Donors Trust

Mon, 2014-01-27 19:49Graham Readfearn
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Mont Pelerin Society A Window Into Ideological Heart Of Kochtopus Climate Denial

It’s known as the Kochtopus – the extensive network of think tanks, institutes, university departments, political funding arms and “grassroots” activist groups funded by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The multi-tentacled network has pumped tens of millions of dollars into groups that deny the risks of human-caused climate change.

But if it is Koch cash that helps fuel these groups, then what is it that fuels the Koch brothers themselves beyond the obvious financial interest?

As DeSmogBlog has revealed, Charles Koch is a long-standing member of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) – a global group of industrialists, academics and economists who share the “neoliberal” ideology of limiting government control.

If the Koch network has many groups dangling from its tentacles, then Charles Koch’s membership with the Mont Pelerin Society provides a window into the ideological heart of the Kochtopus.

DeSmogBlog today publishes the global membership directory of the Mont Pelerin Society as it was in 2010, with all personal contact details redacted.

Thu, 2013-12-05 17:29Steve Horn
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Stink Tanks: State Policy Network Internal Budget Documents Revealed by The Guardian

It's been a rough week for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The “corporate bill mill” group's annual States & Nation meeting was overshadowed by damaging evidence of misconduct revealed by The Guardian. 

And it just got a whole lot rougher with yet another investigative installment in The Guardian series.

This time, instead of focusing on ALEC alone, Guardian reporters Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington took a big swing at what Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Now have called the “stink tanks” network run by the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN). Leaked a copy of SPN's tax and budget proposal published in July 2013, the documents offer a rare glimpse inside the SPN machine.

One of the biggest revelations in the energy and environment sphere: SPN Associate Member, the Beacon Hill Institute “requested $38,825…to weaken or roll back a five-year effort by states in the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” explained The Guardian. “The institute said it would carry out research into the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system operating in nine states known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”

BHI appeared to have already arrived at its conclusions in advance, admitting from the outset that the aim of the research was to arm opponents of cap-and-trade with data for their arguments, and to weaken or destroy the initiative.”

Another huge related development came in a piece published concurrently by The Guardian. That piece pointed out that Beacon Hill Institute is in trouble with its host institution Suffolk University for pushing research explicitly funded by SPN to oppose the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, with research results already determined before the inquiry began. 

Tue, 2013-09-10 22:41Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Denial Playbook: Marc Morano's History of Bullying Scientists

If you've even heard of Marc Morano, you probably watched him angrily attacking a climate scientist, journalist or Al Gore on Fox News or on his blog Climate Depot, a project of the Donors Trust and oil industry-funded CFACT. Morano is so agitated in his climate denial that he once advocated that climate scientists be “publicly flogged.”

Originally a producer for the Rush Limbaugh Show, Morano ascended (descended?) to the position of Communications Director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Denial), where he helped his boss to abuse the power of the Senate hearings process to attack climate science and promote conspiracy theories. Inhofe and Morano were corrected and debunked endlessly, but facts have proven no obstacle to Morano's crusade against science confirming the role of fossil fuel pollution in driving global warming.  

Morano has also worked for extreme right wing operatives Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich and Brent Bozell. Morano once quipped to a group of Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists that, “Inhofe is as far left as I'll go for an employer.”

Morano's current organization, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), has received over $4.1 million in funds from the shadowy Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund between 2002-2011, plus an additional $582,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998-2012, according to Greenpeace's updated report, Dealing In Doubt

In partnership with Polluterwatch, DeSmog presents the first in a series of Climate Denial Playbook entries for some of the most notorious climate deniers. Fittingly, Marc Morano kicks off the series: 

Tue, 2013-04-09 20:52Connor Gibson
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Koch & Exxon-funded Willie Soon Challenged by Students at Climate Denial Event

Crossposted from PolluterWatch.

Rarely do we meet those who have made careers selling us lies. Consider the oddball doctors who took tobacco money to deny a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, or the handful of scientists who take oil and coal money to discredit global warming science, or the people who have done both.

Last week, students in Wisconsin and Michigan stepped up to such an opportunity when CFACT Campus, the student arm of a well-known cabal of fossil fuel apologists, hosted climate change denier Willie Soon at several campus events around the country.

Sun, 2013-02-17 22:15Graham Readfearn
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How To Spot A Fake Grassroots Movement

PERHAPS somebody should write a pocket guide book with the title: “How to spot you've been suckered by a fake grassroots movement”.

Once it's written, these guide books could be distributed free of charge to crowds at anti-carbon tax rallies, US Tea Party marches and pretty much any gathering of a “movement” telling you that you're freedom is being put at risk by big governments, nanny states, new world orders or communists disguised as climate scientists or public health professionals.

But why the sudden need for the guide?

There's now emerging evidence that if these really are “grassroots” movements, then many of the seeds and the fertilisers are being supplied by major corporations and “libertarian” billionaires. It turns out that the US Tea Party movement and its calls for “freedom” from government intervention wasn't some organic uprising of community concern after all.

A new academic study documents how the Tea Party was envisioned and planned by tobacco company executives in concert with Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group established by oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

As reported on DeSmogBlog, the study “‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party” shows how the industry wanted to hide their profit motive and fear of the government regulating their deadly products behind a “movement to change the way that people think”, as R.J Reynolds Tobacco's head of national field operations Tim Hyde described it.

Thu, 2013-02-14 10:01Kevin Grandia
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Startling Graph Shows Donors Trust the New 'Dark Money' in Climate Denial Funding

Have you heard of Donors Trust?

Most DeSmogBlog readers have heard for years about how the likes of the billionaire Koch Brothers, and major energy companies like ExxonMobil, have pumped tens of millions of dollars into industry front groups that are paid to attack and deny the scientific realities of climate change.

But the landscape has taken an abrupt change today, with the most stunning report so far by the UK's Guardian newspaper, on a little known organization called Donors Trust. 

Here's the Guardian's graph showing that in and around 2006, Donors Trust began to support climate science attack groups, like the Heartland Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, to the tune of more than $20 million a year:

Who is Donors Trust?

Donors Trust is a non-profit organization that collects funds from donors and redistributes those funds to other non-profit organizations that fit a set of right-wing ideological criteria.


 

On their website, Donors Trust describes themselves as a solution to the problem of philanthropic capital straying from the original donor's wishes and, “the free market principles that made their philanthropy possible in the first place.”

Thu, 2012-10-25 13:55Kevin Grandia
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Key Findings From the Mashey Report on Donors Trust

Dr. John Mashey's report is posted exclusively on DeSmogBlog today. The report, exposing the right wing's money scrubbing scheme, is extensive in detail to say the least.

In a nutshell, the 200+ page report finds that wealthy donors like the Koch brothers and Chicago industrialist Barre Seid move money through two organizations called Donor Trust and Donors Capital Fund, which in turn passes that money on to major right wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity.

This money is then used for coordinated efforts to attack science, undermine environmental protections and cast doubt about the scientific realities of climate change.

Here's a summary of findings:

- The report presents evidence that confirms the speculation that Chicago industrialist Barre Seid has pumped millions into the Heartland Institute's “global warming projects” to boost their efforts to fight climate change science [page 57].

Thu, 2012-10-25 05:00John Mashey
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Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free Of Tax

Money falls from the sky, anonymously

Follow the money.  October 23, PBS Frontline's Climate of Doubt gave viewers an hour's coverage of the tactics of climate anti-science, its advocates and a quick look into the funding behind it. Read on to follow the money deeper into the funny finances, all free of tax.

Last February, Fake Science, Fakexperts, Funny Finances, Free Of Tax explored some of those issues in detail. More information has been unearthed since, especially on DONORS TRUST, which Robert Brulle discussed with Frontline. Charles Koch and others use DONORS TRUST to anonymize their funding of policy/advocacy groups.  The attached revision exposes more detail of the $311 million given through DONORS between 2002-2010, managed by Whitney Ball.

Wed, 2012-02-29 15:59Graham Readfearn
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How Heartland-style Climate Sceptic Campaigns Play "Hide the Deniers" Using Secretive Fund

A LOW-PROFILE funding organisation acting as a middleman for wealthy conservative businesspeople has been quietly backing climate denial campaigns across the US.

The Virginia-based Donors Capital Fund and its partner organisation Donors Trust has been giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups blocking attempts to limit greenhouse gas pollution and undermining climate science.

Yet the structure of the funds allows the identities of donors and the existence of any vested interests to remain hidden from public view.

Step aside the fakery of “hide the decline”. Say hello to “hide the deniers”.

During the 2009 unlawful release of the private emails of climate scientists, the phrase “hide the decline” became a catch cry for the denial industry as it tried to convince the world that global warming was some kind of hoax.

Sceptics, fake climate experts, conservative politicians and right-wing commentators latched onto the phrase contained in an email from British climate scientist Phil Jones.
 
Sceptics claimed it was evidence scientists were trying to manufacture global temperature records. In fact, Professor Jones's email said nothing of the sort. 
 
Jones, as he explained to many, including the BBC, was referring to data taken from tree rings that, up to the 1960s, had correlated well with global temperatures.
 
But “removing the incorrect impression given by tree rings that temperatures… were not rising”, as Jones explained, just didn’t have the same ring to it as “hide the decline”.
 
The most high profile case involving climate sceptics since that non-scandal of “Climategate” is the ongoing unmasking (or for some, confirmation) of the methods the free-market Heartland Institute think-tank deploys to confuse the public about the dangers of fossil fuel emissions.
 
But the case also gives an insight into how Heartland and other ideologically aligned groups gather their funding while preserving the identity of their wealthy backers.
 
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