Friday, March 4, 2016

More Trouble for ExxonMobil

The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a request to the FBI to investigate ExxonMobil on charges it violated federal law by misleading the public and share holders about climate change.

ExxonMobil is on record as stating that it not only knew about climate change due to work done by its own scientists, but has never misled anyone and they have always admitted AGW was real. The issue is the amount of funding it provided to anti-science lobbyists to deny climate change and to interfere with any action the various governments and government entities might take with regards to the problem. Exxon has been a major player in this campaign in the past, but states it has stopped funding these organizations. Again, things are not quite the way the corporation claims because they have continued to make donations to dark money organizations such as Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. You can make donations to these organizations, who then provide the funds to anti-science groups in the form of grants. The original donor can then claim they did not make any donations to the lobbyists.

Exxon has clearly been in a campaign inspired by the tobacco industry's denial of the dangers of cigarette smoking, but with the twist they made statements climate change was real while funding denier groups at the same time. Will this be enough to keep them from being charged with various violations (SEC rules and RICO act to name just two)? I don't know, but it is interesting the DOJ sent the request to the FBI. I have to assume they would not have done this unless there was a compelling reason. It does not mean Exxon is guilty or will be charged, but it says to me the DOJ looked at the case and decided not to merely dismiss it as being without merit.

Let's hope this continues to develop.

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