Democratic presidential candidates have gone so far off the rails that they are now even fabricating their records to promote policies so far to the left that they are at odds with many former top Obama Administration officials.
Last week, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) lied and said she sued Exxon Mobil when she was California’s attorney general. In reality, she did not sue Exxon—she only investigated the oil company. While this demonstrates Harris’s loose relationship with the truth, it does show she thinks it’s good to sue Exxon and other energy companies.
Harris supports climate litigation, even if she hasn’t pushed it herself. Climate litigation aims to punish energy companies for the sake of the environment. These lawsuits don’t actually help the environment, but they do waste taxpayer dollars on behalf of politicians’ ambitions, and enrich plaintiff attorneys.
One such politician is disgraced New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman investigated Exxon for three years and helped organize national litigation efforts against energy companies until his resignation over alleged sexual misconduct. His successor, however, carried on Schneiderman’s mission and filed a lawsuit against Exxon.
Leftists imagine climate change is the direct result of greedy corporations willfully destroying the environment for profit. Someone must pay, even if the environment is no better because of it.
Some Democratic presidential candidates want to take it to the next level and use the power and resources of the federal government against energy companies.
While Harris did not sue Exxon as California attorney general, her climate plan calls for energy companies to be sued for rising sea levels and melting ice caps. She also wants to make it easier for others to sue these companies.
“Access to the courts is fundamental for Americans to hold polluters accountable,” her climate plan states. “By statutorily reinforcing standing for those harmed by pollution and strengthening counsel-access provisions, we can protect access to the courts for citizens seeking restitution for environmental and climate-related damages.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wants to take it a step further and jail energy executives.
“Fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused,” Sanders tweeted in August. Sanders’ climate plan centers around the Green New Deal, a fantasy plan that will require billions upon billions to even attempt. The democratic socialist suggests that the government can pay for it through litigation against energy companies.
“We cannot accomplish any of these goals without taking on the fossil fuel billionaires whose greed lies at the very heart of the climate crisis,” his plan declares. “These executives have spent hundreds of millions of dollars protecting their profits at the expense of our future, and they will do whatever it takes to squeeze every last penny out of the Earth. Bernie promises to go further than any other presidential candidate in history to end the fossil fuel industry’s greed, including by making the industry pay for its pollution and prosecuting it for the damage it has caused.”
Billionaire and longshot Democratic candidate Tom Steyer has had a hand in climate litigation. His PAC, NextGen Climate Action, was briefed by liberal activists on the plan to sue energy companies in 2016. Schneiderman sought campaign funds from Steyer on the basis of his politically motivated lawsuits.
Democrats think climate litigation is a great idea, but how would such lawsuits benefit Americans? Not a whole lot. “Victory” would mean higher energy prices and a greater reliance on foreign fossil fuels as companies are hamstrung by frivolous litigation.
But leftists and liberals would enjoy the benefits of these lawsuits. For one, their groups will be richly rewarded if the litigation succeeds. In addition, the lawsuits themselves provide them with a tantalizing fundraising pitch to donors—especially trial lawyers. In 2016, legal professionals contributed $41.6 million to Hillary Clinton, and only $1.8 million to Donald Trump. The Democrats know these lawsuits simultaneously will enrich their wealthy donors while also appealing to their socialist base.
Besides the financial incentive, there’s the ideological resentment to be satisfied. Leftists imagine climate change is the direct result of greedy corporations willfully destroying the environment for profit. There must be a guilty party for this crime, and these energy executives serve this role. Sanders’s plan spells this out. So does Harris’s proposal.
Someone must pay, even if the environment is no better because of it.
Numerous Obama Administration officials, such as Obama Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summer, have endorsed plans that include both increased regulations and limited frivolous litigation. While most conservatives would not support these plans, the fact that leading Democratic candidates don’t think this goes far enough—and that oil companies must be financially ruined and their executives imprisoned—shows just how extreme the party has become.
Democrats know climate litigation is not a tool to help the environment—it’s a weapon to punish their enemies.