Subpoena Shows NY AG's Exxon Probe Focused On Fraud And Climate Change

Seth Wenig

About a year after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Exxon Mobil regarding the company's approach to climate change, the attorney general's subpoena has been published, confirming that the investigation centers on alleged financial fraud.

In the subpoena made public last week by Exxon, Schneiderman's office cites a few New York laws governing fraud and securities, including the Martin Act, as ClimateWire noted. The Martin Act gives the attorney general considerable power to investigate and fight fraud.

The subpoena also reveals the scope of documents the attorney general's office has requested. It demanded communications regarding Exxon's research on climate change, documents showing how Exxon disclosed its findings on climate change to investors and to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and any consumer complaints regarding climate change, among other documents.

The subpoena appears to confirm reports that the New York attorney general is looking into whether Exxon hid from investors what the company knew about climate change and its potential impacts on business.

The New York probe, along with those subsequently launched by other state attorneys general, has come under scrutiny from Republicans on the House Science Committee. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chair of the committee, has subpoenaed the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general, arguing that the state probes are politically motivated and could intimidate scientists.

Read the subpoena via ClimateWire:


Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.