Environmentalist Group Warned Against Federal Charges for ‘Deniers’

The Washington Free Beacon discusses CEI's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against RICO-20 letter signers and George Mason University and the emails Chris Horner recieved as a result. 

The UCS emails were among those shared exclusively with the Washington Free Beacon on Friday after a Virginia judge rejected George Mason’s attempts to seal the records pending litigation over an open records lawsuit brought by attorney Chris Horner.

Horner filed an open records request in September seeking emails to and from GMU climatologist Jagadish Shukla and Dr. Edward Maibach, who directs GMU’s Center for Climate Change Communication.

That strategy is now playing out in 17 states, where Democratic attorneys general have teamed up to bring racketeering charges against Exxon Mobil. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, has also been subpoenaed by the AG of the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of the campaign.

Horner, who is also a senior legal fellow at CEI, sought records that he expected would show Shukla, Maibach, and other public university scientists working behind the scenes to advance the legal campaign against oil companies and groups that take policy positions contrary to those of the AGs going after Exxon.

GMU initially told Horner that there were no responsive documents to open records requests. But he received emails from requests filed with other state universities that included emails to or from Shukla and Maibach. He sued GMU to compel the release of those and other emails.

A Virginia court ruled last month that GMU did in fact withhold responsive documents, and ordered their release. The university is appealing that decision to the Virginia Supreme Court, and sought on Friday to prevent the documents’ release pending that appeal.

A judge in Richmond rejected that request on Friday, allowing the documents to be released. If the case does proceed to the Supreme Court, Virginia attorney general Mark Herring, who has joined in the state-level legal campaign against Exxon Mobil, will be the first official involved in that effort to attempt to prevent the release of documents pertaining to it.

Read the full article at the Washington Free Beacon