Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) won a major court victory last week in a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Schneiderman. They demanded he disclose documents under New York’s Freedom of Information Law that outlines agreements he made with other attorneys general and allied non-profits regarding Attorneys General United for Clean Power – the coalition which subpoenaed CEI about our climate and energy work.
CEI’s General Counsel, Sam Kazman noted: “CEI’s court victory is a blow to the anti-free speech campaign led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. While the campaign by him and his cohorts that began in March continues against those who disagree with him on global warming, we are glad to see that it is being held subject to the basic laws of the land. By requiring Schneiderman to fully comply with our freedom of information request, the court is ensuring that agencies cannot use shortcuts as a means of skirting New York’s Freedom of Information law.”
While the litigation victory gained attention across several media platforms, my favorite headline came from The New York Post editorial yesterday, “The disclosure that could end Eric Schneiderman’s career.” Read the full editorial below:
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s witch hunt against supposed “climate-science deniers” became an even more embarrassing debacle late last month — and just might wind up ending his career.
A state judge ruled in favor of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank whose Freedom of Information request the AG had denied. That gave Schneiderman 30 days to cough up documents concerning his agreements with other states’ AGs, and with a group of green activists, about their joint persecution of ExxonMobile and other entities for supposed “climate fraud.”
CEI had been targeted by one of Schneiderman’s co-conspirators, the Virgin Islands AG, with legal demands that plainly aimed at suppressing free speech and scientific inquiry that the nonprofit sponsors.
The think tank’s lawyers believe the documents could show improper conduct by the AGs. If they do, Schneiderman faces serious trouble.
Oh, and New York taxpayers are out some more cash over the AG’s bid to dodge the Freedom of Information Law: The court ordered Schneiderman to cover CEI’s court costs, because his defense of his denial of the FOIL request was so transparently lame. (His brief merely quoted New York law, without even making any argument as to why it applied in this case.)
It all began in March, at a press conference where Schneiderman and 16 other AGs seemed to join Al Gore to announce joint operations against Exxon. In fact, more of the AGs were never on board — they’d shown up for a far less ambitious announcement.
And both of the two AGs who did mean to work with Schneiderman have now backed out, with the Virgin Islands AG completely abandoning his suits and the Massachusetts AG “suspending” her work until further notice.
Schneiderman, meanwhile, has dropped his initial claims that Exxon covered up scientific findings. He had to: The evidence is clear that for decades the company’s been publishing scientific results that fit neatly into the mainstream.
Instead, the AG is now (supposedly) chasing a legal case based on the company’s failure to report the value of its oil reserves in the way he thinks it should.
(Seriously: The charge is that Exxon is overvaluing its oil reserves, because it doesn’t note the risk that anti-warming laws might make the petroleum worthless. Hmm: How is that going to fly with “climate science skeptic” Donald Trump sitting in the White House?)
Schneiderman maintains he shouldn’t have to come clean because he signed confidentiality agreements with the other AGs. But his office won’t say whether it’s going to appeal the FOIL ruling or obey the judge’s order.
If he does keep refusing to comply with the Freedom of Information Law, you have to think he’s worried about what those documents will reveal.