New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned on May 8th within hours of The New Yorker publishing an exposé in which four former girlfriends accuse him of beating, choking, man-handling, demeaning, and threatening them. In all cases, the alleged abuse was not occasional or exceptional but continual over periods of months to years. All the while Schneiderman posed as a champion of women’s rights, recently winning the “Champions of Choice” award from the New York-based abortion rights group National Institute for Reproductive Health.
According to the New Yorker investigative report, when one girlfriend objected to Schneiderman yanking her across the street, and reminded him that jaywalking is illegal, he reportedly replied: “I am the law.”
Well, yes, that about sums it up. If the women’s accounts are true, and at this point nobody is contesting their veracity, Schneiderman is a self-righteous thug. Of course, that’s what many of us already concluded based on his official behavior.
Schneiderman spearheaded the investigations of ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, and free-market organizations with intent to silence dissenting views on climate change. In a two-part blog post back in November 2015, I described Schneiderman’s antics as “climate thuggery”—a strategy to bleed fossil fuel company shareholders under the fraudulent guise of “protecting shareholder value.”
My colleague Christopher Horner has had several go-rounds with Schneiderman, including a recent win in the New York State Supreme Court (appellate division). The court upheld CEI’s request, under the state’s freedom of information law, to produce internal documents on Schneiderman’s multi-state coalition to shut down debate on climate change.
The coalition, known as AGs United for Clean Power, burst on the scene with great fanfare in March 2016. Their ranks included the attorneys general of 15 states, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia, all hot to investigate fossil fuel companies and free-market groups. Until earlier this week, only two attorneys general, Schneiderman and Maura Healey of Massachusetts, were still active partners in the campaign. Now it’s down to Healey.
Will Schneiderman’s downfall weaken the climate litigation racket? “He [Schneiderman] was the lightning rod. He was the instigator. It definitely limits the movement when you take out the lead guy,” opines Marc Morano, who runs Climate Depot. One can hope so. Unfortunately, eco-litigators eager to shakedown fossil fuel companies and trample civil liberties are a dime a dozen.
James Delingpole has a colorful commentary titled “Why is it that so many prominent campaigners turn out to be such scumbags, sleazebags, hypocrites or frauds?” He speculates that “unpleasant people are attracted to environmental causes in order to greenwash their image.”
I incline to a more systemic explanation. Thugs are attracted to politics because they like to plunder and push other people around. To succeed in politics, however, thugs need ideological cover. Thus, as the great 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat observed, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”