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A climate scientist, backed by colleagues, wrote a letter to the White House last month requesting a racketeering investigation of industry ties to climate-change deniers.

Now the scientist himself could be the target of a probe by a Congressional subcommittee.

Jagadish Shukla, the president of the Institute for Global Environment and Society, requested the federal investigation in a Sept. 1 letter. Comparing the tactics of climate-change denial to those of the tobacco industry, he was joined by 19 of his colleagues, some also from George Mason University, where Shukla teaches.

The scientists requested a potential investigation under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The law was originally passed in 1970 to combat organized crime, but was later applied to the tobacco industry, and the investigations into steroids in Major League Baseball.

But Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science Committee, responded by questioning the public dollars allegedly funding Shukla’s organization. The chairman also demanded the scientist not delete any emails or other messages, pending a possible investigation.

“This letter raises serious concerns because IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama Administration on climate change,” Smith wrote.

“IGES has reportedly received $63 million from taxpayers since 2001, comprising over 98 percent of its total revenue during that time,” the congressman added.

Journals, newspapers and online sources have reported on climate-change opponents receiving funds from industry groups. One such scientist listed his studies as “deliverables” to energy companies on his grant reports. A series of the links between skeptical scientists and industry groups was alleged in “The Climate Deception Dossiers,” issued earlier this year by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Read more: Scientists Release Climate Change ‘Deception Dossier’

Shukla, in an email to Laboratory Equipment, said he was still preparing a response to the congressman, who had requested a response by Oct. 8. He otherwise withheld comment.

However, in the letter to the president, Shukla and the scientists lashed out at the corporations that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

“If corporations in the fossil-fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically-important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done,” they concluded.

Smith became chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in 2012. But by that time he had already been vociferous against “climate change alarmism.”

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