The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act came into being in 1970. Better known simply as the RICO Act, it was established to provide “new remedies to deal with the unlawful activities of those engaged in organized crime.”Let's take a look at the subpoena in question, shall we?
Surely there's some clever legal eagle out there who can figure out a way to apply it to 17 state attorneys general who have chosen to molest the legal system and to collude with the federal government to advance the latter's evisceration of the First Amendment in pursuit of its climate agenda.
The kingpin of this pack of Constitution-busters is Claude E. Walker, the AG for the Virgin Islands. He has issued subpoenas for communications between ExxonMobil and more than 100 American academics, scientists, think tanks and universities. He's seeking “proof” that the energy giant misled the public — and thus engaged in fraud — by having the audacity to question the theology of government-funded, climate-change “research.” [Emphasis added.]
ExxonMobil is suspected to have engaged in, or be engaging in, conduct constituting a civil violation of the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 14 V.I.C. §605, by having engaged or engaging in conduct misrepresenting its knowledge of the likelihood that its products and activities have contributed and are continuing to contribute to Climate Change in order to defraud the Government of the United States Virgin Islands (''the Government") and consumers in the Virgin Islands, in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 834 (prohibiting obtaining money by false pretenses) and 14 V.I.C. § 551 (prohibiting conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses ).And that was the subpoena's first paragraph.
So, again, we're not talking about a First Amendment issue here. We're talking about fraud. Specifically, did ExxonMobil misrepresent what it knew about climate science when it was pouring money onto the Competitive Enterprise Institute? And was the CEI a part of that fraud?
Is there any evidence to back that up?
Look at Scientific American:
Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News. This knowledge did not prevent the company (now ExxonMobil and the world’s largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation—an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobacco industry regarding the health risks of smoking. Both industries were conscious that their products wouldn’t stay profitable once the world understood the risks, so much so that they used the same consultants to develop strategies on how to communicate with the public.Now go back and look at how the Trib braintrust characterizes the subpoena. Worlds different. The allegation is that ExxonMobil knew it was funding a lie (and that's fraud). And they knew it was a lie because they'd actually done the research.
Experts, however, aren’t terribly surprised. “It’s never been remotely plausible that they did not understand the science,” says Naomi Oreskes, a history of science professor at Harvard University. But as it turns out, Exxon didn’t just understand the science, the company actively engaged with it. In the 1970s and 1980s it employed top scientists to look into the issue and launched its own ambitious research program that empirically sampled carbon dioxide and built rigorous climate models. Exxon even spent more than $1 million on a tanker project that would tackle how much CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. It was one of the biggest scientific questions of the time, meaning that Exxon was truly conducting unprecedented research.
In their eight-month-long investigation, reporters at InsideClimate News interviewed former Exxon employees, scientists and federal officials and analyzed hundreds of pages of internal documents. They found that the company’s knowledge of climate change dates back to July 1977, when its senior scientist James Black delivered a sobering message on the topic. “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels," Black told Exxon’s management committee. A year later he warned Exxon that doubling CO2 gases in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by two or three degrees—a number that is consistent with the scientific consensus today.
It's not about free speech, it's about fraud.
Needless to say the braintrust never ever gets around to talking about all the money the paper's former owner, the late Richard Mellon Scaife, gave to the CEI.
Doesn't that make him - and by extension his science denying editorial board - a part of this story?
Shouldn't they be more forthcoming about whatever connections they have with this story? The newsreading public (even those who read the Trib for its "news") deserve to know.