In response to a baseless shakedown by an alliance of sleazy trial lawyers, radical environmental groups, and anti-American foreign interests, Chevron’s vice president of public affairs, Stephen Green, took to RealClear Markets to fight back. At the center of this misinformation campaign being perpetrated by left-wing operatives, is a fraudulent lawsuit in Ecuador, which in light of rampant corruption, has been completely delegitimized by U.S. courts and even the mainstream media.
Critics, of course, will see Green’s job title and dismiss his defense as PR flack on behalf of Chevron, but Green cites a number of credible sources – including articles in Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes, and The New York Times – which add up to a pretty solid case. As the bedrock of his defense, he notes that a U.S. court found that the lawyer behind the case against Chevron in Ecuador, Steven Donziger, “violated federal racketeering laws, committing mail and wire fraud, money laundering, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.” No matter how you slice it, that’s a simple fact.
Despite Donzinger’s utter lack of credibility, environmentalist corporate watchdogs are still trying to side with him against Chevron in Ecuador, awarding the corporation their “Lifetime Achievement” award of shame for the most irresponsible corporation. Among these groups were Greenpeace and Public Eye, which has made its name shaming corporations. Here in the United States, the Sierra Club tried to capitalize on the court ruling by sending out a fundraising email, and expressing their continued support of the discredited trial lawyer. The fact that they’re still willing to stand with a man like Donzinger, however, underscores a different point: the need rein in out-of-control trial lawyers – who are willing to go so far as to team up with anti-American dictators – in pursuit of a corporate shakedown payday.
Green leaves little room for rebuttals as he makes a devastating case against Donziger. Namely, he notes that a former Ecuadorian judge testified that Donzinger bribed judges, as Reuters and Forbes reported. Green also cited business journalist and New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who, upon looking into the lawsuit, wrote that “Without question, Chevron has gone after him (Dozinger). But Donziger is the one who supplied the ammunition.”
What about all the “activists” who protested against Chevron all over the world? They were recruited at $85 a head. Turns out the Ecuadorian government itself, which shamelessly allied itself with Donzinger and company, sponsored anti-Chevron protests around the world in its bid to score a few billion dollars off Chevron.
And for the third strike, the organization that nominated Chevron for the award of shame has a “direct connection” to Donziger, as The Daily Caller helpfully points out. Amazon Watch’s executive director admitted in an outtake from the film “Crude” that she intimidated judges in Ecuador by hiring a private army.
It’s time to push back against the collusion between trial lawyers, environmental extremists, and dictators for their attempt to extort legitimate businesses that have done nothing wrong. Rather than focusing on publicity stunt awards, Public Eye and their allies should focus on severing their ties to convicted fraudsters.
Erik Telford is acting president at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. Follow him on Twitter: @BlameTelford