May 26, 2016
“These actions provide disturbing confirmation that government officials at all levels are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change,” the letter reads. “As you well know, initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity’s opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.”
The letter goes on to demand that Attorney General Lynch confirm that all investigations into any private individual’s views on climate change end within 14 days and promise not to initiate any future such investigations.
“Threatening prosecution of those who dare to challenge the most outlandish scaremongering by climate activists strikes at the very heart of the Free Speech protections on which this nation was founded,” Lee said. “Issuing subpoenas to harass researchers and academics with whom they have communicated, as some state attorneys general offices have done, shows a basic disregard for Americans' Freedom of Association. The public expects us to prevent such abuses, not perpetrate them. It is our responsibility to contain the inevitable chilling effects by calling for an end to any consideration by the Department of Justice of such harassment at once.”
“Freedom of thought and inquiry is at the very heart of liberty,” Cruz said. “Sadly, the Obama administration and its allies in state attorney general offices across the country are threatening to use the power of government to intimidate and ultimately silence companies and researchers who do not agree with the government’s opinions about the allegedly harmful effects of climate change and what should be done about it. This is an abuse of power and a direct assault on the First Amendment. The Obama Justice Department should immediately cease any further consideration of such action and should instead do everything in its power to protect the freedom of thought of all Americans.”
“I have serious concerns any time that the Department of Justice uses its power to repress constitutionally protected speech and open dialogue on any public policy issue," Perdue said. "Given the unprecedented politicization of the Obama Justice Department, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight responsibilities have become more important than ever before. There is no place in our democracy for politically-motivated investigations by the Department of Justice.”
“Unnecessary government intrusion of private citizens’ lives is an unfortunate characteristic of the reign of the Obama Administration,” Vitter said. “It is contemptible for the Justice Department to target and threaten individual American citizens and private or non-profit organizations in pursuit of its far-left environmental agenda.”
May 25, 2016
WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) held an event with Reps. Mark Walker (R-NC), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) to unveil legislation designed to restore direct, accountable congressional control over the federal regulatory system.
The Article I Regulatory Budget Reform Act would, for the first time, require Congress to vote on the total regulatory burden each federal agency may impose on the American people each year. It would require a budget for federal regulatory costs similar to Congress’s annual budget for taxes and spending.
Under the discipline of a regulatory budget, Congress would be directly responsible for the size and scope of the regulatory state. Executive agencies could still issue and enforce their rules, but only so long as their impact fits within the regulatory-cost limits established by Congress.
In addition to Senator Lee, original co-sponsors to the Senate bill include Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). The House version, introduced by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), is co-sponsored by Chairman Hensarling (R-TX), and Reps. Dave Brat (R-VA), Mia Love (R-UT), John Ratcliffe (R-TX), and Berry Loudermilk (R-GA).
Senator Lee’s remarks as prepared for deliver are available below: