For lawsuits to ‘weaken the political influence of the oil industry by leveraging the Exxon investigation…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) As cities, counties, and states have opened climate change liability lawsuits and investigations on fossil fuel corporations, strings of suspicious donations paid by climate change activists to government officials have appeared.
New evidence revealed that billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer gave multiple donations to municipalities in California around the time the cities and counties filed lawsuits against fossil fuel companies, Energy in Depth reported.
In 2015, Steyer denied involvement with the anti-fossil fuel lawsuits, now known as #ExxonKnew.
“We’re definitely not pushing this thing…We are not part of this effort,” he said.
Yet a memo released by The Daily Caller found a clear link between the litigation and Steyer’s environmental agenda, with the stated goal to “maintain pressure on the Fossil Fuel industry to accelerate transition to clean energy economy.”
The memo also called for the lawsuits to “weaken the political influence of the oil industry by leveraging the Exxon investigation by Inside Climate News and the New York Attorney General.”
The memo came shortly after the New York Post revealed a secret memo from Robert Kennedy Jr. to former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that asked for a “corporate death penalty” on ExxonMobil.
Energy in Depth linked this information to a leaked memo from a meeting of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which had the goals to “establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution” and “delegitimize them as a political actor.”
They also established the goal “to force officials to disassociate themselves from Exxon, their money, and their historic opposition to climate progress, for example by refusing campaign donations, refusing to take meetings, calling for a price on carbon, etc.”
The memo specifically identified “AGs” as “avenues for legal actions.”
The #ExxonKnew campaign made these accusations despite Exxon’s claim they have invested $8 billion in clean energy technology, the New York Post reported.
Marin County and the City of Imperial Beach filed climate liability lawsuits on July 17, 2017, and then Steyer’s contributions began.
A few weeks later, on Aug. 2, 2017, the NextGen California Committee, Steyer’s non-profit environmental organization, donated $30,000 to the Democratic Central Committee of Marin County.
On August 3, Steyer’s group donated $114,000 to the San Diego County Democratic Party.
The City of Imperial Beach is in San Diego County.
The trend continued in San Francisco, according to Energy in Depth.
San Francisco sued Exxon on Sept. 20, 2017 and the city’s mayor, Ed Lee, subsequently received $30,000 from Steyer.
Next Gen California Committee also paid $500,000 to Oakland before it began climate liability litigation.
A leaked memo sent from attorney Matt Pawa, who is the plaintiff for San Francisco and Oakland in their lawsuits, to Steyer presented the legal case against Exxon Mobil for its willful contributions to climate change.
“A growing mountain of evidence points to Tom Steyer as the major force behind the climate litigation effort in California, making it increasingly difficult for Steyer to try to deny his involvement in the campaign,” Energy in Depth reported Spencer Walrath wrote. “This latest memo and the accompanying donations could create legal headaches for the plaintiffs if a judge determines they were paid by Steyer to bring frivolous lawsuits in service of Steyer’s political agenda.”