Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) placed a full page color advertisement in The New York Times defending every American’s right to free speech. The advertisement, which is an open letter from 43 signers–organizations, legal experts, and individuals—is a response to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, and a coalition of other “AGs United for Clean Power” investigating more than 100 businesses, nonprofits, and private individuals who question their positions on climate change.
“Attempts to intimidate CEI and our allies and silence our policy research are unconstitutional,” said CEI president Kent Lassman, whose nonprofit organized and sponsored the advertisement. “The First Amendment protects us and everyone has a duty to respect it — even state attorneys general. CEI will continue to fight for all Americans to support the causes in which they believe.”
On April 7, 2016, CEI received a subpoena from AG Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands that attempts to unearth a decade of the organization’s materials and work on climate change policy. This is the latest effort in an intimidation campaign to criminalize speech and research on the climate debate. On April 20, CEI filed an objection to the subpoena calling it “offensive,” “un-American,” and “unlawful.” On May 16, CEI asked the court to fine AG Walker for violating CEI’s First Amendment rights. The full text of the ad is below and can be found here.