WASHINGTON –  Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today issued subpoenas to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and eight environmental organizations to obtain documents related to coordinated efforts to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, scientists and scholars of their First Amendment rights.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The attorneys general have appointed themselves to decide what is valid and what is invalid regarding climate change. The attorneys general are pursuing a political agenda at the expense of scientists’ right to free speech.

“The Committee has a responsibility to protect First Amendment rights of companies, academic institutions, scientists, and nonprofit organizations. That is why the Committee is obligated to ask for information from the attorneys general and others.  

“Unfortunately, the attorneys general have refused to give the committee the information to which it is entitled. What are they hiding? And why?”

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): “Since when did it become a crime to express or hold an opinion?  The difference of opinions is what makes our country so strong and unique. It’s this freedom without censorship or restraint that helped build our country. However, this posse of attorneys general believe that those whose opinion, or scientific research, conflicts with the alleged consensus view on climate change should be the subject of investigation and prosecution by government officials - talk about a chilling effect on free speech.”

Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas): “Since March, these attorneys general have attempted to use questionable legal tactics to force the production of documents and communications from a broad group of scientists, companies, and non-profit organizations.  These actions are an attempt to chill the scientific research of those who do not support the attorneys’ general and environmental groups’ political positions.

“These actions amount to a political attack rather than a serious inquiry based on the law.  Today’s action by the Science Committee and Chairman Smith sustains the commitment to protect the First Amendment rights of the individuals and groups targeted by the attorneys general and environmental activists.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.): “Instead of pursuing real threats to America, these attorneys general are going down a path of partisan politics and attacking people who disagree with their conclusions about climate change.  The administration has attempted to avoid all debate on climate change by circumventing Congress and signing international agreements without the consent of the Senate, and it now appears that Democratic attorneys general are following the president’s lead. 

“If the debate on climate change is settled, the environmental activists and state attorneys general should have no problem convincing the American public with their own evidence and arguments.  Why go to such great lengths to squash differing opinions and anyone who questions their conclusions? These individuals, scientists, and organizations have the right to conduct research, form their own opinions, and voice those opinions.”

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio): “Instead of upholding the constitution, protecting citizens, and putting real criminal behind bars, these attorneys general are using taxpayer dollars to manufacture charges to send a political message.  This demonstrates a clear deviation from the legal duties of an attorney general and the possible abuse of discretionary judgement. It is not the job of the attorneys general to decide what science should be conducted, and their actions indicate their intent is to silence certain voices.”

Chairman Smith followed up the subpoenas with a press conference on Capitol Hill this afternoon.

On July 6, Chairman Smith sent letters to the individuals and organizations subpoenaed today reiterating his May 18 and June 20 requests for documents and communications, setting a deadline for those documents as July 13 (today) at 12:00 p.m., and threatening the use of compulsory process pending their compliance with the requests. The attorneys general and environmental groups have refused to comply with the committee’s investigation at every step.