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CEI Strikes Back At Unlawful Subpoena

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In a letter and set of objections served today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) formally responded to an April 7 subpoena for a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy. CEI’s attorneys called the subpoena “an effort to punish [CEI] for its public policy views, chill its associations, and silence its advocacy.”

“Your demand on CEI is offensive, it is un-American, it is unlawful, and it will not stand,” says the letter, addressed to U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, who issued the subpoena. “You can either withdraw it or expect to fight, because CEI strongly believes that this campaign to intimidate those who dissent from the official orthodoxy on climate change must be stopped.”

CEI’s objections set forth a number of reasons why the subpoena is invalid. These range from violations of CEI’s First Amendment rights to jurisdictional defects to unduly burdensome requests. The subpoena demands production by April 30, 2016, but CEI requests an immediate withdrawal of the subpoena.

CEI 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.”

You can see CEI’s objection here. 

A letter to Attorney General Walker is available here. 

Read more about the subpoena and CEI’s response here.

CEI is represented in this matter by attorneys Andrew M. Grossman and David B. Rivkin, Jr., who recently founded the Free Speech in Science Project to defend First Amendment rights against government abuses.