The web of activists and attorneys waging coordinated attacks against energy manufacturers features a large cast of characters. And according to documents obtained by the The Daily Mail, it includes California billionaire Tom Steyer, the single largest political donor in 2016 U.S. elections.
Steyer may be best known right now for spending $10 million in advertising in an active campaign to impeach President Trump. He has also long been associated with activist environmental campaigns. Steyer’s non-profit group, NextGen, has actively fought energy infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. Now, he has been linked to discussions about politically motivated attacks aimed at manufacturers in America.
The Daily Mail has now released documents showing that two NextGen officials in 2015 received secret strategy documents related to politically motivated attacks against energy manufacturers in America. According to the recently obtained documents, NextGen Chief Operating Officer Dan Lashof and NextGen attorney David Weiskopf were privy to a secret March 9, 2015, memo plaintiffs’ attorney Matt Pawa. In his memo, Pawa outlined the details of a nationwide, coordinated campaign to attack energy manufacturers in America through trumped up legal theories advanced by a coalition of trial attorneys, state legal officials, environmental activists and biased journalists. Pawa and fellow activists hoped to portray energy manufacturers in America as a “public nuisance.”
Documents discovered through FOIA requests, for example, show that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman worked closely with Matt Pawa and others prior to officially launching an investigation aimed at energy manufacturers in November 2015. Attorney General Schneiderman was later tied to Tom Steyer by the New York Post, which obtained records showing that Schneiderman tried to set up a phone call with Steyer to “discuss political contributions to a ‘governor’ race in the context of the state’s oil industry lawsuit.”
This trail of records leaves little doubt that Tom Steyer and his organization, NextGen, have been part of an inner circle of coordinated attacks against energy manufacturers in America. Led by activist attorney Matt Pawa, this group is using politically motivated lawsuits that label energy manufacturers as a “public nuisance” and seek to make them responsible for a wide array of environmental challenges. In the past two years, Oakland, San Francisco and New York State have all launched lawsuits as part of this broad strategy.
Through the newly-created Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP), and with your help, we can set the record straight. Fighting back against disingenuous campaigns that take aim at energy manufacturers in America is important. If left unchecked, politically-motivated investigations will undermine the integrity of the nation’s legal system and put a target on the backs of all manufacturing sectors.