BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) — Maryland Attorney General Brian
E. Frosh, in conjunction with a coalition of state attorneys general, has drafted a
letter to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space
and Technology, to drop his inquiry into their cases against ExxonMobil
The letter was signed by Frosh and attorneys general from California,
Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon,
Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
These attorneys general believe Smith’s actions are
unconstitutional. Smith allegedly originally requested that each state produce
all documents pertaining to cases against Exxon. When they refused, he
purportedly issued subpoenas to Massachusetts and New York without a committee
"Our colleagues in Massachusetts and New York, as the
chief legal officers in their states, have a right to gather information
necessary to determine whether a company has engaged in fraudulent or
misleading conduct harmful to the residents of their respective states," Frosh
said. "Chairman Smith's threat to 'conduct vigorous oversight' of attorneys general who are investigating violations of consumer and securities
laws is an attack on the sovereignty of the states."
The letter states Smith has not identified valid
precedent from any point in the United States’ history that allows for "vigorous
oversight” of attorneys general.