Category Archives: Law

E&E Legal: Private Interests & Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda

E&E Legal Releases Report Exposing Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a 501 (c) (3) watchdog group, released an investigative report, Private Interests & Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda (and an appendix of source documents), revealing a vast, coordinated, three-track effort by public officials and private interests to promote EPA’s expansive, overreaching and economically devastating greenhouse gas rules, specifically the section 111(d) regulation to shut the nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as well as the December Paris climate treaty President Obama is expected to sign to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

“Our report pulls the curtain back on a carefully planned and heavily funded ‘orchestration’ by individuals who have placed their personal interests ahead of the public interest,” said Chris Horner, E&E Legal’s Senior Legal Fellow and the report’s author.

The report is the product of open records requests over the course of a year at the federal level and nearly 30 offices in over a dozen states. The exposé contains appendices with over a hundred pages of source emails and attachments. It details a campaign to use public offices, in very close collaboration with wealthy benefactors, to advance and defend President Obama’s climate change regulatory and treaty agenda. This quasi-governmental campaign involves more than a dozen governors’ offices, with a parallel advocacy network and political operation funded and staffed by activists paid through ideologically , economically and politically motivated donors.

The report released today points to emails obtained by E&E Legal’s campaign without litigation, but also in federal district court; others are the subject of oral arguments made last week in court in Richmond, Virginia, and a new suit just filed against the Governor of Kentucky. The latter complaint objects to a false “no records” claim — about records that this report proves do in fact exist, and even quotes from, but which are being kept from the public by a governor who claims to be appalled by EPA rules his office was quietly a “core group” promoter of for the past two years.

This report is timely given President Obama’s ongoing tour to promote the same EPA rules that these governors and “major environmental donors” scheme to promote in the correspondence released today. This includes a stop today at Harry Reid’s “clean energy economy” conference, curiously also sponsored by the same donors as those playing a leading role in today’s report.

Indeed these emails E&E Legal uncovered also show this campaign was developed with the early, active support and participation of the White House, which went beyond enthusiastically embracing the plan and follow up meetings and calls, to even directing the governors to what one green trade-press outlet calls a “shadowy group” affiliated with then-Chief of Staff John Podesta. The White House’s followup actions , as one governor’s aide praised them, were “moving dials”. Podesta also convinced the governors’ offices that their plan should be broken into separate, complementary pillars. The latest email obtained, from May of this year, shows the governors’ campaign arranging to coordinate with the State Department.

The scheme took shape at a meeting in the White House in December 2013, after which the Obama administration launched coordinated with the “core group” of activist Democrat governors to design one of what we see are three tracks to promote the climate agenda. One was run by the Steyer network and left-wing foundations. Another is run by governors with green groups, which are “useful” but whose “standard NGO shaming strategy might not deliver”. A third, run by the White House includes, in the words of a senior aide, “a few other tracks with private sector and unusual allies”.

Nearly every aspect of this effort, from the key early players to the funders and even the director the governors’ campaign hired — housed by some state’s taxpayers in the Hall of States in Washington, DC, overhead paid for by as-yet unknown means — has direct ties to a scandal involving “clean energy” donors and conflicts of interest, one which felled Oregon’s sitting governor earlier this year.

In what is possibly the most intriguing element, seemingly out of an episode of “House of Cards”, Democratic governors’ aides repeatedly reference a plan of “creative engagement” to “compel” certain electric utilities — those subject to their jurisdiction whose businesses cross lines into states led by Republicans — to bring “red state” governors around to support the EPA rules: “[B]ecause there are key utilities whose service territories cross red and blue states Governors in these states could quietly engineer a breakthrough strategy that compels utilities in key red states to lead the charge to win over a key Governor, rather than rely on a standard NGO-shaming strategy that might not deliver.”

The “core group” of governors also coordinated with Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer and his managing partner, Ted White, who directed them to “affiliated groups that we founded and fund (such as NextGen Climate Action, or Next Generation, or AEE [Advanced Energy Economy]” . Those groups in turn underwrote consultants and activists to hand-hold governors through implementing the Obama EPA’s rules, keeping them from the clutches of the “just say no” states.

This core group soon expanded to more than a dozen states, coast-to- coast, embracing a four-point plan which they soon called the Governor’s Climate Compact or GCC, which was ultimately rebranded as the Governors’ Climate Accord or GCA and now goes by the name of the Governors Clean Energy Initiative (none of which have any internet footprint whatsoever, and begging the question who is indeed paying for its director and other overhead). The emails do reflect an awareness that the agenda’s lack of popularity in the “flyover states” necessitated a flexible timeline and keeping some offices’ involvement quiet, specifically citing elections as a concern.

“This is the 5th transparency report in a series that E&E Legal has published on the ‘green movement’ and its network of public, private, and business interests, and what is clear is that 1%-ers are using ‘climate’ policies to destroy politically disfavored industries in order to transfer wealth to the politically preferred,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal Executive Director. “The campaign by self-serving individuals must be made known to the public as policymakers consider this plan that will destroy parts of our economy and ruin the most efficient, affordable, and clean energy system ever created.”

 
[H/T WUWT]

Tracinski: I Have Seen the Future, and It Is (Shudder) Canadian

[Editor’s note: there are multiple links in this article referencing the commentary. Please refer to the original article for these sources.]

I Have Seen the Future, and It Is (Shudder) Canadian

By Robert Tracinski August 7, 2015, The Federalist

It’s a bit fashionable to poke gentle fun at our national Northern suburb, especially for those of us on the right, who are used to viewing Canada is a warning of where we’ll be if we go a little farther to the left. I’m not sure how much that’s true these days; I would trade Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Barack Obama in a heartbeat. But it’s true in one particular respect.

The Canadians don’t have our Constitution. They share a common British legal heritage, but they enjoy less in the way of explicit protections for liberty—or rather, such provisions are much more recent and don’t enjoy the same tradition of robust interpretation. So Canada is a cautionary tale for what would happen here if the First Amendment is further eroded.

Specifically, Canada has pioneered the left’s idea of having race and gender “sensitivity” be enforced by law, a job they have given over to the kangaroo courts of local “human rights commissions.” For example, Canadian lawyer, columnist, and publisher Ezra Levant was hauled before the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission after Islamic groups filed a complaint against his publication of the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in the Western Standard. The complaint was eventually dropped after Levant placed it under harsh public scrutiny, including videotaping his questioning by the commission and posting it online.

Then again, he was forced to devote time and money to fighting off a form of legal harassment. Sometimes the prosecution is the punishment.

Now Levant is being targeted again by the Law Society of Alberta, in response to a complaint from lawyer Arman Chak, a former member of the Alberta commission. Chak’s complaint is that Levant’s description of the commission as “crazy town” in a newspaper column is “unbecoming” of a lawyer, for which he should be fined or lose his license. Specifically, Levant wrote, “But with human rights commissions, when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you haven’t. The crazy keeps going down. You gotta get out your shovel and dig to get to the crazy that’s underneath the crazy.” Which sounds just about right.

The Canadian blog Small Dead Animals, but the way, provides the perfect response to the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s apparent sensitivity to criticism.

Maybe Levant will be cleared in this inquiry, and even if he is fined, he does not currently work as a lawyer, so the professional damage to him will be limited. But the message has been sent pretty clearly: no one in Canada with any background or expertise as a lawyer is welcome to criticize its human rights commissions.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, graphic designer Gregory Elliot is on trial for “criminal harassment” via Twitter. We should stop right there and observe that there is probably no way to actually criminally harass anyone on Twitter, especially since the service includes a handy “block” function that makes it easy to ignore your critics.

In fact, according to an excellent National Post report from Christie Blatchford, “it’s not alleged he ever threatened either woman (or any other, according to the testimony of the Toronto Police officer, Detective Jeff Bangild, who was in charge).” But it turns out the case is about harassment, after all.

He and [accuser Steph] Guthrie…initially fell out over his refusal to endorse her plan to “sic the Internet” upon a young man in Northern Ontario who had invented a violent video game, where users could punch an image of a feminist video blogger named Anita Sarkeesian until the screen turned red.

Guthrie Tweeted at the time that she wanted the inventor’s “hatred on the Internet to impact his real-life experience”

and Tweeted to prospective employers to warn them off the young man and even sent the local newspaper in his town a link to the story about the game.

Elliott disagreed with the tactic and Tweeted he thought the shaming “was every bit as vicious as the face-punch game.”

So it started with Elliot’s refusal to endorse a campaign of harassment—and then he became the object of such a campaign himself.

Guthrie and Reilly didn’t behave as though they were remotely frightened or intimidated: they convened a meeting of friends to discuss how Elliott should be publicly shamed; they bombarded their followers with furious tweets and retweets about him (including a grotesque suggestion from someone pretending she was a 13-year-old that he was a pedophile); they could and did dish it out.

Then, of course, they dragged him into court. So anti-harassment laws are being used as a tool of harassment. Who could have predicted that?

There’s a good chance this case won’t succeed, but once again, the prosecution is the punishment. Blatchford reports that after his initial arrest, Elliot was fired from job.

We should thank heaven we live in the good old US of A, where everyone has a God-given right to be a jerk on Twitter. But we shouldn’t be complacent. Bear in mind the ominous example of Wisconsin’s John Doe prosecutions—a campaign finance witch hunt by rogue prosecutors against Republican political groups who were prohibited by gag orders from defending themselves or even explaining to their neighbors why their houses had been raided by armed officers in the middle of the night.

The John Doe cases were recently shot down rather firmly by Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, which declared that “the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law” and that he “employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.” Then again, the court was calling on America’s relatively strong interpretation of freedom of speech: “The special prosecutor has disregarded the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of protection.”

On the one hand, this is reassuring, particularly since the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision provides a convincing brief for the civil rights suit that will likely proceed against the rogue prosecutors. But the Canadian cases indicate how fragile freedom of speech is, the determination of today’s left to stamp out the speech of its enemies, and the Orwellian constructs they have created to crush free speech in the name of “human rights.”

This doesn’t need to be the future, but it will be if we don’t fight back.

Gallery

Bill C51- Canada’s new anti-terrorism legislation

“An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and … Continue reading

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Social media, content re-distribution, copyright and info chill…

By Stephen D’Allotte, March 12, 2015. Editorial Times We’ve been giving a lot of thought recently about how, in this new era of digital media, information and content are used and presented to the world at large. We’ve had to … Continue reading

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Krayewski: Blurred Lines – Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Lawsuits

Blurred Lines: Prepare for Endless Frivolous Copyright Lawsuits What Pandora’s box of litigation did the ruling in favor of Marvin Gaye’s estate in the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit open? By Ed Krayewski, March 12, 2015, Reason.com  The Internet appeared to rejoice … Continue reading

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Kheiriddin: This isn’t about the right to choose a burka over a bikini. It’s about a country’s values

This isn’t about the right to choose a burka over a bikini. It’s about a country’s values By Tasha Kheiriddin, March 11, 2015, National Post Full Comment Political parties can’t be all things to all people, nor should they. Instead, … Continue reading

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Vladeck: The Iran Letter and the Logan Act

Editor’s note: The following post (from Vladeck’s blog Lawfare) is a summary analysis of the essence of a current petition being hosted on the White House website, as discussed here. Sen Tom Cotton, lead signatory to the letter, outlines the … Continue reading