The Democratic attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands is refuting claims that his high-profile climate change investigation that targeted conservative groups violates the Constitution.

The attorney general was responding to a recent court motion by the free-market think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, which sought to block the attorney general from targeting CEI and other climate skeptics under his investigation.

CEI says the climate probe violates its First Amendment rights to free speech under the Constitution.

Claude Walker, attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands, subponead CEI earlier in the year as part of an investigation into Exxon Mobil's decision to withhold data from the public about the harm caused by climate change. CEI had advised Exxon on climate change, and the oil company had provided money to the think tank, according to Walker.

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