Virginia Court Releases RICO 20 Documents from George Mason University

A judge for the Richmond Circuit Court of Virginia on 13th May lifted his protective order on documents from and to Professor Edward Maibach of George Mason University regarding the RICO-20 letter.  The documents were immediately released and have been posted here by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

The RICO-20 letter was signed by twenty academics and sent on 1st September 2015 to U. S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama, and White House science advisor John Holdren.  They urged that “the fossil fuel industry and their allies” be investigated under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, on the grounds that they had “knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, in order to forestall America's response to climate change.”    

CEI Senior Fellow Chris Horner filed freedom of information requests in several states where the universities of the signers are located.  Maibach and George Mason University claimed that they had no documents, but other universities provided relevant e-mails to and from Maibach.  The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic filed suit in Virginia circuit court on behalf of Horner and CEI.  On 22nd April, the court ruled against GMU and Maibach on all counts.  The judge has now released the records after concluding that GMU and Maibach are unlikely to win on appeal.

My CEI colleagues and I will have more to say in the next week about what the released e-mails reveal about the wider conspiracy to criminalize climate deviationism.