Sheldon Whitehouse, representing Rhode Island, the nation’s smallest state, appears to have a constitutional comprehension of equal size as he slams global warming skeptics, claiming they need to be reined in under RICO statutes. What makes his view even more appalling is the fact that he was Rhode Island’s U.S. Attorney —- appointed by Bill Clinton —- and was the state’s Attorney General, before being elected to the senate. All the more alarming, he is a member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
This GovTrack analysis of Whitehouse places him to the left of Sens. Blumenthal, Boxer and Schumer and veering close to self-described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders.
Writing in the Washington Post, Whitehouse declared, “Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution. Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise.”
Given his legal background, Whitehouse’s convoluted thinking is inexcusable. Passed in 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law designed to combat organized crime in the United States. It allows prosecution and civil penalties for racketeering activity performed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. RICO statutes were never intended to be an infringement on our First Amendment rights.
Not buying into the alarmist global warming scheme, which has now morphed into climate change, due to recent colder than usual temperatures around the globe —- part of cyclical meteorological fluctuations —- could now makes you a criminal.
The electorate of Rhode Island should be embarrassed. The rest of us should be very concerned.