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Media Roundup: Privately-funded, Politically-driven Partnerships Facilitate Acting New York AG Underwood’s Misuse of the Martin Act Against Manufacturers

Since 2015 a number of lawsuits and legal investigations have targeted energy manufacturers seeking to impose liability for the impacts of climate change. Acting New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood recently brought a dubious lawsuit under the Martin Act. This expansive New York state law is traditionally used to investigate financial crimes, yet the Acting AG has used it in her efforts to pursue a version of climate litigation. This lawsuit has been met with a barrage of scrutiny in the media and by legal experts highlighting the baseless nature of this case and how the state AG has been aided by the ethically questionable use of privately-funded lawyers paid for by Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • The Wall Street Journal editorial board detailed the conflict-ridden arrangement between the Acting New York AG office, New York University Law School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to place private attorneys as “special assistant attorneys general” to litigate against energy companies.
  • NY PBS radio show, The Capitol Pressroom, hosted Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins to discuss New York’s Martin Act and its misuse as a vehicle for climate change litigation instead of its stated function to prosecute financial crimes. Stebbins addressed the Act’s use in the New York AG’s lawsuit as well as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s role in the suit.
  • RealClear Energy featured an op-ed by New York-based policy analyst Francis Menton, focusing on the history of the Martin Act in New York and AG Underwood’s role in pushing the aggressive expansion of her authority under the Act.
  • New York-based financial analyst and lawyer Tristan Brown authored a Seeking Alpha column, detailing why the AG Underwood’s claims are meritless and have no place being the subject of litigation.

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project commends the media and legal experts who have taken note of these developments. On behalf of manufacturers, the MAP will continue to work to ensure facts are prioritized over a misguided political agenda against manufacturers.