by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you enjoy Sheldon Whitehouse’s charts during his current monologue masquerading as questions for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, you might recall an earlier Whitehouse tirade.
RALEIGH — A Democratic U.S. senator from Rhode Island lambasted the John Locke Foundation for more than five minutes during a Tuesday night speech in the U.S. Capitol’s Senate chamber. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took aim at JLF for its work challenging alarmist arguments surrounding climate change.
Labeling JLF “one of the most outspoken voices of climate denial in North Carolina,” Whitehouse devoted most of his speech to trying to tie the foundation to other groups included in his so-called “Web of Denial.”
The speech did nothing to rebut substantive criticisms of progressive global warming policies, including a 2005 JLF report that concluded, in Whitehouse’s words, “A greenhouse-gas reduction policy would have only costs and no benefits.”
Nor did Whitehouse explain why his concerns about JLF merit attacks on First Amendment rights. Whitehouse and Democratic Senate colleagues have targeted JLF and other groups for more than a year, solely because of those groups’ outspoken speech challenging Whitehouse’s preferred government climate policies.
“In February 2015, the John Locke Foundation was asked by Sen. Whitehouse and two Democratic colleagues to provide them with any information — including donor information — about JLF’s work in the area of climate change,” said JLF President and CEO Kory Swanson. “We said no to the outrageous government assault on our First Amendment rights.”
Whitehouse’s speech represents “act two” of an offensive against those, including JLF, “who question the authority of the climate change hysteria industry,” Swanson added.
“The insertion of this authoritarian narrative — that climate change hysteria is the final word, and that to exercise your First Amendment rights to question such claims may make you subject to government surveillance — is an assault on the idea and practice of democracy in the United States.”