A petition demanding the investigation of Exxon for corporate fraud pertaining to climate change was delivered to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Nov. 19. The petition, which was circulated by several environmental and activist organizations, had 350,000 signatures at the time of submission to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch — including those of the Democratic presidential candidates Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley.
Let the record show that Sen. Bernie Sanders was out in front on this issue, characteristically paving the way for his contenders to try to keep up with his rapid pace toward national reform.
It has been two months since reports from InsideClimate News (ICN), “a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment,” revealed that Exxon had covered up its own research on climate change in an effort to mislead the public about the effects of the fossil fuel industry:
It describes how Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial, manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed.
Two California representatives, Mark DeSaulnier and Ted Lieu — both Democrats, just saying — on information received from ICN and an October report by the Los Angeles Times penned a request of the DOJ to investigate prosecution of the fossil fuel industry for violations of the RICO act:
“We request the DOJ investigate whether ExxonMobil violated RICO, consumer protection, truth in advertising, public health, shareholder protection or other laws,” the congressmen’s letter said, referring to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, which was how federal officials prosecuted tobacco companies in the 1990s.
A month ago, Sen. Sanders took the progressive initiative he is becoming known for and sent a letter to the DOJ demanding justice against the abuses of corporate interests. He laid down a deadline of Dec. 19 for a task force to be formed to investigate the allegations of Exxon fraudulently misleading the public:
“Based on [the] available public information, it appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders’ letter said. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”
Although presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was behind the idea enough to send out an encouraging tweet, Ms. Clinton’s campaign “did not respond to a request for comment.”
Granted, candidate Clinton has come along now and jumped on Bernie’s bandwagon, but it’s important to note the hesitance on her part to focus on bringing down corporate entities for crimes against the people. It’s becoming more and more apparent, as the campaign for president goes forward, who is the true progressive candidate.
America is desperate for a leader who is willing to go against the mighty corporate interests, and not sell us out to pacify lobbying interests of planet destroyers. It’s time to #FeelTheBern.