A Bright Spotlight on Heartland Donors

February 16, 2012

What may come out of the DenierGate Leak does not rest on whether or not the single disputed document is real or not. We already know, because Heartland has confirmed, that the most important and telling information IS real – the names of (most of) the donors, especially large corporate donors.

The New York Times has shown a bright spotlight on this in its coverage of the issue – and what jumps out at you is the general embarrassment and discomfort exhibited by normally sane, well educated, and scientifically literate corporate citizens to be caught in the same company with bigoted, anti-science, tobacco-trough troglodytes like the Heartland crew.

“We absolutely do not endorse or support their views on the environment or climate change,” said Sarah Alspach, a spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline, a multinational drug company shown in the documents as contributing $50,000 in the past two years to support a medical newsletter.

A spokesman for Microsoft, another listed donor, said that the company believes that “climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate worldwide action.” The company is shown in the documents as having contributed $59,908 last year to a Heartland technology newsletter. But the Microsoft spokesman, Mark Murray, said the gift was not a cash contribution but rather the value of free software, which Microsoft gives to thousands of nonprofit groups.

The reactions read as if showing up on Heartland’s ledger is a little like being caught in a raid at a dogfight, or insisting you only joined the Ku Klux Klan to make new friends.

One key funding factor that emerges is the long-time reliable support from tobacco interests. While noting that oil companies were not overtly represented on Heartland’s list of donors, investigators who follow the money trails in these matters point out that fossil fuel companies are quite sophisticated in the way they spread their money to key climate denial organizations and individuals.  The Times did note:

But oil interests were nonetheless represented. The documents say that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation contributed $25,000 last year and was expected to contribute $200,000 this year. Mr. Koch is one of two brothers who have been prominent supporters of libertarian causes as well as other charitable endeavors. They control Koch Industries, one of the country’s largest private companies and a major oil refiner.

and this fun fact –

The documents suggest that Heartland has spent several million dollars in the past five years in its efforts to undermine climate science, much of that coming from a person referred to repeatedly in the documents as “the Anonymous Donor.” A guessing game erupted Wednesday about who that might be.

Maybe the most welcome passages in the article was toward the end.

Heartland’s latest idea, the documents say, is a plan to create a curriculum for public schools intended to cast doubt on mainstream climate science and budgeted at $200,000 this year. The curriculum would claim, for instance, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

It is in fact not a scientific controversy. The vast majority of climate scientists say that emissions generated by humans are changing the climate and putting the planet at long-term risk, although they are uncertain about the exact magnitude of that risk. Whether and how to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases has become a major political controversy in the United States, however.

Actual acknowledgement of reality by the mainstream media is so unusual as to be jarring – but refreshing nonetheless.

In the wake of this scandal, Americans will be learning more about the history and finances of groups like Heartland  – who they are, and why they do what they do – the Fake Science , Funny Finances and dark history of the anti-science movement

22 Responses to “A Bright Spotlight on Heartland Donors”

  1. ozonator Says:

    The source of the gift from anonymous –

    Amazingly Rush did not mention that his original reason for being on Broadway was a benefit for the Hurricane Katrina victims nor did we ever find out where the funds went. “RUSH: We had a great time last night at the Lion King theater, the New Amsterdam Theater down on Broadway. “Rush on Broadway” is our first such appearance in New York, and I’ll tell you, I fed off the audience last night. The audience was just fabulous … No, there was no press there, no protesters showed up. They knew they would be in hostile territory if they showed up. Would you show up with 2,000 dittoheads in one place trying to protest it? “ (“Great Night in New York”; ‘if I can steal it here, I can steal it anywhere’; Extremist Republican and Christian Media Outlets; rushlimbaugh.com, Airdate: 10/19/05). “Talk Radio powerhouse Rush Limbaugh is planning a one-man Broadway show to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina … for a one-day-only performance on Tuesday Oct. 18 … Sean Hannity will provide … a special introduction” (“Rush Limbaugh Plans Hurricane Katrina Benefit”; By Cris Bergman; nationalledger.com, 9/6/05).


  2. Last year alone universities in the UK received 72 million GBP for climate research. Total government spending is in the excess of 234 million GBP. Imagine the total across the EU, then add up the USA, plus all NGOs…and you have a problem with 50 thousand dollars to Heartland???

    For all intents and purposes, climate sceptics do it for free. Even those paid to be sceptic, get hundreds of times less money than the warmists. If there is a well funded denial machine, it’s firmly on the AGW side.

    Ps if that doc is a fake, have you deleted the post that relied on it mostly?

    • dana1981 Says:

      Like most fake skeptics, Maurizio neglects the inconvenient facts. Just for starters, there are hardly any climate scientist “skeptics”, so of course they will get less funding. But more importantly, government research grants fund research, they don’t go into the pockets of the scientists like Craig Idso’s six figure Heartland salary. And those government grants are given under the requirement that the scientists who receive them do robust, unbiased research, whereas those getting Heartland funds are expected to pump out documents specifically with a denialist spin.

    • eveningperson Says:

      Research grants go to fund research. Heartland and all the similar organizations spend their money on lobbying, PR and propaganda. Where are the “skeptics” funding research? And if they aren’t, why not? I think that’s telling. Science one side, anti-science the other.

    • ozonator Says:

      Dearest Ma Morebite;

      I can afford only a $10 calculator. Thus, you owe me $300 million minus $10 = $299,999,990 to get your free lunch from Heartland.

      I predicted more impossible quakes from your freedom to pollute and your willing accomplices pollution –
      Also a proxy for von Singer’s thermometer, this week’s Vancouver, Northern California, and Oregon were a correct AGW quake predictions made on 2/4/12 under – http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/antarcticas-18-new-york-city-sized-iceberg.php

      “The rush to build more powerful supercomputers is part of a larger race to solve some of mankind’s biggest problems and threats, and one person on the front line of that effort is Thomas Jordan, the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. … “We can’t predict the future; we can’t predict earthquakes. But we can really begin to do some really detailed simulations ….” … The entire project, including the computer, is expected to cost more than $300 million” (“California’s earthquake risk spurs supercomputing efforts”; Patrick Thibodeau; Computerworld US; arnnet.com.au, 11/21/10).

    • otter17 Says:

      Uh, don’t the real scientists use fancy measuring equipment and data processing techniques that actually perform important measurements?

      The point is that the likes of Heartland are using all that money primarily for writing and disseminating opinion pieces to instill doubt in the public mind. They are not conducting science, and they have no interest as of yet in representing the output of the scientific process accurately (such as the NAS, AAAS, and IPCC statements).

      As Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT once told me, it is about impact factor, really. Seeding public doubt probably doesn’t cost all that much as compared to doing real science and participating in the peer review process. It’s all about page hits and impact factor, baby!

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the naiveté is stunning.
      a satellite system costs a half a billion dollars – but we need dozens of them, not only to tell us about climate, but to warn us about hurricanes, plan for droughts, fires and floods, and hundreds of other tasks.
      living “luxuriously” in Greenland for weeks laboriously pulling up ice cores costs money, more than sitting at a keyboard someplace and whipping up nonsense on my excel graphs.
      this whole meme of “them scientists think they know more then yew, an’ they be liven it up in luxury in them ivory towers” is based on fostering resentment of the educated among the ignorant. No surprise it works on the Glenn Beck bunch.
      I’m surprised Maurizio has fallen for it.
      but then again….maybe not…


  3. Dana – you’re back being your old fascistic labeling self. How’s work nowadays?


  4. Last year alone universities in the UK received 72 million GBP for cancer research. Total government spending is in the excess of 234 million GBP. Imagine the total across the EU, then add up the USA, plus all NGOs…and you have a problem with 50 thousand dollars to Heartland from Phillip Morris and Co???

    For all intents and purposes, tobacco-causes-cancer sceptics do it for free. Even those paid to be sceptic, get hundreds of times less money than the medical scientific community. If there is a well funded denial machine, it’s firmly on the medical science side.

    • indulisb Says:

      David- your post makes no sense at all. The difference between $50,000 to spread disinformation compared to billions on medical research in clear and obvious. It takes a lot of effort and money to do real science and to get real answers, it takes a lot less to use a text editor to do a “global replace the word tobacco with global warming” in the spin documents (which it appears the doubt-spinners at Heartland have been doing- talk about guns for hire!).

      The work of publicly funded science should not be allowed to be undone by lobbying organisations who just make up “un-facts” and “un-science” and propagate them.

      The difference between science and spin is that the process of science self-corrects errors (e.g. cold fusion) given some time and investigation by other scientists.

      The process of spin just continues to lobby using the same “sow more doubt” approach- first tobacco, then DDT, then acid rain, then ozone depletion, now climate science. All the time, with a clear intent to promote vested interests rather than the facts.


  5. Peter, I am not sure M&M is human. There is an almost maniacal effort to change the subject. And, yeah, sure, I am joining KKK, just to meet new friends. Can you say fraud?

    Pay attention here. Exposing their donors is more effective than prosecution, although they deserve that, too. False statements to the IRS are punishable by law. Any green lawyers out there?

    The achilles heel here may be that if they are misstating their IRS reports or are misrepresenting themselves and are really lobbyists, they may be forced to reveal donors publicly. That may be why they hid their true nature. Perjury and fraud are IRS infractions punishable by law.

    Here’s a goodie, and guess who’s involved.

    IRS Says Think Tank Wrongly Involved in Politics

    But an official of the Heritage Foundation in Washington confirmed that the ruling involved Heritage and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, who in

    http://philanthropy.com/article/IRS-Says-Think-Tank-Wrongly/54483/


  6. David- your post makes no sense at all.

    Please see the post put up by Maurizio Morabito (omnologos)
    February 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm on this thread.

    (I guess I should have used sarc tags)

    The work of publicly funded science should not be allowed to be undone by lobbying organisations who just make up “un-facts” and “un-science” and propagate them.

    I agree completely.


  7. The story so far…to do any work about climate, billions of dollars are needed every year. So they say at Universities and research centers the world over, plus of course all the NGOs, Al Gore’s fund running into the hundreds of millions, untold number of IPCC delegates flying like there’s no tomorrow, etc etc.

    I don’t even want to ask what Dana’s salary is, and how much DeSmog gets every year. I’m even assuming Peter does it for free, as I do, as I have no evidence to the contrary.

    OTOH we have Heartland chugging along with “six point something millions”. And they are the BIG PROBLEM, alongside Lomborg with “one point zero million”. Plus I am supposed to be a fraud, despite my budget on the topic being “zero point zero zero zero three” millions.

    In the world out there, meanwhile, nothing gets done.

    This (the non-warmists’) should be celebrated as the most efficient way of spending money in the history, and taught to volunteer organizations the world over as mandatory campaigning techniques’ class.

    • Alteredstory Says:

      I can write an article like the one in the Washington post in two hours, and be more accurate in doing it.

      I won’t get paid TEN thousand for it, let alone fifty thousand.

      I’d be lucky to get a hundred.

      Writing opinion pieces takes no equipment, no time, and no travel.

      It also, however, contributes nothing to our understanding of the world.


  8. “The story so far…to do any work about science, billions of dollars are needed every year. So they say at Universities and research centers the world over,.
    OTOH we have Heartland chugging along with “six point something millions”. And they are the BIG PROBLEM.”

    Yep, that about sums it up.
    Lying to the public so that they don’t know what the scientific consensus is on reality is a big problem.

    It works for the Intelligent designers too.

    “The story so far…to do any work about modern biology, billions of dollars are needed every year. So they say at Universities and research centers the world over,.
    OTOH we have the Discovery Institute chugging along with “six point something millions”. And they are the BIG PROBLEM.”

    Fraud is indeed cheaper that scientific work.
    The satellites that NASA launches do not come for free.
    On the other hand, arranging press conferences and setting up websites and hiring nursing home escapees who were once scientists to flap their gums on TV is much, much cheaper.


  9. The IDers have been successful? Where?


  10. There is a lot of evidence that Heartland is in violation of 501 (c) 3.

    Right there on the tax form

    In answer to the question:

    Section 501 (c) (3) organizations

    Did the organization engage in lobbying activities … answered .. No

    No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation,

    Isnt Pat Michaels a member and didn’t he testify before Congress?

    n the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with Philip Morris to question the link between secondhand smoke and health risks.[7][19] Philip Morris used Heartland to distribute tobacco-industry material, and arranged for the Heartland Institute to publish “policy studies” which summarized Philip Morris reports.[19][20] The Heartland Institute also undertook a variety of other activities on behalf of Philip Morris, including meeting with legislators, holding “off-the-record” briefings, and producing op-eds, radio interviews, and letters.[19][21] In 1994, at the request of Philip Morris, the Heartland Institute met with Republican Congressmen to encourage them to oppose increases in the federal excise tax. Heartland reported back to Philip Morris that the Congressmen were “strongly in our camp”, and planned furthe

    Clear violations of 501 (c) (3)

    How did they get away with it? Who is covering for them?

    Part of 501 (c) (3) involves tests, sort of like, “if it walks like a duck”
    There is a very thin tissue of veneer separating Heartland from its associations with groups and persons that are openly lobbying. Based on that alone. it is a case for examining their “charitable” tax exempt status, much less their direct lobbying


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: