.

    5. Get a load of tough Bill Nye over there.

      You people are progressive psychos.

      1. Bill Nye is my age. I want him in the ring!

    6. gets fifty years in solitary confinement

      Scratch a proglodyte, find an authoritarian. I bet you think everyone belongs to the government, don't you?

      /Maybe we could go after him, for false advertising.

      1. It always ends up with gulags and imprisonment with them.

        They fear Trump because of the projection.

    7. The purpose of data sharing is to see if the work can be replicated by others. That's a basic tenet of science.

  15. Let's give JackandAce a round of applause, everyone. Really.

    Normally, with shrill leftists (but,I repeat myself), all you get is whining and bitching about companies only being about making money, and about how all they care about is their shareholders' bottom lines.

    Not J&A, though. No, he's fighting the good fight-supporting those AGs, making sure the Exxon shareholders get their money.


    1. What a load of crap. It's ends justifying the means with him. He's just lying about the ends.

      1. Oh, c'mon, Lee...give the little guy a break. He's just worried about investors not getting a good return, that's all!

        It's not as if he has some nefarious, ulterior motive...

        /He's the peoples' champ, he is.

        1. You're right. Who am I to question his motives, as preposterous as they may be.

  16. Can't even believe this is being discussed on a supposedly 'libertarian' website. Democratic attorney generals goaded by their activists and donors used the strong arm of the state to intimidate nonprofits that aren't saying the world is going to end because of the weather and this is debated?

    Blame is passed along to the Republican attorney generals who defended the first amendment rights of these groups?

    This is disgraceful, but not surprising. You folded on religious freedom and now your folding on speech.

    Libertarian = coward

    1. "A plague on Both Your Houses" seems to be an important chapter in The Reason Manual of Style.

      1. It is a bullet point under "What To Do When the Left Is Headed for An Ass Kicking."

  17. Good posts by Tarran.

  18. Science is settled through intimidation.

    Trofim Lysenko. Oh, and the Jackass.

  19. Of course Exxon is lying about what they know is happening to our climate and earth. Im sure they have known what could happen if drilling and fracking were allowed to continue. The money in their pockets are all that matters to these people. It's the same for the tobacco companies and the pharmaceutical companies to hide the truth. These powerful entities could care less about our deaths or this planet dying either. What a terrible way to be.

    1. Of course the govt is lying about what they know is happening to our healthcare system. Im sure they have known what could happen if Obamacare were allowed to continue. The money in their pockets are all that matters to these people. It's the same for the DNC and the Clinton Foundation to hide the truth. These powerful entities could care less about our deaths or this republic dying either. What a terrible way to be.


    2. Re: Ms.Donnadoright,

      The money in their pockets are all that matters to these people.

      And for you it isn't?

      You would be lying if you say you don't.

    3. When the government allows a competitive market, the way to put money in one's pocket is to satisfy customers. Give the product they want at a price they're willing to pay.

      If you die, that's one less customer, which is bad for business. If the planet dies, we're all out of business.

      It's fraud if they know the truth and say otherwise. You just can't conceive that someone else might honestly have a different opinion that you do.

  20. Send lawyers, guns, and money...

  21. Pretty clearly, it was the Democrat-backed AGs who drew First Blood of Hypocrisy here.

    But in truth, it's actually reasonable for "the other side", as represented by Smith, to call foul and perform its own investigation, because unlike the case of the AG subpoenas, there is actually probable cause that the AGs violated the law.

    This is not a case of he-said, she-said. If the AGs collaborated with interested parties before issuing their subpoenas they are guilty of wrongdoing.

    It is therefore wrong to take that probable cause (if such there be... I think there is) and call it an example of the same thing. They are different things. Even if they seem similar superficially.

    And I think that's the fundamental problem with this article. It's too superficial.

  22. And in the meantime, as Smith attempts to interfere with a state's rights as well as set a precedent for future Dem Chairs to do the same (what, only GOP chairs can do that?), the earth just experienced the last two months setting a record for highest temperatures ever recorded. All while the El Ni?o is dissipating, not getting stronger.

    Oh, and just pointing out, Ronald...Smith has set a record for subpoenas coming out of the Science Committee. And he ain't done yet. Of course, you thought his subpoenas of NOAA was A-OK, even when the data they used was already publicly available.

    What, you thought he had limits to federal government use of the subpoena?

    1. My mistake. I said

      "What, you thought he had limits to federal government use of the subpoena?"

      Should have said government ABUSE of the subpoena. Sorry.

    2. Might be worthwhile to look at this graph from NOAA as to temps with where 2016 lolls like it will end up


      Uh oh.

    3. and it's made easier to continue having the highest temperatures ever recorded when they keep down grading past temps.

      1. It's a hoax!

        1. Actually, a fraud. They lie to get your money.

          Not enough people believe in Marxism, so instead of the usual spiel, they've switched to "We're all gonna die!" if we don't give the lefties the keys to the economy.

  23. What I object to is being lumped in with the ignoranti as a "climate change denier", when I merely question the methods used to gather data, the methods used to "adjust" data, which data are actually considered, and the models used to project future temperatures (you know, those models the code for which is never released, even if funded by public money.) There is a huge difference between what was called, at one time, "global warming caused by man-released carbon dioxide emissions from internal combustion engines" (at one time the left's anti-SUV mantra, apparently until they realized how useful and comfortable SUVs are), which was, and is questioned by many - and "climate change", which pretty much nobody questions. I'm all for lower emissions, regardless, but don't use that as an excuse to expand government.

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