Willie Soon has gained a global spotlight from many recent news articles (New York Times, Boston Globe, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc). This was lit by documents obtained from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), whose former director had said of Soon that “no one pays any attention to him.” An impassioned defense was published, not by the CfA, but by the Heartland Institute, for whom he seems vastly more important, a tireless star. Heartland has even purchased Google AdWords, so the first hit for Willie Soon is this:
Soon's frequent efforts for Heartland started no later than 2003. They raise questions about potential unreported Conflict of Interest even if unpaid. But did Heartland pay him? If so, how much, when, for what and with whose money? Heartland is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose climate anti-science tactics were preceded by a long history of paid efforts for tobacco companies, as per Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free Of Tax.
Readers unfamiliar wiith Soon might start with DeSmogBlog's profile. and follow by reading story of a personal encounter. The history and other details motivate some questions, summarized next, then explained in detail.