For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2017
E&E Legal Files a Motion to Renew and Reargue with New York Supreme Court Concerning OAG FOIL Case Over Revelation of AG Efforts to Hide Schneiderman Use of Private E-mail
New York, NY – Late last week, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), acting on newly revealed information about yet another private email account of a public official, filed a motion to renew and reargue before the New York Supreme Court in one of E&E Legal’s public records suits against the Office of the Attorney General (NY OAG) Eric Schneiderman. This motion was prompted by E&E Legal obtaining an unsealed copy of a recent Supreme Court order in which the court acknowledged having reviewed at least one official Schneiderman email using a private account.
This latest private email account E&E Legal has found in use by the “climate-RICO” AGs is under Schneiderman’s sole custody, is in violation of Schneiderman’s own rules and raises serious questions about his Office’s highly misleading arguments before the same court aimed at avoiding a search of this account.
In previous court filings and arguments, the NY OAG’s office went out of its way to give the impression that Schneiderman was not using private e-mails, clearly to avoid a court-ordered search of these records. Subsequent documents have come to light, however, that clearly show Schneiderman used a “prohibited” private e-mail address. E&E Legal’s filing reminded the court of these previous misleading statements and the court’s reliance on them, asking to renew and reargue the case.
“No attorney wants to go back and plow old ground, and motions to renew and reargue are fairly unusual,” said attorney Matt Hardin, who is representing E&E Legal in the case. “Unfortunately, as in previous dealings we’ve had with the NY OAG, they’ve been less than forthcoming regarding their use of private e-mail accounts and thus have shown little regard for the very laws they’re sworn to protect and uphold.”
E&E Legal also asked the court to clarify its recent ruling to confirm the public has a right to know which outside email provider Schneiderman is using for select official correspondence,as there is no privacy interest in hiding whether it is Hotmail or Yahoo, for example, but noting that different providers offer differing levels of security for correspondence NYOAG itself insists are highly confidential “law enforcement” records.
In its earlier filings, E&E Legal had argued that Schniederman was using a private account to avoid scrutiny through New York Freedom of Information Law requests. In response, the NY OAG submitted an affidavit from an OAG representative Michael Jerry, who stated that NY OAG employees were prohibited from using private e-mails, and argued E&E Legal had failed to show the AG used such an account. The Court based its December 21, 2016 Interim Ruling, in which the latest ruling was grounded, in large part on the Jerry Affidavit in its decision not to require the NY OAG to search such records.
“In its Interim Ruling the Court sided with the NY OAG saying it didn’t order the search of private e-mail records because there wasn’t evidence they existed,” added Hardin. “With documents clearly showing private e-mail use by the New York Attorney General, we are confident the Court will ultimately call for the search and disclosures of these records we originally sought.”
E&E Legal seeks records related to Schneiderman’s campaign to use RICO statutes and other legal instruments to pursue and silence those who disagree with the ‘climate’ political agenda, an issue also playing out in federal court in New York this week. Records obtained from other AG offices by E&E Legal revealed this campaign was promoted and indeed originated by various financial interests including the Rockefeller Family Fund and Tom Steyer.
About EE Legal
The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.