The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

We Stand with the Competitive Enterprise Institute

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.

Bravo to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) for fighting to protect all of our First Amendment rights.  CEI, a well-known Washington, D.C. public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty, filed a response today to a subpoena it received from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker.  The attorney general is a member of a group called “AG’s United for Clean Power,” which is composed of 15 state attorneys general (AGs) and the attorney general of the District of Columbia.

The Swine Line discussed Walker’s outrageous action on April 12.  CEI had been asked to produce a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding its work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information.  The subpoena demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016.

Attorney General Walker is going after CEI because the organization dares to question whether global warming is caused by man’s activities.  Here is part of what CEI’s attorney, Andrew M. Grossman, said in a letter to Attorney General Walker:

The subpoena that you served on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a blatant attempt to intimidate and harass an organization for advancing views that you oppose. There is no way to understand your demand that CEI turn over all of its internal documents concerning climate change and its communications with a corporation, ExxonMobil, other than as an effort to punish it for its public policy views, chill its associations, and silence its advocacy.  You acknowledged as much in your remarks at the March 29 “AGs United for Clean Power” press conference in New York.  You said that you launched this investigation not to carry out any law-enforcement duty, but to “make it clear to our residents as well as the American people that we have to do something transformational” about climate change, stop “rely[ing] on fossil fuel,” and “look at reliable energy.”  You are entitled to your opinions on public policy, but you have no right to wield your power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with you.”

Here is what CEI’s general counsel, Sam Kazman said:

The subpoena is as illegal as it is groundless.  It is a political ploy aimed at advancing a policy agenda by shutting down debate.  The Founding Fathers would have recognized this subpoena for what it is, an attack on our First Amendment rights.”

In March, CAGW discussed how politics is playing too large a role in the global warming debate and that there is a growing trend of public officials using their power in an attempt to frighten and silence those that disagree with the so-called “consensus” that human activity is causing global warming.  Their actions are similar to what the Catholic Church did to Galileo almost 400 years ago.

You can read more about CEI’s response here and here.  Let CEI know you support their efforts.

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