Democratic AGs push back against GOP chairman’s Exxon probe

Democratic AGs push back against GOP chairman’s Exxon probe
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Twelve Democratic attorneys general want a House chairman to end his investigation into state probes of Exxon Mobil Corp. 

In a letter to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the attorneys general said Smith’s subpoena of documents related to states’ Exxon investigations “exceed Congress’ constitutional authority.” They say the subpoenas, which Smith issued to the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, should be withdrawn. 

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“Your interference in our colleagues’ work ignores a 'vital consideration' under our constitutional system of dual sovereignty: the preservation of comity between the federal government and the states,” the letter, led by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, said.

Attorneys general from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington also signed the letter. 

Smith in July subpoenaed New York’s Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts’s Maura Healey and eight environmental groups, asking for records related to their investigation into whether Exxon lied to the public about its knowledge of climate change. 

Schneiderman and Healey have refused to comply with the subpoena. Their supporters — including the Massachusetts congressional delegation and, in this case, other Democratic attorneys general — have attacked the subpoena as an overextension of congressional power. Smith, Exxon and their allies say the state investigations violate Exxon’s First Amendment rights.