By signing a “secrecy pact” with fellow Democrat attorneys general preparing to prosecute climate change skeptics, Rhode Island’s top law enforcement officer jeopardized free speech rights and government transparency laws, according to two legal organizations that have taken him to court.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s tactics in supporting President Barack Obama’s climate change policy violate state law guaranteeing access to public records, the two groups, Energy and Environment Legal Institute and Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, claim in their lawsuit.
If Kilmartin and the other attorneys general prevail in the deal to keep select details secret, the ordinary citizen will be the loser, Chris Horner, a leading critic of climate change orthodoxy, said.
“It will mean that they can create privilege for what are otherwise public records, even when shared with ideological activists and donors, so long as everyone who wants to keep their scheming secret agrees in advance,” Horner told The Daily Signal.
The lawsuit, filed July 27 in Rhode Island Superior Court, calls for Kilmartin, a Democrat, to release records that were not previously disclosed in response to the legal organizations’ request in April.
At issue is a “Climate Change Conference Common Interest Agreement” that, email records show, Kilmartin’s representative signed along with representatives of 16 other state attorneys general.
In the past few months, leading political figures and academics who support Obama’s policy on climate change have called for prosecuting those who disagree under the federal law known as RICO—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Congress passed RICO in 1978 for the purpose of prosecuting mob crimes, but now climate change activists want to use it against organizations, corporations, and individual scientists who are convinced that human activity is responsible for catastrophic climate change.
On March 29, like-minded state attorneys general calling themselves AGs United for Clean Power, held a press conference in New York with former Vice President Al Gore to announce formation of “an unprecedented coalition of top law enforcement” to “defend climate change progress made under President Obama.”