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31 May 2016

Jonathan H. Adler, The Washington Post

No peace for Greenpeace

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In December, Greenpeace urged the federal government to investigate oil companies and organizations that dispute the risks of climate change under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act...Greenpeace was not the first to call for RICO investigations into those who oppose costly climate change policies...

Greenpeace may soon have second-thoughts about its embrace of RICO, however...Earlier today, Resolute Forest Products filed a civil RICO suit in a federal district court in Georgia, alleging a pattern of defamatory and fraudulent behavior by Greenpeace and allied organizations...The heart of Resolute’s complaint is that Greenpeace and its affiliates have repeatedly and systematically misrepresented the company and its forest practices as part of its fundraising efforts...

[Resolute] is not merely disputing Greenpeace’s rhetorical claims or disputing its conclusions (though it does this). Resolute also maintains that Greenpeace officials and affiliates deliberately falsified evidence (such as by doctoring photographs)...Perhaps now that it is a RICO defendant and faces the prospect of expansive discovery in addition to a substantial financial judgment, Greenpeace might consider that it’s better to wage policy fights in the policy arena — with facts and logical arguments — and not the courtroom.