Previously Sealed Emails to NY AG Private Account Give Glimpse of Donor-Activist-Litigation Axis - Climate Litigation Watch

Previously Sealed Emails to NY AG Private Account Give Glimpse of Donor-Activist-Litigation Axis

The long and sordid history of the New York OAG’s disastrous prosecution of ExxonMobil for alleged climate crimes, gamely replicated by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey in Massachusetts as the New York case disintegrated in court, is well-chronicled here at CLW. 

As is the more recent push to obtain records sealed during that first action. At least some were improperly sealed, we now see for certain.

Active political donor Patricia Bauman directs the Bauman Foundation, which is a major donor to the New Venture Fund, Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund (quite the connection here, whose BF page has disappeared), among other components of the climate litigation industry. Ms. Bauman refers “climate nuisance” tort lawyer Matt Pawa to two people when he comes around pitching his efforts: Richard Ayres and disgraced former NY AG Eric Schneiderman.

Pawa then follows up with Schneiderman, with one of several emails encouraging the AG use his office as Pawa has been calling for since at least the 2012 plea for “a single sympathetic attorney general” — in a report CLW has learned was not in fact originally intended for publication but, the authors suggested, might get out.

As the transcript excerpt, below (pp. 26-28), indicates, these newly released records shed further light on the dangerous commitment among donors, activists and the tort bar to deploy willing law enforcement to advance private ends, at the request of private parties.

MR. ANDERSON: Your Honor, why don’t we begin with the Eric Schneiderman emails.

So, one of the innocuous emails that Mr. Montgomery was just referring to is on Slide 12. And I use “Innocuous” with quotes around it.

In this email Mat Pawa, who has openly advocated using the coercive power of state officials like the Attorney General, to compel, intimidate Exxon Mobil to change its position on climate change and climate policy, wrote a substantive email to Mr. Schneiderman’s Gmail account on February 5, 2016 where he said that — and this is in the upper right hand side of the slide, Judge, that “We spent a fair amount of time thinking about consumer fraud remedies and believe that a court could require Exxon to make available in electronic format its decades of documents on what it knew and when it knew it, make corrective statements admitting that its products contribute to global warming and that global warming poses a threat of extraordinary harm to humanity and that fossil fuel usage must be significantly reduced and admit they’ve deceived the public. These kinds of remedies would be a game changer.”

And what he’s talking about there, Judge, is the improper use of official coercive power to make Exxon Mobil change the way it speaks about climate policy and about climate change.

Mr. Pawa laid out that agenda years earlier at a conference in La Jolla, California–that’s also reproduced in the slide deck–where he encouraged the use of state power. He describes it on Page 3 of our deck, Judge. He says that, “I we can recruit a single sympathetic state attorney he might have substantial I success bringing key internal documents to light.”

Now, why do they want key internal documents to be brought to light? Pawa explains. He says, “We want to maintain pressure on the industry that could eventually lead to its support for legislative and regulatory responses to global warming.”