Law Professors tell House Committee It’s on Legal Track to Subpoena Attorneys General in Fraud Probe


The Republicans who issued subpoenas to state Attorneys General and environmental groups investigating Exxon Mobil Corp. received legal advice this week giving them support for what they’re doing.

Three of four law professors from schools around the country told Representatives Frank Lucas and James Bridenstine and others on the U.S. House Committee on Science, space and Technology they were well within their congressional rights to issue the subpoenas.

George Washington University Law school professor Jonathan Turley said the objections of the attorneys general in question are “fundamentally flawed, and this Committee clearly has the authority under Artcile 1 of the Constitution to demand compliance with its subpoenas.”

The House Committee is probing reported collusion between the climate-change research groups and the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts.

“If this Committee’s investigation shows that one or more State Attorneys General are chilling scientific investigations into global warming, the Committee should offer legislation to increase or redirect federal funds in order to counterbalance this harassment,” said Chapman University law school professor Ronald D. Rotunda. “However, the Committee cannot know the extent of the harassment unless it investigates and it cannot investigate if the State attorneys General refuse to comply with its subpoenas—-the Attorneys General have no privilege to refuse to comply…..”

Florida International University law school professor Elizabeth Price Foley told the committee the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that Congress’s investigatory power is as penetrating and far-reaching as the potential power to enact and appropriate under the Constitution.

The only law school professor to disagree with Charles Tiefer of the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“When you seek material from State Attorneys General on their investigation of climate risk fraud, however, your position is without constitutional and legal merit. It is simply bogus,” he told the committee.


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