The Competitive Enterprise Institute today filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, seeking copies of any agreements his office signed that would protect internal communications stemming from his investigation of ExxonMobil’s climate change record.
CEI’s suit in New York state court comes after Schneiderman denied the conservative think tank’s May 5 request under the state’s freedom of information law for any common interest agreements that his office reached with other state AGs involved in his climate oversight efforts, as well as seven individuals and green groups also involved in Exxon probes.
More than a dozen state AGs signed a common interest agreement earlier this year that allows their offices to shield communications about climate-related investigations, including against Exxon, from public view. CEI and other right-leaning critics of Schneiderman’s investigation slam the pact as an improper secrecy deal, but Schneiderman’s office has countered that common interest agreements are frequently used during multi-state inquiries.
“None of the reasons Schneiderman claimed for withholding these documents are legitimate under New York law,” CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement on the state court challenge. “The public deserves to know what this AG, and the other AGs cooperating with him, agreed to when it came to targeting their political opponents, and that’s why we sought the Common Interest Agreement in the first place.”