Bernie Sanders Wants the DOJ to Investigate Exxon

The presidential candidate says the oil giant’s behavior is a “potential instance of corporate fraud.”

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&language=en&ref_site=photo&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&use_local_boost=1&autocomplete_id=&searchterm=oil%20refinery&show_color_wheel=1&orient=&commercial_ok=&media_type=images&search_cat=&searchtermx=&photographer_name=&people_gender=&people_age=&people_ethnicity=&people_number=&color=&page=1&inline=148708154">huyangshu</a>/Shutterstock


This story was originally published by the Huffington Post and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday joined a push for the Department of Justice to investigate allegations that ExxonMobil hid research confirming fossil fuels contribute significantly to climate change.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sanders accused the oil giant of a “potential instance of corporate fraud,” which he added could “ultimately qualify as a violation of federal law.”

“Exxon Mobil knew the truth about fossil fuels and climate change and lied to protect their business model at the expense of the planet,” Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, wrote.

Last week, two House Democrats sent Lynch a very similar letter, pressing her to launch an investigation into Exxon’s actions. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, another Democratic presidential candidate, has also indicated support for an official inquiry

The requests come after in-depth reports by the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News revealed that decades of research conducted by senior Exxon scientists warned burning fossil fuels could lead to increasing global temperatures.

The independent investigations by the two news outlets allege that Exxon shared the data internally and used it when planning future operations, but promoted “a public policy position that sought to downplay the certainty of global warming.”

If this is true, Sanders said, the “misinformation campaign” Exxon spread could lead to federal racketeering convictions.

“Based on available public information, it appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”

Sanders also requested that the DOJ form a task force by December 19 in order to determine whether there is enough evidence to open an official investigation into Exxon.

Last week, Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company “unequivocally” rejects the allegations outlined in the articles and letters being sent to Lynch.

“Suggestions that ExxonMobil suppressed its climate research are completely without merit,” Jeffers said.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate