2015 Bernie Sanders letter urging DOJ to investigate Exxon

This 2015 document is a letter from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Sanders details his concerns that ExxonMobil has been committing corporate fraud through its misinformation campaign related to climate change. In the letter, Sanders “respectfully request[s] the Department of Justice investigate [the] allegations,” that Exxon scientists knew that climate change was real as early as 1977, that climate change is in part caused by carbon pollution from Exxon’s products and lastly, that Exxon’s climate change research program was launched in response to company’s fear of threats to its business model.

In Sanders’ view, investigations by journalists at Inside Climate News and the New York Times affirmatively revealed that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in public discourse. As a result, Sanders urges the DOJ to create a task force by Dec. 2015 to investigate his claims. Upon receipt of the letter, the DOJ referred the issue to the FBI, although the referral letter has not been released.

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