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La Jolla: Anatomy of a Plot

By Linda Kelly

La Jolla: Anatomy of a Plot, Part I. Five years ago, at an informal gathering in an exclusive seaside community in San Diego, a small but determined group of activists hatched an ambitious plan: they would bring down some of America’s largest energy manufacturers, which also happen to be some of America’s largest employers.

Operating on hunches and guesswork, the group, comprised of activist academics, wealthy trial lawyers and public relations experts, spun a disparaging narrative about energy companies.

To prove their claims, they needed to gain access to internal energy company documents – and that would mean convincing the Justice Department and state Attorneys General to begin investigations.

Since that 2012 meeting in La Jolla, California, a lot has changed. What began as a series of informal discussions has evolved into a highly coordinated, far-reaching and well-funded campaign to persuade government officials to embark on tax-payer funded fishing expeditions.

In recent years, the campaign has attracted the support of billionaires and deep-pocketed family foundations. In the coming weeks and months, Full Disclosure will chronicle the growth of this extensive web of collusion.

We’ll uncover which figures are fueling this costly effort. We’ll document how journalists whose work is funded by an explicit anti-manufacturing agenda are working to create a hostile climate for energy manufacturers and the men and women who work for them.

And we’ll expose the trial attorneys who, motivated by the prospect of colossal contingency fees, are working overtime to put American energy producers out of business and employees out of work.