CEI v. DOJ (Loretta Lynch/Elizabeth Carlisle)

The Competitive Enterprise Institute sued the Department of Justice for emails from former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s alias email address that used the name “Elizabeth Carlisle.” In yet another example of a high ranking official in the Obama administration using an alias email address, CEI sought emails from the Carlisle account which were to or from Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. To date the DOJ has failed to provide any response to CEI’s August, 2017, Freedom of Information Act request for these emails, so CEI is suing the department. CEI noted in its original FOIA request, a colloquy between former Attorney General Lynch and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse at a March 2016 hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary addressing Justice Department Operations. Ms. Lynch, responding to Sen. Whitehouse’s question about using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, against political opponents of the ‘climate’ agenda, stated:

“This matter has been discussed. We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on”.

This exchange rightly generated numerous headlines questioning this use of DOJ resources. This lawsuit is a next step in CEI’s investigation into Sen. Whitehouse’s call for federal racketeering investigations of opponents of the political agenda pushed in the name of climate change. In previous document productions under state open records requests, CEI encountered the Senator corresponding (via his Cox.net account) with a Senate aide, a Judiciary Committee lawyer and various college faculty activists. Subsequently, Sen. Whitehouse engaged in a colloquy at a Judiciary Committee hearing with then-AG Lynch about using the DOJ for this purpose. Lynch stated indeed it was a matter her Department had considered.