Congress Looking Into Climate Litigation …Industry

Those who follow GAO’s work will recognize the themes set forth in this letter, sent today by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and Ranking Senate Commerce Committee member Sen. Ted Cruz and first reported here.

While addressed to a law firm engaged by numerous progressive elected officials—to which these politicians promised so many millions out of their taxpayers’ supposed damages—the letter’s emphasis on the previously obscured, private underwriting of these “contingency fee” lawsuits reminds GAO of the importance of the question what did these elected officials know about that, and when did they know it?

What we at GAO know is just how much the climate litigation industry appreciates robust congressional interest in these things. Heck, the enthusiasm is so great even the Senate (checks notes) Budget Committee has hired numerous ‘climate investigative staff’ to pitch in.

This and the recent letter’s emphasis on private funding reminds GAO of the investigation last Congress, to assist the climate litigation industry—a Hill inquiry that also was privately underwritten and in apparent violation of House Ethics rules. (There are only so many branches of government; what’s next, the courts?) Which underwriting the activist donors had no problem boasting about, although the relevant subcommittee chairman and others involved had a little trouble maintaining clarity on that.

The next step in last Congress’s inquiry, after hearings, was to slide congressionally subpoenaed records over to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, as planned: “Khanna said the millions of documents acquired by the committee will be handed over to those with more resources who can act on the information.”

So much to oversee, so little time.

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