Attorney General Paxton Intervenes in First Amendment Case

Published 9:09 am Monday, May 16, 2016

Virgin Island AG Investigating ExxonMobil for Climate Change Opinion

 Special to The Leader

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday joined Alabama in asking a state judge to put an end to a ridiculous investigation launched against ExxonMobil by Claude Earl Walker, Attorney General of the Virgin Islands. Walker, working with a Washington, D.C.-based private law firm, issued a subpoena for more than four decades’ worth of Exxon records, alleging the company has engaged in racketeering due to its stated position on climate change, in a clear contradiction to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“This case is about abusing the power of the subpoena to force Exxon to turn over many decades’ worth of records, so an attorney general with an agenda can pore over them in hopes of finding something incriminating,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “It’s a fishing expedition of the worst kind, and represents an effort to punish Exxon for daring to hold an opinion on climate change that differs from that of radical environmentalists.”

The First Amendment ensures that all people are free to hold opinions and promote them in public debate. This action by the Virgin Islands’ AG could effectively set a precedent that anyone can be criminally investigated because of their stated opinions. ExxonMobil, which employs thousands in Texas, faces high court costs if the investigation goes forward.

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