Washington, D.C., May 27, 2010—The Competitive Enterprise Institute today filed a lawsuit to force NASA to produce records related to last year’s “ClimateGate” scandal — records the agency has refused to produce for nearly three years.
In its complaint CEI calls for government transparency “about climate science, particularly now, when debate about climate change and ‘cap and trade’ legislation has captured sustained national attention.”
“NASA is accountable to the taxpayers and to the public” and “should not be free to treat its FOIA obligations with contempt.”
The lawsuit arises out of three CEI Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, initiated in August 2007 and originally seeking internal documents about NASA improperly boosting U.S. temperature data in this decade. Five months after the first request, CEI sought documents concerning Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a taxpayer-funded NASA researcher who, chief among other NASA scientists, spends working hours running and writing for a third-party website (RealClimate.org) that was created to defend the now-debunked “Hockey Stick” temperature graph.
After CEI submitted this FOIA request, timestamps were retroactively removed from Real Climate posts. CEI is presenting the Court with original website postings that establish how NASA facilities and staff, at taxpayer expense, are being employed to push a specific policy agenda.
The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. CEI is represented by Andrew S. Tulumello of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, which is handling the lawsuit pro bono.
“This lawsuit calls NASA to account for a nearly three-year stonewalling of internal documents illuminating key ‘backstory’ details relevant to the most critical regulatory debate of our time,” said Christopher Horner, CEI Senior Fellow, who filed the FOIA requests.
> View the lawsuit, Competitive Enterprise Institute v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
> Read background on the NASA FOIA request.
>Read more from CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner.