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Warren: House GOP trying to ‘intimidate’ state AG over Exxon probe

Warren: House GOP trying to ‘intimidate’ state AG over Exxon probe
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate to vote on elections bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Progressives fear nightmare scenario over voting rights assault MORE (D-Mass.) is defending her state’s investigation into allegations that ExxonMobil Corp. lied about the breadth of its climate science research after a top House Republican sought records related to the probe.

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In a series of tweets Wednesday, Warren challenged House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) decision to subpoena communications between state attorneys general investigating Exxon's claims. 

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one of the leaders in that effort, and one of the officials whom Smith’s committee subpoenaed last week. Warren tweeted that Smith’s push is “how giant corporations rig the system” by trying to “intimidate” Healy.

“Now @exxonmobil got the Chair of the @HouseScience Committee — a TX Republican who has taken $675k from oil & gas — to subpoena @MassAGO,” she tweeted. 

“Yup, that’s right: House Republicans are interfering with a state AG’s ongoing investigation of a company violating state law.”

Smith, Exxon and its allies say the state investigations into the company are an attack on the First Amendment rights of scientists. Healey and other attorneys general have said they’re looking for potential fraud on the company’s part, especially as it relates to information that officials relayed to investors and the public. 

“All we’re doing is simply asking questions based on that concern, and we will go where the facts lead,” Healey said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We intend to continue aggressively with our investigation.”

Smith’s subpoena relates to communications between the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York and environmental groups. Those two states and California are each conducting their own Exxon investigations.

The Democratic Party platform, set to be approved in Philadelphia next week at the Democratic National Convention, endorses investigations into fossil fuel firms accused of downplaying climate science. Warren tweeted her encouragement for the Exxon investigation on Wednesday. 

“For the @GOP, states’ rights only apply for restricting voting rights or regulating women’s bodies. Not investigating climate change fraud,” she tweeted. 

“This is an outrageous abuse of Congressional subpoena power to threaten a state AG and help a campaign contributor. … Let me offer you a word of advice, @LamarSmithTX21 & your @exxonmobil buddies: you picked a fight with the wrong state & the wrong AG.”