Breitbart News reports that two prominent Republican lawmakers are probing a series of lawsuits against major oil companies brought by the California law firm Sher Edling. Among the topics of the probe is the source of alleged dark money funding for the suits, with claims that actor/activist Leonardo DiCaprio has indirectly funneled money into the effort through his environmental fund.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced Monday they sent a letter to Sher Edling partners, saying the ultimate goal of the lawsuits is to kill fossil fuels. They also questioned the firm’s source of funding.
“It appears that Sher Edling is not really working on these lawsuits on a contingency basis, but rather the lawsuits are being funded, tax-free, by wealthy liberals via dark money pass-through funds,” they wrote, citing two prominent funds — the Resources Legacy Fund and New Venture Fund.
These groups “purportedly manage the funds of affluent elitists like Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. And as these groups showered Sher Edling with millions of dollars, your law firm advanced numerous climate change lawsuits.”
The lawmakers added: “It therefore appears that dark money—a purported concern of many who support radical climate legislation—is fueling your firm’s litigious effort to achieve a left-wing goal lacking majority support in Congress: the eradication of fossil fuels.”
The allegations against DiCaprio appear to stem from a Fox News report last year saying the actor’s non-profit foundation awarded grants to a dark money initiative organized by the aforementioned funds that ,in turn, funneled money to Sher Edling.
In recent years, Sher Edling has filed multiple lawsuits against oil companies on behalf of state and local governments. The firm has claimed its goal is “to hold fossil fuel industry defendants accountable for their decades-long campaigns of deception about the science of climate change and the role their products play in causing it.”