Claude Walker, Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands, has withdrawn a subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank whose work has cast doubt on climate change.
The subpoena, filed in the District of Columbia, demanded over a decade’s worth of documents related to the group's energy and climate change research. Walker's subpoena was filed as part of an effort by a coalition of attorneys general in 17 states to "build upon the recent progress the United States has made in combating climate change" by prosecuting climate change skeptics for fraud.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that the group, called AGs United for Clean Power, would investigate and pursue charges against organizations, scientists, and others who disagree with their agenda.
The think tank has pushed back against this legal effort, at one point taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times decrying the coalition for its effort to "harass or silence those who disagree with them."
CEI will still pursue legal sanctions against Walker under the District of Columbia's rule prohibiting frivolous lawsuits filed to shut down political advocacy.
"Walker's withdrawal only strengthens our claim that this subpoena was a constitutional outrage from the very beginning, violating our right to free speech and our donors' right to confidentiality, and threatening the right of all Americans to express views that go against some party line," Sam Kazman, CEI's general counsel, said in a statement.
Although Walker withdrew the D.C. subpoena, another subpoena he filed in the Virgin Islands remains.