The Heartland Institute
|Type||Libertarian think tank|
|Key people||President and CEO: Joseph L. Bast; Chairman: Herbert J. Walberg|
|Focus(es)||climate change; government policies on health care, insurance, and education|
|Revenue||US$4.7 million (2011)|
|Motto||Ideas that Empower People|
The Heartland Institute is an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank based in Chicago, which states that it advocates free market policies. The Institute is designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service and has a full-time staff of 31, including editors and senior fellows, as well as 222 unpaid policy advisors. Heartland's 990 form in 2011 reported revenues of $4.7 million. The Institute was founded in 1984 and conducts research and advocacy work on issues including government spending, taxation, healthcare, education, tobacco policy, hydraulic fracturing global warming, information technology, and free-market environmentalism.
In the 1990s, the group worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question serious cancer risks to secondhand smoke, and to lobby against government public-health reforms. More recently, the Institute has focused on questioning the science of human-caused climate change, and was described by the New York Times as "the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism." The Institute has sponsored meetings of climate change skeptics, and has been reported to promote public school curricula challenging the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.
History and leadership
In its early years, Heartland Institute focused on policies relevant to the Midwestern United States. Since 1993 it has focused on reaching elected officials and opinion leaders in all 50 states. In addition to research, Heartland features an Internet application called "Policybot" which serves as a clearinghouse for research from other conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the libertarian Cato Institute.
The Institute's president and CEO is Joseph L. Bast.
Heartland Institute questions scientific opinion on climate change, arguing that global warming is not occurring and, further, that warming might be beneficial if it did occur. The institute is a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition, which describes itself as "an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming." In Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway wrote that the Heartland Institute was known "for its persistent questioning of climate science, for its promotion of 'experts' who have done little, if any, peer-reviewed climate research, and for its sponsorship of a conference in New York City in 2008 alleging that the scientific community's work on global warming is fake."
In 2008 a bibliography written by Dennis Avery was posted on Heartland’s Web site, titled "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares”. In late April 2008, Heartland reported that the web site DeSmogBlog had "targeted The Heartland Institute in late April 2008, and in particular two lists posted on Heartland’s Web site of scientists whose published work contradicts some of the main tenets of global warming alarmism." The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the work of Jim Salinger, chief scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, was "misrepresented" as part of a "denial campaign". In response to criticism, The Heartland Institute changed the title of the list to “500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares.” Heartland did not remove any of the scientists' names from the list. Dennis Avery explained, "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics"..."but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see.”[nb 1] Their "reply to critics" page states, "Heartland posted a bibliography of peer-reviewed articles, originally produced by Dennis Avery for the Hudson Institute, that question one or more of the fundamental assumptions of the global warming alarmists e.g., whether the Medieval Warm Period was global, whether it was warmer than the second half of the 20th century, etc." and concludes, "The important point at the base of this controversy is that the published work of many scientists, even those who publicly support the alarmist position in the global warming debate, supports the view that most or all of the modern warming is due to natural causes."
In 2013 the Institute falsely portrayed a translation of one of its documents on global warming by the Chinese Academy of Sciences as a major shift towards skepticism by China's leaders. This was despite a preface in the translation saying it was to help them understand the public debate and was not an endorsement of the position contained in the document.
International Conferences on Climate Change
Between 2008 and 2012 the Heartland Institute sponsored seven International Conferences on Climate Change, bringing together hundreds of global warming skeptics. Convention speakers have included Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT; Roy Spencer, a research scientist and climatologist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville; S. Fred Singer, who is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute and was founding dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami and founding director of the National Weather Satellite Service; Harrison Schmitt, a geologist and former NASA astronaut and Apollo 17 moonwalker; and Dr. John Theon, atmospheric scientist and former NASA supervisor. In the first conference, participants criticized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore. The BBC reported that the heavily politicized nature of the Heartland conferences led some "moderate" climate skeptics to avoid them.
May 2012 billboard campaign
On May 4, 2012, the institute launched a digital billboard ad campaign in the Chicago area featuring a photo of Ted Kaczynski, (the "Unabomber" whose mail bombs killed three people and injured 23 others), and asking the question, “I still believe in global warming, do you?” The institute planned for the campaign to feature murderer Charles Manson, communist leader Fidel Castro and perhaps Osama bin Laden, asking the same question. In a statement, the institute justified the billboards saying "the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen." The billboard reportedly "unleashed a social media-fed campaign, including a petition from the advocacy group Forecast the Facts calling on Heartland’s corporate backers to immediately pull their funding," and prompted Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), to threaten to cancel his speech at the upcoming Heartland Institute Climate Change Conference. Within 24 hours Heartland canceled the campaign, although its President refused to apologize for it.[nb 2] The advertising campaign led to the loss of substantial corporate funding, the resignation of Institute board members, and the resignation of almost the entire Heartland Washington D.C. office, taking the Institute's biggest project (on insurance) with it. Subsequent to their resignation, the staff of the former Heartland insurance project founded the R Street Institute.
In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with Philip Morris to question the link between secondhand smoke and health risks. Philip Morris used Heartland to distribute tobacco-industry material, and arranged for the Heartland Institute to publish "policy studies" which summarized Philip Morris reports. 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. 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 further meetings with other legislators.
The Heartland Institute is a critic of the current Federal budget and tax code. Several of Heartland Institute's budgetary views include privatization of Federal services to a competitive marketplace, changing the tax code to a more simplified version of the current code, and implementing Taxpayer Savings Grants.
The Heartland Institute supports the availability of charter schools, providing education tax credits to attend private schools, expanding federal vouchers for low-income students to attend a public or private school of their family's choosing, and the Parent Trigger reform that started in California. The Heartland Institute argues that market reforms should be introduced into the public education system to increase competition and provide more options and greater choice for parents and their children.
The Heartland Institute advocates for free-market reforms in healthcare and opposes federal control over the healthcare industry. Heartland supports Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), replacing federal tax deductions for employer-based healthcare with a refundable tax credit to allow individual choice over health insurance, removing state and Federal healthcare regulations aimed at providers and consumers of healthcare, and reducing litigation costs which are associated with malpractice suits.
The Heartland Institute publishes five monthly public policy newspapers aimed at state legislators. These include: Budget and Tax News, which advocates lower taxes and balanced budgets for states and the federal government; School Reform News, which calls for greater competition and school choice; Environment & Climate News, which focuses on "market-based environmental protection"; Health Care News, devoted to consumer-driven health care reform and edited by Ben Domenech; and Infotech and Telecom News, which covers the technology and telecommunications industries from a free market perspective. The five monthly publications have a circulation total of nearly 200,000.
The Heartland Institute does not disclose its funding sources. According to its brochures, Heartland receives money from approximately 1,600 individuals and organizations, and no single corporate entity donates more than 5% of the operating budget, although the figure for individual donors can be much higher, with a single anonymous donor providing $4.6 million in 2008, and $979,000 in 2011, accounting for 20% of Heartland's overall budget, according to reports of a leaked fundraising plan. Heartland states that it does not accept government funds and does not conduct contract research for special-interest groups.
MediaTransparency reported that Heartland received funding from politically conservative foundations such as the Castle Rock Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In 2011, the Institute received $25,000 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. The Charles Koch Foundation states that the contribution was "$25,000 to the Heartland Institute in 2011 for research in healthcare, not climate change, and this was the first and only donation the Foundation made to the institute in more than a decade".
Oil and gas companies have contributed to the Heartland Institute, including over $600,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005. Greenpeace reported that Heartland received almost $800,000 from ExxonMobil. In 2008, ExxonMobil said that they would stop funding to groups skeptical of climate warming, including Heartland. Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, argued that ExxonMobil was simply distancing itself from Heartland out of concern for its public image.
The Heartland Institute has also received funding and support from tobacco companies Philip Morris, Altria and Reynolds American, and pharmaceutical industry firms GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Eli Lilly. State Farm Insurance, USAA and Diageo are former supporters. The Independent reported that Heartland's receipt of donations from Exxon and Philip Morris indicates a "direct link"..."between anti-global warming sceptics funded by the oil industry and the opponents of the scientific evidence showing that passive smoking can damage people's health."
As of 2006, the Walton Family Foundation (run by the family of the founder of Wal-Mart) had contributed approximately $300,000 to Heartland. The Heartland Institute published an op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal defending Wal-Mart against criticism over its treatment of workers. The Walton Family Foundation donations were not disclosed in the op-ed, and the editor of the Courier-Journal stated that he was unaware of the connection and would probably not have published the op-ed had he known of it. The St. Petersburg Times described the Heartland Institute as "particularly energetic defending Wal-Mart." Heartland has stated that its authors were not "paid to defend Wal-Mart" and did not receive funding from the corporation; it did not disclose the $300,000+ received from the Walton Family Foundation.
In 2012, following the February 2012 document leak (see below) and a controversial advertising campaign, the institute lost substantial funding as corporate donors sought to dissociate themselves from the institute. According to the advocacy group Forecast the Facts, Heartland lost more than $825,000, or one third of planned corporate fundraising for the year. The shortfall led to the Illinois coal lobby sponsoring the institute's May 2012 climate conference – the "first publicly acknowledged donations from the coal industry". Following the leak they also lost "a couple of directors and almost its entire branch in Washington, DC."
February 2012 document misappropriation
In February 2012, environmentalist scientist and president of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, obtained internal Heartland Institute documents by deceptive means, and divulged them, together with an additional document that he later claimed to have received from an unknown source, to public websites. The documents contained the 2012 Heartland budget, a fundraising plan and board materials. The documents disclosed the names of a number of donors to the institute – including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, tobacco companies Altria and Reynolds American, drug firms GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Eli Lilly, Microsoft, liquor companies, and an anonymous donor who had given $13 million over the past five years. Some of the documents also contained details of payments to climate skeptics and financial support to skeptics' research programs, namely the founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), physicist Fred Singer ($5,000 plus expenses per month), geologist Robert M. Carter ($1,667 per month) and a pledge of $90,000 to meteorologist Anthony Watts. Carter and Watts confirmed receiving payments. The documents also indicated that the institute planned to provide materials to teachers in the United States to undercut the teaching of global warming in schools. The documents also appeared to disclose Heartland's plans for "Operation Angry Badger", in which $612,000 was to be allocated for activities related to Wisconsin's recall elections. None of the leaked documents were independently authenticated.
Heartland maintained that the documents, which were first published on Desmogblog, were fraudulently acquired and declared that the last document was a fake that had been fabricated with the purpose of defaming and discrediting the institute. The Heartland Institute asserted that one in particular of the released documents, the "Climate Strategy Memo", was forged. Following an inquiry, the Pacific Institute reinstated Gleick, an action that "implicitly backed Gleick's assertion that he was not responsible for creating a document labeled a fake by Heartland." The Heartland Institute branded this action as a "whitewash".
In support of Heartland's claims of forgery, The Atlantic editor Megan McArdle concluded that the offending document's mismatched metadata, unprofessional writing style and references to specific individuals made its authenticity extremely unlikely.
In the wake of the release, several environmental organizations called on General Motors and Microsoft – companies that had donated to the institute in the past – to sever their ties with Heartland; additionally, scientists previously attacked by Heartland called on it to "recognise how its attacks on science and scientists have poisoned the debate about climate change policy."
On February 16, Gleick resigned as chair of American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics. On February 20, 2012, Gleick said he was mailed the disputed strategy memo from an anonymous source. He admitted obtaining the other documents from Heartland by deceptive means, "in a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics", and stated that "My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts – often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated – to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved."
On February 22, 2012, Congressman Raúl Grijalva requested a House Committee on Natural Resources hearing to investigate whether alleged Heartland payments to Indur Goklany, a senior adviser to the Interior Department, violated Federal ethics rules. Greenpeace also requested an investigation into this allegation on the same date. Golklany told Politico he had previously cleared his activities with his department's ethics unit. On February 28, 2012, the Committee announced that it was planning to ignore Congressman Grijalva's request.
- Heartland’s president, Joseph Bast, wrote "They have no right – legally or ethically – to demand that their names be removed from a bibliography composed by researchers with whom they disagree. Their names probably appear in hundreds or thousands of bibliographies accompanying other articles or in books with which they disagree. Do they plan to sue hundreds or thousands of their colleagues? The proper response is to engage in scholarly debate, not demand imperiously that the other side redact its publications."
- President Joseph Bast issued a statement saying: "We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment. We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate."
- "IRS Form 990 (2011), The Heartland Institute". 990 Finder. The Foundation Center.
- Heartland: Reply to Our Critics
- Mohr, Michele (January 8, 1995). "Back-yard Think Tanks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 5, 2011. "the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank based in Palatine"
- It also has been described as right-wing. See, for example:
- Pilkington, Ed (September 14, 2009). "Anti-Obama protesters march in Washington". The Irish Times. Retrieved September 3, 2010. "They include right-wing think tanks such as the Heartland Institute..."
- Connor, Steve (March 3, 2008). "Tobacco and oil pay for climate conference". The Independent. Retrieved September 2, 2010. "The first international conference designed to question the scientific consensus on climate change is being sponsored by a right-wing American think-tank which receives money from the oil industry."
- Harrabin, Roger (May 21, 2010). "Climate sceptics rally to expose 'myth'". BBC. Retrieved September 3, 2010. "At the world's biggest gathering of climate change sceptics, organised by the right-wing Heartland Institute..."
- Harte, Julia (December 16, 2009). "Shooting the Messenger". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved September 5, 2010. "Jay Lehr, science director at the right-wing Heartland Institute, concurs."
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (February 17, 2012). "Heartland Institute faces fresh scrutiny over tax status". The Guardian. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- Roberts, Alasdair Scott, Blacked out: government secrecy in the information age, (2006) Cambridge University Press, p. 253, via GoogleBooks. ISBN 0-521-85870-4, ISBN 978-0-521-85870-0
- "About Us". Heartland Institute.
- Smith, Taylor (June 7, 2012). "Research & Commentary: Hydraulic Fracturing Bans". Heartland Institute. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Tesler LE, Malone RE (July 2010). ""Our reach is wide by any corporate standard": how the tobacco industry helped defeat the Clinton health plan and why it matters now". Am J Public Health 100 (7): 1174–88. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.179150. PMID 20466958.
- Connor, Steve (March 3, 2008). "Tobacco and oil pay for climate conference". The Independent. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
- Oreskes, Naomi; Erik M. Conway (2010). Merchants of Doubt. Bloomsbury Press. ISBN 978-1-59691-610-4. pp. 233–234
- Gillis, Justin (May 1, 2012). "Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters". New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Harrabin, Roger (May 21, 2010). "Climate sceptics rally to expose 'myth'". BBC News Online. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Gillis, Justin & Kaufman, Leslie.Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Science, retrieved from NYTimes.com, February 16, 2012. Also published on The New York Times, pg. A23 with the title: "In Documents, a Plan to Discredit Climate Teaching".
- "Instant Expert Guide: Global Warming" (PDF). Heartland Institute. Archived from the original on December 1, 2006. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
- "About GlobalWarming.org". Cooler Heads Coalition. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
- 500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares, by Dennis T. Avery. From the Heartland Institute website; published September 14, 2007, accessed June 20, 2008.
- "Controversy Arises Over Lists of Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares" (Press release). Heartland Institute. May 5, 2008. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- McKnight, David (August 2, 2008). "The climate change smokescreen". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Lewandowsky, Stephan (15 June 2013). "Ethics Lost in Translation". Shaping Tomorrows Worls.
- "Chinese Academy of Sciences Publishes Heartland Institute Research Skeptical of Global Warming". The Heartland Institute. June 12, 2013.
- "The Statements on the Chinese Translation of the"Climate Change Reconsidered—NIPCC Report"". The Lanzhou Branch of the National Science Library, CAS. June 15, 2013.
- "Climategate Heads to Court". American Thinker. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Revkin, Andrew (March 4, 2008). "Cool View of Science at Meeting on Warming". New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (May 23, 2012). "Heartland Institute in financial crisis after billboard controversy". The Guardian.
- Climate wars heat up with pulled Unabomber billboards May 04, 2012
- Samenow, Jason, "Heartland Institute launches campaign linking terrorism, murder, and global warming belief", Washington Post, 05/04/2012. Accessed May 5, 2012.
- Geman, Ben (May 5, 2012). "Heartland Institute yanks Unabomber climate billboard". The Hill. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (May 9, 2012). "Big donors ditch rightwing Heartland Institute over Unabomber billboard". The Guardian. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne, "Heartland Institute facing uncertain future as staff depart and cash dries up", guardian.co.uk, May 20, 2012.
- Oreskes, Naomi; Erik M. Conway (2010). Merchants of Doubt. Bloomsbury Press. ISBN 978-1-59691-610-4. [page needed]
- "Roy Marden to Thomas Borelli et al." (PDF). Philip Morris Documents Archive. April 22, 1997.
- Marden, Roy (October 26, 1999). "Opposition to Fedsuit" (PDF). Philip Morris Documents Archive.
- "FET Update" (PDF). Philip Morris Documents Archive. January 28, 1994.
- "Education | Heartland Institute". Heartland.org. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- ""Health Care" on Heartland.org web page". Retrieved 11/5/2011.
- "Staff: Joseph Bast". Heartland Institute. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
- ISBN 9781934791332. OCLC 681344830
- Tea Party Toolbox, Heartland Institute
- The Patriot's Toolbox
- [dead link]
- Goldenberg, Suzanne, and Dominic Rushe (Feb 16, 2012). "Climate science attack machine took donations from major corporations". The Guardian. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Bast, Joseph (April 13, 2007). "Welcome to The Heartland Institute!". Heartlander. The Heartland Institute.
- "Heartland Institute Funding". MediaTransparency. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- "Foundation statement on Heartland Institute". Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- Revkin, Andrew (March 8, 2009). "Skeptics Dispute Climate Worries and Each Other". New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
- Monica Heger, "ExxonMobil Cuts Back Its Funding for Climate Skeptics," IEEE Spectrum, July 2008 (Retrieved Dec 27, 2011)
- Davies, Kert, "Exxon continued to fund climate denial in 2009", Greenpeace Blog, July 19, 2010. "[D]uring the same period where Exxon bent to the pressure on its campaign of denial and cut all funding to hard core deniers like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heartland Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute and others...." Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- The Battle Over Climate Science  PopSci June 21, 2012
- Adair, Bill (September 10, 2006). "Corporate spin can come in disguise". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "Toxic shock: A climate-change sceptic is melting". The Economist. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Gleick, Peter. "The Origin of the Heartland Documents". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Heartland Institute documents published". UPI.com. February 18, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "Leaked: Conservative Group Plans Anti-Climate Education Program". Scientific American. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (February 15, 2012). "Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science". The Guardian. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (February 16, 2012). "Heartland Institute 'fights back' over publication of confidential documents". The Guardian. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
- "Leaked: Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents". Heartland Institute. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Heartland Institute President Joe Bast on why global warming activist Peter Gleick stole and forged documents from his organization.". February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
- Scientist Is Reinstated After Deceit June 8, 2012
- McArdle, Megan (February 17, 2012). "Heartland Memo Looking Faker by the Minute". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
- American Geophysical Union, February 21, 2012, AGU Encourages Integrity in all Aspects of Climate Change Discourse
- Heartland Docs Indicate It Paid Gov't Scientist for Work, Mother Jones, Feb. 22, 2012
- Howley, Patrick, "Grijalva’s Climate Witch Hunt", The Washington Free Beacon, February 28, 2012.