No confidence in Global Warming: Democrats again threaten to silence those who disagree

This is from today's Opinion Journal's Political Journal.

Senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Olympia Snowe of Maine [wrote] to Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil. As the Journal reported on Monday, that letter is a veiled threat that ExxonMobil would be well advised by a "date certain" to "end its dangerous support of the [global warming] deniers" and instead start giving money to environmental groups. . . .

Several experts on Congressional ethics laws have contacted us noting that these two Senators may have run afoul of long-established rules. One former Senate legal counsel alerts us to Senate Rule 43, passed in the wake of the Keating Five scandal in the 1980s. Senate rule 43 reads: "The decision to provide assistance to petitioners may not be made on the basis of contributions or services to the member's political committee or entity in which the member has a political, personal, or financial interest."

In other words, Senators are not permitted to use their powers as lawmakers to do harm or benefit to individuals or companies on behalf of "political campaigns or causes." . . .

Conservatives also object to the censorship double standard here. "Can there be any doubt," asks Fred Smith of Competitive Enterprise Institute, that a giant media furor would ensue if "Republican Senators told corporations to stop giving money to the Sierra Club?" CEI was the one free-market group that the two Senators listed by name as a "climate change denier" organization. We hear that a number of free-market donors were so furious over the Rockefeller-Snowe gag order that they have increased their donations to CEI. . . .

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