Senator: Use RICO Laws to Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics

By Mark Hemingway,  WeeklyStandard

Writing in the Washington Post, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, offered a curious suggestion for dealing with global warming skeptics:

In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies’ fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: “Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective — to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.”
The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. … The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle’s report states, “span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.” Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.
The tobacco industry was proved to have conducted research that showed the direct opposite of what the industry stated publicly — namely, that tobacco use had serious health effects. Civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has crossed this same line. We do know that it has funded research that — to its benefit — directly contradicts the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science. One scientist who consistently published papers downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change, Willie Soon, reportedly received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility interests: more than $1.2 million.
To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.

That’s right — a sitting U.S. Senator is suggesting using RICO laws should be applied to global warming skeptics. Courts have been defining RICO down for some time and in ways that aren’t particularly helpful. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled RICO statutes could be applied to pro-life activists on the grounds that interstate commerce can be affected even when the organization being targeted doesn’t have economic motives.

Read the rest of the article here.

  • Just-Sayin’

    What an anal opening. Makes me want sea levels to actually rise drastically and flood all of RI so this guy would be unemployed.

  • Ryan

    Global climate change is so divisive and naturally there’s a lot of hate thrown by each side of the debate, just like every divisive issue in American politics. But climate change is so much more dangerous than cigarettes, and so much harder to deal with, we don’t have time to wait around and see who wins the debate. Instead of investing energy in argument, intelligent voters should invest their energy in researching information about climate change in as unbiased sources as they can find, and then decide for themselves what needs to be done. Don’t form your opinions about this based on things you read on liberal or conservative political sites, listen to the people who care about the issue for no other reason than because they believe it’s important.

    • Judith77

      Climate Scientists have been invented for the UN and to enforce tax and regulation on the globe. We can always do well with researching alternatives such as solar; but the alarmists are causing people to not have a family because they don’t want another ‘carbon footprint.’ That’s just one way people are dealing with their fright. TIME and Science instructors around the country were speaking about global freezing in the 70’s. We can all look for alternatives without the fear mongering.

      • Ryan

        It’s understandable to take that position when alarmists are telling you things like don’t have more kids and extreme things like that, but at the same time just because scientists were wrong about global freezing in the 70s doesn’t mean the current climate change issue isn’t worth giving serious thought. Instead of letting your opinions get politicalized by things you hear about climate scientists just being liars attempting to raise taxes and stuff, listen seriously to the people who are dedicating their lives to tracking climate change. Forget about all the liberal vs conservative BS and do some research for yourself before you decide, because if climate change does turn out to be very dangerous we’ll both be sorry if you hadn’t.

  • Timothy Weaver
  • LouisD

    Seriously? Just when I thought there could not be a more moronic bunch of twits, this guy steps up and calls for an end to the 1st Amendment. If I were standing before him, I would ask how many times his mother dropped him on his head as a baby. What a total shit-head for brains and the only people more supercilious than him are the ignorant dip-wads that voted for him. Seriously, shouldn’t there be an IQ test to go with the Age 35 qualification. .

  • danybhoy

    It’s funny that Whitehouse used tobacco as an example. Because these dolts want to employ the same tactic on “GlobalWarming/ClimteCange”, tax them to make the end product so cost prohibitive that t is unaffordable. This has nothing to do with science, well maybe political science, & all about taxation & control. Whitehouse is progressive nutcase & needs to beaten back in the political arena. But he’ll be around forever, as RI is as blue as it gets. As long as he is alive, he will get re-elected.

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