Climate Skeptic Organization Feels the Heat

By Keith Kloor
Feb 15, 2012 1:19 PMNov 20, 2019 4:22 AM


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UPDATE: The Heartland Institute has responded. See bottom of this post for an excerpt. Somebody sent the Heartland Institute a wicked Valentine. It was probably meant for Joseph Bast, Heartland's President and CEO. Based on my reading of the leaked documents, I'm thinking that a recently fired employee or someone still there is not feeling a lot of love for Bast and the way he runs his organization. The whistleblower/insider sent an email around to a bunch of folks yesterday, which got forwarded to me. While the documents have been disseminated on the internet, nobody reporting on this appears to have mentioned the accompanying email:

Dear Friends (15 of you):

In the interest of transparency, I think you should see these files from the Heartland Institute. Look especially at the 2012 fundraising and budget documents, the information about donors, and compare to the 2010 990 tax form. But other things might also interest or intrigue you. This is all I have. And this email account will be removed after I send.

Translation: Follow the money. That's what one citizen auditor (John Mashey) was already doing when Bast got his unwelcome Valentine. Desmogblog says of the Mashey report:

It both corroborates and is corroborated by the leaked Heartland documents, which reinforce Mashey's conclusion that Heartland is a for-profit public relations and lobbying firm that is operating with non-profit status by misrepresenting the nature of its activities in its own tax filings.

I haven't read Mashy's audit yet, but after having plowed through the (presumably real) Heartland documents posted online, I wouldn't be surprised if the IRS is moved to do its own audit of the Heartland Institute, or at the very least revisit the organization's 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Meanwhile, the way Heartland goes about its propaganda mission (as revealed by the docs) is already providing much fodder for the climate wars. UPDATE: The Heartland Institute, in response, claims:

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute's 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

Well this story just got a whole lot more interesting.

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