Yesterday the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI ) filed suit against the United States Department of State, keying off of a damning email obtained previously by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), to force this agency that is still stonewalling about the Paris climate treaty to release documents about how the Obama Administration schemed to cut the Senate out of its express constitutional treaty role. Knowing the treaty would never obtain the required approval, the Obama State Department outrageously pretended the economy-altering climate pact, requiring new more stringent commitments (laws and regulations, and spending) every five years was nothing more than an ‘executive agreement’ which the President could enter without Senate approval.
CEI’s lawsuit follows from documents obtained through a lawsuit by E&E Legal against State, which uncovered emails showing State Department efforts to calm Senate (staff) outrage when the New York Times broke the story, on Aug. 24, 2014, that President Obama would declare “the most ambitious climate agreement in history” somehow “not a treaty”. The emails uncovered by E&E Legal show the lawyer for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker declaring the “disturbing contempt” this end-run showed for the Senate’s constitutional role. After that, not a peep was heard from the Committee Chairman, fresh off his Iran deal with the White House even more overtly endorsing abandonment of our longstanding treaty process.
E&E Legal expects that this new lawsuit by CEI, with assistance from E&E Legal’s lawyers in its own case, the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, will further show the extent of the effort by the Obama Administration to evade the Senate’s oversight. Hopefully the State Department will recognize its obligation under the Freedom of Information Act to release these documents so the people can decide whether these efforts were an appropriate use of public resources.
Additionally, the lawsuit should prompt the Trump White House to demand the long-overdue review of ongoing stonewalls protecting Obama administration abuses, the list of which is long and, bizarrely, growing.
To read more about this effort by the Obama Administration, see E&E Legal Senior Fellow Chris Horner’s article “Obama’s Paris climate scheme revelation” in the Washington Times.