Dirty Energy Barons Go to Bat for WI AG Candidate Schimel

Wisconsin AG Candidate Brad Schimel has said he wants to sue the EPA to stop new rules limiting coal fired emissions, citing "federal overreach."

Now those who want him to do that are pouring on cash. With polls showing Schimel and his challenger Susan Happ neck and neck, new ads have popped up in Wisconsin from a mystery group called the "Rule of Law Project".

The ads specifically laud Schimel for asserting that he would sue the EPA over the emissions standards.

The ad buy is likely to be large, $180,000 in Green Bay alone.

The ads credit an unknown group called "The Rule of Law Project." The gentleman listed on the ad buy as the group's treasurer is Adam J. White. Mr. White an attorney for the law firm of Boyden Gray and Associates, whose chief counsel is former White House counsel to George H.W. Bush and C. Boyden Gray. The address on the ad buy is the same address as Boyden Gray and Associates.

A key founder of the Federalist Society and a current board member, C. Boyden Gray is the chief architect of the 30 year attack on regulations protecting public health and the environment. As science shows increasingly alarming signs that catastrophic climate change is around the corner, Gray's firm represents clients like First Energy Corp., one of America's top polluters according to a UMass Amherst study.

As our Sourcewatch profile documents, Gray has long been tied to the Koch Brothers' anti-regulatory crusades going back decades to when Gray served as the Co-Chairman for Citizens for a Sound Economy which would later split to become Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) was a powerful industry-funded think tank, promoting deregulation of all stripes

While on the board for Citizens for Sound Economy, Gray worked with Charles and David Koch. He continues to serve on the board of FreedomWorks and continues to represent the fossil fuel industry in cases against the EPA. Including a failed effort to represented several states challenging EPA's greenhouse gas permits in the Supreme Court.

ALEC Has Urged State AGs to Sue the EPA

And naturally ALEC has a role in all this too. Schimel is taking a leaf right out of the American Legislative Exchange Council playbook. As CMD research director Nick Surgey uncovered, ALEC -- bankrolled by big fossil fuel interests like Koch Industries and Peabody coal -- have been coordinating efforts to get state AGs to sue the federal government over the emissions standards.

"Alec has become quite well known and notorious for promoting model legislation. This is different," Surgey told the Guardian. "Alec is engaging much more broadly in the campaign against the EPA regulations, and they are doing so by asking their members to advocate for the coal industry with attorney generals. That is very unusual for them."

Unfortunately for Mr. Gray and the Kochs, limiting carbon pollution is actually quite popular with the American public. Two polls this year found that 70 percent of Americans approve of establishing carbon pollution limits.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.