Washington state's Attorney GeneralBob Ferguson (D) has a message for U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R): bugger off. At least when it comes to his state and its investigation of ExxonMobil over charges it tried to hide global warming from the public. Smith, who is the chairman of theHouse Science Committee, recently sent letters to the 17 U.S. Attorneys General (AGs) pursuing ExxonMobil under the RICO statute. Smith has asked for any communications with green groups, the EPA, or each other as it relates to the oil giant’s so-called climate change denial.

Smith asked that any communications regarding the oil giant’s investigation be sent to his committee.

Ferguson fired off a letter to Rep. Smith denying his panel’s inquiry into potential communications he may have had with third-party entities about ExxonMobil’s so-called denial of climate change.

Big Oil versus Big Government

Smith believes that certain AGs are working in concert with Al Gore, green activists, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to demonize ExxonMobil on the public stage over claims they knew that carbon dioxide emissions may cause climate change. Smith thinks the AGs’ investigation, being spearheaded by New York’s AG Eric Schneiderman, is akin to a witch hunt designed to squelch free speech rights and impede an individual or group’s right to disagree with the Obama administration.

Emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that after government officials met with leading environmental activist groups, they determined that the RICO statute could be used as a weapon against the oil giant.

Collusion and secret meetings

Participants gathered Jan. 8 at the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) headquarters, a left-wing foundation, to discuss using the RICO statute to silence climate change skeptics.

According to a copy of the meeting agenda, the RFF, Greenpeace, and other environmental groups discussed ways to “delegitimize [ExxonMobil] as a political actor, force officials to disassociate themselves from Exxon, and drive divestment from Exxon."

Big Green activists even discussed using left-leaning AGs, who have vast discretionary powers, to go after ExxonMobil and bring climate change and fossil fuels into the 2016 election.

Emails obtained by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute in April showed how Schneiderman and other politically aligned AGs covertly teamed up with anti-fossil fuel activists to target groups whose political rhetoric challenged President Obama’s catastrophic global warming narrative.

The Gore Group Initiative

Schneiderman, flanked by Al Gore and nine other AGs, said at a March 29 press conference that those defending ExxonMobil do not have the right to “commit fraud” and said they would find “creative ways” to prosecute fossil fuel companies, individuals, and organizations. Subpoenas were later sent out by AG Claude Walker requesting all communications that ExxonMobil had with over 100 conservative and libertarian think tanks, foundations, universities, individual researchers, scientists, and writers.

Public Records Act.

Smith is asking for any materials between the AG's office and other states, correspondence with the EPA, and communications with environmental groups. Ferguson told Smith that there was no state or federal law that allowed congress or any committee to require state officials, like himself, to turn over communications he had with other states or entities. But if compelled to testify before the panel, Ferguson would be required to appear or face contempt charges. Ferguson also wrote that if Smith wanted this information, he should use the state’s Public Records Act, similar to the Federal Government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Meanwhile, Ferguson also made it clear his state would not be part of the RICO investigation, but it has joined New York and 14 other Democratic-run states in defending the Obama administration's bid to limit greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Power Plan.

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