Conserva⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ves F⁠i⁠re Back a⁠t⁠ Cl⁠i⁠ma⁠t⁠e Change Sena⁠t⁠ors’ ‘Coord⁠i⁠na⁠t⁠ed A⁠t⁠⁠t⁠ack’ on Speech

By: Guest Author / 2016



Free-market groups are firing back at Senate Democrats’coordinated attackon climate-change skeptics, the latest assault on the First Amendment in the left’s relentless effort to intimidate and silence conservative speech.

“We, the undersigned, have long since known that you have a list — an enemies list of intellectual foes you wish to isolate. But our policy differences are not why we write,” states aletterfrom the 22 free-market organizations [including The James Madison Institute] to the senators who have spent the last two days calling out “climate-change deniers” on the Senate floor.

“We write today with grave concern over political leadership in a time of deep national division. We write at a time when free speech and association are more important than ever in our national experiment. How will we, together, solve problems if we cannot speak? How can you lead when you refuse to listen?” ask the conservative groups, including theHeritage Foundation, theAmerican Legislative Exchange Counciland theCompetitive Enterprise Institute.

TheFranklin Center for Government and Public Integrity,’s parent organization, is one of the 22 organizations that signed the letter to lawmakers.

CEI has been targetedin a controversial prosecution by a coalition of left-wing state attorneys general, billing itself “AGs United for Clean Power.” CEI and other climate-change agenda skeptics have pushed back.

The senators and their free-speech-for-me-but-not-for-thee allies, perhaps fearing they can’t prosecute their political enemies into silence, now are hoping once more to shame them – from the Senate floor.

As theWashington Free Beacon first reportedMonday, 19 Democratic senators weretapped to call out the conservative nonprofit groups by name in speeches blasting corporations and advocacy groups for challenging leftistclimate policies.

Internal emails obtained by the publication noted a “highly coordinated plan between members of Congress and environmental activist groups to fuel a public relations and legal offensive against fossil fuel companies and groups they support.”

The pols certainly got plenty of love from enviro

“Nineteen U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy spoke out on the Senate floor Monday in support of theSenate Web of Denial Resolutioncalling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-fundedclimate denial,” the website stated.

It’s the usual rhetoric from the usual suspects in the climate-change cabal.

Sen.Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who has often called for the prosecution of fossil-fuel multinationals likeExxonMobiland other so-called “deniers” of the climate-change narrative, trained in on those who have had the audacity to challenge that view.

“The web is so big because it has so much to protect,” Whitehouse said Tuesday.

A Senate resolution that is going nowhere fast claims the fossil-fuel trade “developed a sophisticated and deceitful campaign that funded think tanks and front groups, and paid public relations firms to deny, counter, and obfuscate peer-reviewed research.”

Much of that research has been questioned because theclimate-change narrative numbers don’t add up. Doing so, however, is nothing short of transgression, a prosecutable offense, to a militant environmental left that has no room for disagreement.

“Just as you do, our civil society organizations represent many, many millions of Americans and a wide array of perspectives and interests. They deserve and increasingly demand healthy and respectful political dialogue, and well-informed, well-debated public policies,” the conservative groups wrote in their letter to the senators. “To support the debate our founders intended, all Americans have the right to support causes they believe in without fear of threats from overzealous government officials — threats paraded and perpetrated by you on the Senate floor.”

Bill Meierling, ALEC’s vice president for public affairs, said the senators’ attacks only strengthen the free-market movement’s resolve “to use our voice, to exercise our speech rights, because we’ll lose them if we don’t use them.”

Constitutional observerssay speech and association rights have entered a perilous time for right-of-center organizations, as the left has become increasingly aggressive in trying to silence their enemies.

The coordinated effort between environmental groups and liberal lawmakers is stunning, nonetheless, according to conservatives who have been targeted by the left.

“The delicate balance of our democracy is preserved when all groups are free to speak in the public square, and ALL Americans should be concerned when agents of the government use their official offices to marginalize political foes,” the free-market groups wrote.

“We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it,” the letter states.