FAIRFAX, Va. — The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic has long sought to inject doubt into the public conversation about global warming. Now, the future of the group itself is in doubt.
Its founders are battling in court over control of the group, as well as some $900,000 in its bank account. One of them, David Schnare, has been accused by his former allies of botching the group’s tax-exempt status and of attempting to extort a quarter-million dollars from its coffers.
It all comes at a time when Free Market — which made a name for itself using the legal system to obtain climate scientists’ emails — should be ascendant. The Trump administration shares its views on environmental regulation and its dismissal of climate science. And Mr. Schnare, 70, was part of the Trump “beachhead team” at the Environmental Protection Agency during the transition between presidential administrations, though he did not last long there.
Mr. Schnare, in an interview, initially expressed reluctance to discuss the situation at Free Market. “Attorneys are not supposed to talk about and try cases in the press,” he said. Then he added, “I completely deny all these nasty accusations.”