A peek behind the political curtains

The good folks at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute recently shook up the “Keep It in the Ground” crowd with their bombshell report that proved that a number of state Attorneys General went to great lengths to hide the fact that they were working with environmental activists in their campaign against Exxon Mobil. According to their report, the AGs employed a “Common Interest Agreement,” which basically renders all communications among the parties involved as privileged and confidential.

But this isn’t the first blockbuster from E&E Legal. Back in April, they released email correspondence which showed that the AGs were actually giving at least one of the environmental activists media advice in an effort to hide the fact that they were working together.

On March 30th of this year, a day after the AGs held a press event with former Vice President Al Gore touting their efforts to target oil and natural gas companies, Matt Pawa—an environmental lawyer who works with the Climate Accountability Institute—emailed Eric Srolovic of the NY attorney general’s office asking how to respond to a reporter who contacted him. “What should I say if she asks if I attended [a secret briefing for the AGs]?”

Srolovic’s response: “My ask is if you speak to the reporter, to not confirm that you attended or otherwise discuss the event.”

And that’s exactly what he did, as you can see from this Reuters coverage of the meeting back in March.

According to the article, “Peter Frumhoff (of the Union of Concerned Scientists) confirmed that he was at the meeting. Pawa declined to comment. The New York attorney general's office said it routinely collaborates with other states and receives input from outside organizations but only pursues cases based on their merits and the law.”

It may be true that the NY AG’s office “routinely … receives input from outside organizations,” but this effort to hide the truth from the American public is anything but routine.