What Others Are Saying about CEI’s Climate Change Subpoena


Since CEI was subpoenaed by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands on April 8, 2016, for energy and climate work from 20 years ago, media, commentators, and organizations alike have weighed in on this latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate, led by a coalition of state attorneys general and former Vice President Al Gore.

“Not everyone believes that the planet is warming; not everyone who thinks that it is warming agrees on how much; not everyone who thinks that it is warming even believes that laws or regulation can make a difference. Yet the goal of these state attorneys general seems to be to treat disagreement as something more or less criminal. That’s wrong.” – Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 4/11

“There's a big difference between articulating or acting upon scientific consensus and enforcing it as a matter of unassailable fact. We don't need government bullies and political opportunists defining acceptable science. That's not how science works in the first place. It's a process that seeks to answer the fundamental questions of our existence rather than an immutable set of concrete facts we use to pummel each other into political submission.” – Cameron Smith, AL.com, 4/9

“The rule of law, and our norms about free speech, represent a sort of truce between both sides. We all agree to let other people talk, because we don’t want to live in a world where we ourselves are not free to speak. Because we do not want to be silenced by an ambitious prosecutor, we should all be vigilant when ambitious prosecutors try to silence anyone else.” – Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View, 4/8

“This is happening at a time of multiple, vigorous, sustained legal attacks on what had been accepted freedoms of advocacy and association… If the forces behind this show-us-your-papers subpoena succeed in punishing (or simply inflicting prolonged legal harassment on) groups conducting supposedly wrongful advocacy, there’s every reason to think they will come after other advocacy groups later. Like yours.” – Walter Olson, Overlawyered, 4/8

“You messed with the wrong think tank.” – American Energy Alliance, 4/8

“In a truly outrageous abuse of his authority and a misuse of the law, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Claude E. Walker, has served a subpoena on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)… There are so many things wrong with this that it is hard to know where to start. First of all, the basis for the investigation is absurd… This investigation is intended to silence and chill any opposition. It is disgraceful and contemptible behavior by public officials who are willing to exploit their power to achieve ideological ends.” – Hans von Spakovsky, The Daily Signal, 4/8

“Former Vice President Al Gore and several liberal attorneys general are stepping up their attack on companies and organizations that question global warming, using "McCarthy-style tactics" to criminalize critics and their supporters, according to one target.” – Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 4/8

“CEI is the latest victim of the witch-hunt on climate change skeptics, but CEI is fighting back… This attack on CEI is the latest in an ever increasing trend of the government intimidation of conservatives.”Conservative Review, 4/7 

“No matter what you feel, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative libertarian think tank dedicated to free enterprise and limited government, is absolutely entitled to take the views that it does, to argue its views, and to be as wrong as it wants to be. And for the offense of thinking wrong about climate change, CEI has become the target of a subpoena to reveal the culprits of its “worst thing ever” ideas.” – Scott H. Greenfield, Simple Justice, 4/8

“The AG has demanded 20 years of their climate work and their goal is intimidation. This is a fishing expedition and if they succeed in their assault, it will have a chilling effect on free speech. CEI is fighting back. . .” – S. Noble, Independent Sentinel, 4/8