Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor”?

In the wake of the leak of several apparently official documents from the Heartland Institute (along with one highly disputed two-page memo), much speculation has focused on the identity of an anonymous donor who has reportedly donated more than $13 million to Heartland in the last six years.

A number of possibilities have been put forward over the last days, but a clear front runner has emerged as Heartland’s likely primary donor. And the winner is …

Barre Seid, head of Chicago-based Trippe Manufacturing.

I first became aware of Seid’s probable role as Heartland’s Donor-in-Chief (and indeed his very existence) via a comment last week by Thomas Elifritz.

The really big donor would most likely be Barre Seid from Chicago.

See for instance : http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/18/921508/-Barre-Seids-Obsession

That 2010 Daily KoS diary entry by “shenderson” gives a harrowing first hand account of Seid’s attempted takeover of tiny Shimer College in Chicago. (And it also makes a strong case that Seid was behind the Islamophobic “Obsession” DVD, inserted into millions of newspapers in the U.S. during the 2008 election campaign).

As related by “shenderson”, things at Shimer started changing when it attracted the interest – and donations – of a new cadre of “businessmen” and “conservatives” with no apparent previous connection to the school.

And when one friendly person after another showed up offering ten grand or more just for a chance to sit on the Board of Trustees, well, so much the better.

… But the businessmen weren’t just businessmen, and the conservatives weren’t just conservative. Almost to a person, they turned out to be hand-picked stooges of Barre Seid, Chicago millionaire and longtime supporter of far-right causes.  The businessmen ran companies in which Seid had a large or controlling stake; many of the conservatives ran organizations that received massive sums from Seid.  These relationships were finally brought to public attention in late 2009 through two articles in the Chicago Reader.  But by then it was almost too late.

The second Chicago reader article (in early 2010) showed the takeover in full swing. And it also pointed to the involvement of Heartland and its head Joe Bast; Bast had leveraged a 2006 Heartland $650,000 donation to get a seat on the board of trustees in 2008. And other anonymous donations from the Donors Capital foundation were coming in, accompanied by the arrival on the board of other Seid lietenants. By early 2010, the newcomers had installed a new president, Thomas Lindsay, and gotten a revised mission statement passed, despite the protest of students, faculty and alumni.

But some were starting to fight back. Recent graduate Daniel Merchan (class of 2009) traced the large donations back to Barre Seid, and even uncovered an unauthorized ad for Shimer College in Heartland’s School Reform News, with the provocative headline, Tired of Political Correctness?

Heartland ad (L) and Marsha Enright (R) (teacher of "The Morality of Capitalism")

The confrontation was in full swing.

Barre Seid—who Merchán says isn’t a Shimer alum and hasn’t been on the board or given the school a donation in his own name—heads Chicago-based Trippe Manufacturing and Michigan City’s Fiber Bond Corporation. Trippe CFO/COO Charles Lang joined the Shimer board in 2008, as did Fiber Bond president John Marienau. That was also the year Heartland’s Bast joined.

Seid didn’t return calls for this story, and a Shimer spokesman said this week that “none of the administrative staff or board members are taking interview requests at this point.” But Bast did comment, saying that if there’s an attempt to change the school “I think it’s an attempt to return to the mission.” He added, “Many of the trustees are involved in philanthropy . . . so we have a lot of donors in common. And that’s not a conspiracy.”

Fortunately, in April 2010, the board voted narrowly to remove Lindsay as president, finally turning the tide.

Fast forward to last weekend, when I decided to look at the profile of Daily KoS diarist “shenderson”. And, lo and behold, he was back to connect the dots himself in an entry entitled, Who is the “Anonymous Donor” behind Denialgate? Here’s one possibility. The case is laid out in a lot of detail, and draws on the previous Shimer experience. But the summation ties all the evidence together rather neatly.

I contend that Chicago industrialist Barre Seid is by far the most likely known candidate for the status of the Heartland Institute’s “Anonymous Donor.”  The project is a close fit with Seid’s known interests, the method is a close fit with Seid’s known MO, and Seid is already known to be closely connected with the Heartland Institute, to which he has been the largest single donor. In addition, Mr. Anonymous and Mr. Seid match up in at least three ways that are unlikely to be coincidental: the use of the obscure “Donors Trust” vehicle to mask his identity, the insistence on being referred to internally only as “the Anonymous Donor”, and the very recent accession of known Seid deputy Chuck Lang to the board of the Heartland Institute.

The only slight misstep in the piece is the assertion that the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation donated more than $1 million to Heartland from 1998 to 2007.

Although this is technically true, Media Matters shows the 2007 donation was only for $21,500. The last  large donation from the Seid was in 2004, for $176,788.  Previous years also show similarly large donations, starting with $150,000 in 1998.

As John Mashey has shown in his exhaustive study of Heartland and other think tanks, large donations from Donors Capital (part of the donor-advised Donors Trust foundation) started in 2005 and continued through at least 2009.  That presumably includes 2006, the year of the Heartland donation to Shimer. (A list of recipients is normally attached in the foundation’s tax statements each year,but Mashey was unable to track down the 2006 list, as noted on p. 59. But it does seem very probable  that there was a significant  anonymous Donors Capital donations to Heartland in that year as well).

That revised sequence only strengthens the evidence, as it shows a compelling transition from the Seid foundation to Donors as Seid’s preferred vehicle for Heartland donations after 2004.

As I write this, Australian e-magazine Crikey says that the New York Times is about to report the identity of Heartland’s “anonymous donor”. I can’t know for sure, but I anticipate that the Times may well adduce additional evidence from the newly leaked Heartland documents, possibly including matching up the yearly amounts donated and pointing to new projects of likely interest to a virulently right-wing donor from Chicago.

If and when that happens, I’ll be sure to provide an update – and I may just remove the question mark from the title of this post once and for all.


95 responses to “Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor”?

  1. Um, Barre Seid is who again?

    • A bit like how the Kochs used to laughingly describe their companies as, “Koch Industries, the biggest corporation you never heard of.”

  2. Awesome work DC and John Mashey (and shenderson)!

  3. Spectacular as always. Regards.

  4. yup, The 2010 President of Shimer College refers in reveretial terms to “the Anonymous Donor” (his capitalisation). See http://alumni.shimer.edu/s/1028/index.aspx?sid=1028&gid=1&pgid=252&cid=1202&ecid=1202&crid=0&calpgid=61&calcid=772

  5. You spelled my name wrong, but that’s a good thing. I already have enough ‘billionaire’ problems. Thanks. Am I in trouble now again?

    I am diligently working for a future in which every billionaire in the world will want their own launch vehicles and remote sensing satellites, and every petty dictator and theocratic wannabee will be felled by their own actions long before those actions become dangerous. So far it’s been a failure.

    • Well, I’m compelled to correct it – credit where credit is due and all that.

      But not to worry: nobody cares how an obscure blogger like me got wind of this. Especially when it’s already out in the blogosphere, and the New York Times is about to break it wide open. Or so I hope.

  6. Seid’s motivation would appear to be entirely political ideology, since his business doesn’t appear to be one that would be particularly adversely affected by climate change adaptation. Heck, he might even have opportunities there.

    • That’s exactly what I thought, one would think he would be all over the alternative market with that well established trade name. Methinks he is missing the boat and needs to diversity into some expanding markets.

      I’ll gladly take the finders fee on those hot acquisition and merger tips.

  7. Don’t really see what you’ve discovered beyond what Sam Henderson already posted on DK two days ago. Hope you’re right that the NYT is preparing a more detailed reveal though.

  8. Peter Gleick’s owned up, with great regret, to soliciting the documents, after receiving initial documents from an anonymous sender. He specifically states that he altered nothing. A huge lapse of judgement, but I personally think he’s a damned sight more honest than many whom I could mention.

  9. This is really tragic.

    • Unfortunate, but not tragic. Tragic is the effect of inaction in the face of rising CO2 levels, thanks to the actions of organizations like Heartland.

  10. tragic? It’s the damned funniest thing I’ve heard all month!

    Gleick tried so hard to blow up Heartland – and he blew up his own career instead!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    • Good luck with that, Servo.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Heartland is still going down the drain. Count on it.

    • The thing with people like you is you forget important things, though whether that’s deliberate or simply an effect of your own inability to think for yourself I can’t say.

      What you forget is that regardless of the methods Heartland *has* (again) been exposed for the thing that it is – a lobby group partly funded by US taxpayers whose aim is to spread disinformation and misinformation about science, including irrefutable scientific evidence about the link between smoking and cancer. Evidently you know no-one close to you who has contracted lung cancer and who has suffered accordingly, and evidently you don’t care that your taxes contribute to the funding of an organisation that spreads demonstrably false propaganda.

      What you also forget is John Mashey’s work which, entirely independent of Gleick, sets out Heartland’s misdeeds and which, with luck and a following wind, will result in the IRS taking a very dim view on their activities.

      Take what amusement you can, while you can…

  11. Is Peter Gleick the anonymous donor?

  12. Heartland gets their climate science from the Russian propaganda. They cite the RIA Novosti summary of Kommersant, a newspaper owned by Alisher Usmanov. He does sensitive foreign operations for Gazprom and is tight with Putin. The “scientist” in the Kommersant story was Andrei Illarionov, a former Putin adviser, a former Gazprom adviser, who is now at the Cato. I laugh when the Cato and Heartland say they don’t like big government.

  13. @Bowers….
    I hardly think we could call Gleick honest at this point when he clearly seems to have outed himself with the ‘enemy’ closing in on him. I’m sure his lawyer advised him to write that announcement in hopes of minimizing the legal troubles that are surely about to come his way.

    • Not legal advice at all, Henry, high-powered media advisor-type advice. Try to keep up with the times. As for “closing in,” speculation based on him being named in the first document wouldn’t have been grounds to convict even if a crime had been committed. Which, note, there has not been (maybe by the leaker, if s/he is ever identified, but even that sounds more civil than criminal).

      That said, I hope HI does try to find some civil grounds to go after Peter. Discovery and depositions for that would be more than worth the popcorn expenditure.

    • You mean when the enemy were doing that which was in the strategy document?

    • Shorter Henry: Look, a squirrel!

      — frank

  14. Pingback: What I’m Reading Monday, February 20, 2012 | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

  15. The second Chicago reader article (in early 2010) showed the takeover in full swing.

    Heh. I notice that article mentions that the Seid Foundation has made some fairly hefty donations to George Mason University. Small world.

  16. I never knew Bast and Lakely are at American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as well as Heartland. Lots of senators and representatives listed in ALEC’s 990s. You learn something new every day.

  17. Wow!

    Peter Gleick (AKA Mr. Climate Crock of the Week, AKA Mr. Integrity in Science) confesses to stealing the doc’s. Law suits on the way.

    See you in jail Pete.

    Wow, wow, wow!

    It is so great being a climate denier. This is fun!

    [DC: Yes, Gleick has admitted using deception to obtain Heartland’s budget and fundraising plans. Also the legal situation is far from clear; however, I will note that Gleick has not been charged with anything as yet.

    Gleick has nothing whatsoever to do with Climate Crock of the Week.

    It seems you can’t post without getting facts wrong and making false accusations. So I’m really done with you. Thanks!]

    • Thanks for fixing that “Climate Crock of the Week” error. That’s a different Peter who runs that website. Sorry.

    • Klem is a regular jester/Denier at my blog. He posted the Same comment essentially there. Notice how he says he’s in jail in an oblique way? I LOLed.

  18. Cross-posted from Planet3.0:

    Sorry, but the “confession” looks fishy. There’s nothing on Gleick’s Twitter feed about it. The Pacific Institute web site also says nothing about it. Plus, the “confession” is so generic and free of detail — the details of the social engineering operation, which I pointed out as one of my main reservations over Heartland’s story, is completely glossed over (!).

    Anyway, here’s what his Twitter feed currently says:

    Great to be away with family. Celebrating 2 big birthdays. (Total =100!)
    12:40 PM Feb 18th via Twitter for Android

    If there’s something like an actual interview where Gleick fesses up, then I’ll believe it.

    — frank

  19. Any time klem posts, I’m reminded of a Red Skelton skit for some reason…. 🙂

    See you in jail Pete.

    So klem’s already in jail then?

    • What’s the maximum penalty for lobbying for Wisconsin Act 10 under the pretence of ‘research and education’, I wonder?

      — frank

    • There could also be issues with the IRS.

      For one thing, Heartland gave money to foreign groups that did not have charitable tax status. Two of these were associated with Tom Harris, namely the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and the International Climate Science Coalition.

      That may not be a felony earning prison time, but it surely should result in large fines and possibly revocation of charitable status. Ditto for clearly biased, misleading and flawed science “education” and “research” or unauthorized ads for a college or advertising intended to support a political campaign … and on and on.

  20. The interesting thing about Glieck’s admission is that he states he got the “forged” document *first*, then spear phished to get board documents in order to substantiate the claims in that document.

    This explains why the “forged” document was scanned, not receieved in e-mail. In other words, someone apparently sent him a hard-copy document, he fooled Heartland into e-mailing him supporting material, and he then scanned the original hard-copy document and bundled things into one tidy package for distribution.

    So – where did the “forged” hard-copy document come from?

    My guess is it’s not forged at all, but was an internal summary that someone, for whatever reason, chose to snail-mail to Gleick …

    Pure speculation but it hangs together coherently, no?

    • I would say Gleick’s story makes more sense than Heartland’s. Heartland has labelled Gleick’s assertion that he received the document in the mail “unbelievable”, and is in effect accusing Gleick of having forged the document. That seems very unlikely to me.

      Still, it’s difficult to know who wrote the Climate Strategy document or why, so I prefer not to to rely on it at all. And there is no need to.

    • John Callender has a theory:


      In short, he theorizes that Heartland deliberately crafted a bogus “strategy memo” to send to Gleick in order to pull a Rathergate on him, but their plan backfired when, unbeknownst to them, Gleick turned around and got some real memos from them.

      But I’m still curious how Gleick know exactly what to ask for, based on nothing but a supposed “strategy memo”…

      Well, perhaps the truth will slowly come to light once the legal proceedings get under way.

      — frank

    • In short, he theorizes that Heartland deliberately crafted a bogus “strategy memo” to send to Gleick in order to pull a Rathergate on him

      It would be odd to do so by creating a very *accurate* fake memo.

    • @Frank

      The strategy memo explicitly refers to two other documents by name – which were two of those Gleick obtained.

      I can well see it being much easier to fish for information by asking for “the 2012 Proposed Budget document and the 2012 Fundraising Strategy memo, and any associated minutes” than going in stone cold.

      If Gleick releases that email and it contains the titles of the documents he requested and obtained, that corroborates his story.

    • @dhogaza

      That’s what was so effective about the Dan Rather affair. Because those documents were unverified it stymied any discussion of the contents, no matter what other evidence emerged. The issue became completely toxic and inseparable from the criticism of CBS. That’s the logic behind the notion that Heartland in some way instigated the “fake” doc – it would mean that no-one could criticise Heartland funding, or their educational strategy, because of the enormous smokescreen created by the fake doc.

      Perhaps they got wind of Mashey’s investigation and wanted to poison the well before he released anything? It might explain the timing.

      /speculation ends

    • dhogaza:

      I’ve heard (but not yet checked) that while the “Climate Strategy” document is accurate in the broad outline, there are discrepancies in it in details like dollar amounts and dates.

      If Heartland really was trying to pull a Rathergate, then it’s entirely possible that Heartland deliberately injected some errors in these places when crafting the bogus memo, so that they can later point out these errors when the memo is released.

      — frank

    • The “climate strategy” document refers to $200,000 contribution from Koch in 2011. But the fundraising document shows $25,000 in 2011, and projects $200,000 in 2012 (which probably should be taken as a wish list).

      As I’ve said the provenance of this document is highly uncertain, and it simply is better to ignore it. The other documents, the ones that Heartland continues to call the “Alleged Heartland Documents” do appear to be authentic.

      But notice that this entire post about Barre Seid likely was based on previously available information (even though the “Alleged” documents do provide some corroborating information, as will no doubt emerge).

  21. 1. The memo shows signs of being created from the phished documents (the facts, some cut and pastes, even the couple mistakes on the Koch thing).

    2. The memo seems to be written from the viewpoint of how Gliek thinks HI would behave (deep in the evil villian lair).

    3. There are signs of his writing style.

    4. He has not reflected any anger against the person who mailed him the doc (insert a joke about OJ and the real killer or the “Mexican lady” who made the Rathergate memo). Normally, one would think he would have some anger at who-ever sent him the thing.

    5. He has not provided any corrobarating evidence on the provenance of the mailing or having talked about it with friends, etc.

    6. It is not written on letterhead and it does not have a real person’s name attached to the strat memo. (If you believe it was a Mosh plant, than you have to believe in the Karl Rove think about setting up Dan Rather because only Rather would be so stupid to buy an MS Word default settings memo from 1960s). in fact, the whole reluctance to believe in this stuff (for example was it really a confession, etc., )mimics the reaction of Rathergate memo-lovers who were dissapoitned when it was shown to be fake. This is human nature of course (not saying just of your side…all sides have this wish fullfillment drive…it is HUMAN).

    7. All of the above has been pointed out BEFORE the Gliek admission (as issues with the strat memo) by an AGWer who just likes sluething docs (Atlantic lady).

    8. Interesting that the memo has a big role for himself and takes swipes at his enemies (e.g. Curry). The whole thing comes across like Johan Hari (Wiki sock writing BLP slams against fellow journolists).


    Net/net: you gotta have the moxie to call out your own side. That’s why I take Steve to the woodshed when he is being a sophist.

    • 4. He has not reflected any anger against the person who mailed him the doc (insert a joke about OJ and the real killer or the “Mexican lady” who made the Rathergate memo). Normally, one would think he would have some anger at who-ever sent him the thing.

      Why? The “fake” document has shown itself to be mostly accurate. If the document had said that the Heartland Institute Board of Directors eat baby fetuses for breakfast and Gleick had publicized it only for it to be shown that Wheaties is the normal breakfast fare, sure, he’d have reason to be p*ssed.

      But p*ssed over a document that appeared to be an insider document and, after further information was received, was shown to be largely accurate? Why?

    • What would be his motive for faking it?

      As DeepClimate (and others) have pointed out:

      “I prefer not to to rely on it at all. And there is no need to.”

    • In terms of calling out my own side:

      (a) I think Gleick had a serious lapse of ethical judgement, as he himself has admitted. I’m sure there will be repercussions for his career.

      (b) There are enough doubts about the Climate Strategy document that it should not be relied upon in any way. I’m not the only blogger on “my side” who thinks that, but admittedly many don’t.

      Regarding your list of evidence, I’m not convinced by the arguments based on writing style or phraseology. For example, the modifier “anti-climate” (without any following word like “science” or “change”) appears to have been used only once in a Gleick tweet (where brevity is necessary), as opposed to dozens if not hundreds of instances where he used phrases like “anti-climate science”. So, although one can make a plausible case that the document is not what it purports to be, that doesn’t mean that it was written by Gleick. In fact, it’s hard to figure out why he would do that, since the official Bast documents are so damning (IMHO).

      #5 may be ultimately the deciding point one way or the other. Mind you, I can think of a number of reasons why Gleick would not talk about receiving the document to anyone (or perhaps only the person closest to him). And if he has evidence (the original hard copy or the envelope it came in), it may provide clues about his anonymous correspondent, whom he would want to protect. But if push comes to shove and Gleick wants or needs to clear himself of this particular accusation (i.e. the accusation that he forged the document, and then lied about its provenance), he might rethink that. Especially in the context of a criminal or civil case. We’ll see.

    • Also in terms of judging each side’s “story” (and by each side I mean Gleick and Heartland), one needs to consider that Heartland continues to refer to “fake” or “forged” documents in the plural, and has continued to suggest that the documents received from them may have been altered. Gleick says all documents are unchanged, and so far the evidence bears him out.

      So whether Heartland wants to admit or not, the fundraising and budget documents do give a faithful picture of Heartland’s plans.

    • And just so no one gets the idea that all climate scientists will line up behind Gleick.


      Warren Meyers posted a thoughtful comment on the Gleick incident here…


      He writes, “When we convince ourselves that those who disagree with us are not people of goodwill who simply reach different conclusions from the data, but are instead driven by evil intentions and nefarious sources of funding, then it becomes easier to convince oneself that the ends justify the means. And before skeptics revel in too much schadenfreude here, they are susceptible to falling into exactly the same trap.”

      [Response: Schadenfreude is a cheap thrill: fun but ephemeral. Gleick’s actions were completely irresponsible and while the information uncovered was interesting (if unsurprising), it in no way justified his actions. There is an integrity required to do science (and talk about it credibly), and he has unfortunately failed this test. The public discussion on this issue will be much the poorer for this – both directly because this event is (yet) another reason not to have a serious discussion, but also indirectly because his voice as an advocate of science, once powerful, has now been diminished. – gavin] [Emphasis added]

      And remember that climate scientists had already criticized the manner in which the Heartland documents had been obtained, well before they knew that such a prominent figure as Gleick was responsible.

      Click to access heartland.pdf

      We know what it feels like to have private information stolen and posted online via illegal hacking. It happened to climate researchers in 2009 and again in 2011. Personal emails were culled through and taken out of context before they were posted online. In 2009, the Heartland Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said. Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen emails. When more stolen emails were posted online in 2011, the Heartland Institute again pointed to their release and spread false claims about scientists.

      So although we can agree that stealing documents and posting them online is not an acceptable practice, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the Heartland Institute has had no qualms about utilizing and distorting emails stolen from scientists.

      So Gleick erred and will pay a heavy price. But Heartland can hardly claim the moral high ground here – far from it.

  22. Ted Kirkpatrick

    And also pay attention to the dog that didn’t bark: Heartland has made no response to John Mashey’s analysis of their 990s and other public documents. That analysis strongly indicates Heartland has done far more direct lobbying than permitted for a registered “educational” charity. The Gleick documents are inconvenient; Mashey’s analysis is potentially actionable.

    • That’s the irony here. The new documents do give a glimpse into Heartland’s strategy into the next two years, especially the new projects. But the reality is Heartland is just continuing to do what they have done – and gotten away with – over the past years and decades, as John Mashey had already demonstrated before this latest controversy.

  23. “At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.”

    “Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public.”

    Yeah, screw using a phone, or sending an e-mail or bringing the poorly written memorandum up with your fellow scientists, you impersonate a board member of a company to obtain said documentation to confirm for who? Like you would never get caught?

    That is insane, and does not even make logical sense.

    Seems reasonable.

  24. The memo got the donations wrong from the Koch people, strange huh? $ 25 000 was donated in 2011 not 200 000, for the health care program, not climate science – yet this donation makes its way into the memorandum.


  25. The documents did not surprise me much (except for “roosters of the apocalypse”), especially with regard to the K-12 education.

    See Fakeducation For Years From Heartland, (faked you kay shun). They’ve tried again and again, including in Canada, and Wojick’s proposal might have been a big step up for them 🙂

    Make sure to watch the 5-minute trailer.

  26. I just read Curry’s response to this and, for some reason i keep being surprised at her one sidedness and seeming irrationality.
    She describes “IPCC ideology” in terms that seem perfectly reasonable and consistent with the facts.
    Her post is mostly a fantasy of Climate “believers” motivations and the foolishness of being liberal.
    I do agree with her about the ethical failings revealed in climate gate regarding FOI and some other responses by the now well known scientists. Yet she does not even consider the possibility that those scientists WERE in fact being attacked and having their work grievously misrepresented, and that they did NOT then engage in faking science to further their “agenda”.
    The ONLY connection she sees between this and climate-gate is that both show unethical behavior from scientists. My inner response was “WTF?” How she can fail to mention the unethical publications and actions of HI and many other deniers, which is in my view, as much a comparable breach to Gleicks. It is completely different, and not illegal, but unconscionable nonetheless.
    At the end she quotes Scott Mandia calling Gleick a hero, and saying that
    the “climate insanity factor has just jumped upwards a big notch.” But she makes no judgement of the rest of his statement that accurately describes HI.
    I have tried to avoid thinking of her as a pure ideological opportunist, but after reading this it is hard not to come to that conclusion.

    • I also think it was outrageous for Curry to side with McIntyre on his biased and error-ridden misinterpretation of the “hide the decline” and subsequent emails as showing “deletion” of submitted data in the IPCC TAR. That was way over the line and I stopped taking her seriously after that.

  27. Talk about denial and red herrings. Heartland is a PRIVATE organization while Climategate is all about government funded fraud and abuse. Apple vs. Orange. It’s surprising there is this much ignorance about comparative disclosure rights in one location.

    Aside from that there is the huge scaling differences. By shaking down, Green mailing corporations and government funding the eco-left can out spend Heartland and others 30 to 1 at least.

    This is all whining because you are losing the debate for many years now since the 2006 hype peak. The science is against you, you hide from debate and depend on shutting out skeptics in open forums. The public caught on.

    • No, Heartland is just one of dozens of organizations, many of them much larger, that are doing the same thing. And since they accept de facto support from the government in the form of tax concessions, they do deserve to be scrutinized. And much of the problem is discernable from public information like 990s.

      And now climate anti-science has become such an integral part of the U.S. right wing, as an integral part of anti-government ideology, that hundreds of millions more or at the disposal of ignorant politicians who refuse to accept the science or are scared to be rational on this issue. It’s a pretty depressing state of affairs. But let’s not pretend it has anything to do with actual science.

    • cwon14 wrote:

      Aside from that there is the huge scaling differences. By shaking down, Green mailing corporations and government funding the eco-left can out spend Heartland and others 30 to 1 at least.

      If the 2008 election is any indication, its more like 14 to 1 – in favor of the fossil fuel industry:

      If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1. To be fair, not all of that lobbying is climate change lobbying, but that affects both sets of numbers. The numbers don’t even include lobbying money from other industries lobbying against climate change, such as the auto industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.

      The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
      Posted by: JeffMasters, 3:07 PM GMT on November 25, 2009

      cwon14 continues:

      This is all whining because you are losing the debate for many years now since the 2006 hype peak. The science is against you, …

      If science is the standard, the debate was won over 160 years ago.

      Please see:


      Of course we have learned a bit more since then. The fundamental physics has even made it into every day appliances. Tell me, you do believe in microwave ovens, don’t you?

      …you hide from debate and depend on shutting out skeptics in open forums. The public caught on.

      You mean like this?


    • The imagined highgound on “science” argument is especially annoying over time. You know more than Dr. Lindzen and hundreds of others in frankly more serious science fields and areas? Trying to quote a narrow politically driven enclave as “climate science” is a fraud and whitewash at the same time. The IPCC “consensus” is a political one honed for decades (driving out dissent of agw) and taken over by green agenda seeking tools. A marriage of Green, government expansion and wealth redistribution. No real issue understanding the alliance, all with a very similar political culture and background.

      That green groups form culturally isn’t a problem or an issue. That they hyjack and try to copywrite the word “science” in the process and find favor in those who also wish to expand government authority is the key baggage of the AGW hypothesis. It’s pompous and arrogant to cite the word “science” as your position and the many qualified parties who dissent as “anti-science”. It’s Orwellian or fascist in design.

      As to the funding advantage of greens, public school/university propaganda and owning the talking point in largely a leftist MSM I’m sure we aren’t going to agree. Do you really think I would accept a few words cut and pasted off of a fringe left-wing site? The “underground.com”?? Try something thought out;

      Click to access climate_money.pdf

      [DC: This comment is clearly against the stated comment policy. However I’m letting it through as a representative example of the “denialist” mindset. I’ll let folks reply too if they want to, but then we’re done with the conspiracy theories. Thanks!]

    • Some short answers, paragraph by paragraph.
      1) I and other commentators are relying on the corpus of actual science. Lindzen and a handful (not hundreds) of other “skeptics” (e.g. Christy and Spencer) have made some valid scientofic contributions. However, they’ve also made egregious errors and their work simply hasn’t stood up, especially as regards key issues like climate sensitivity. The suggestion of a broad climate-science “fraud” and “whitewash” is now a staple of right-wing ideology, but is completely unsupported by any actual evidence and is frankly nonsensical. The IPCC WG1 (which is the group that produces the main science IPCC report) is run by the some of the world’s most accomplished scientists. It is deeply offensive, not to mention seriously void of any logic or evidence, to suggest that this group is simply promulgating a “green” agenda to achieve “government expansion and wealth distribution”.

      2) Sorry, the science is what it is. And the attacks on science are highly evident. But you are just too blinded by ideology to see that.

      3) A “largely leftist MSM”? No, in fact, we have an MSM that for the most part attempts to act responsibly, but often gets it wrong through a “muddled middle” attempt to provide “balance” (e.g. Revkin or Pearce). And then we have right-wing propganda on the editorial pages of ideologically committed right-wing outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the National Post. Not to mention out-and-out propaganda machines like Fox News and Sun TV News. They are a disgrace to an honourable profession.

      And then you end by linking to SPPI, yet another ideologically driven purveyor of claptrap, associated with the lauaghable (and throughly discredited) Lord Monckton.

      The scariest part of all this is that the next President of the U.S. might actually agree with you.

  28. My conspiracy theory is that the Illuminati are using chemtrails sprayed from commercial airliners owned by the Koch brothers to control the minds of Republicans and make them think climate science is a conspiracy. This will result in a disintegration of the political discussion in the US, with a concomitant rise in power of The Catholic League in concert with the election of President Santorum with support from the Heartland Institute, eventually leading to the Pope becoming the United Nations Dictator and abolishing all our precious freedoms and polluting our precious bodily fluids through forced Communion with adulterated crackers. Ever notice how close the words communion and communism are to each other. That was my first clue.

    • Their main devices for controlling minds are tinfoil hat. You put one on and you become a robot. Ironic, eh?

  29. Hi, just wanted to say thanks for this, and mention that I’ve posted a follow-up of sorts, going into a few points that I had skipped over in the initial post: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/22/1067186/-Is-Barre-Seid-the-Heartland-Institute-s-Anonymous-Donor-Further-considerations-

    • That has a useful compendium of all mentions of the “Anonymous Donor” in the Heartland “Alleged Documents”. As I hinted above, the interest in the Cook County Debt (Chicago) and Angry Badger (Wisconsin) projects, both close to Barre Seid’s home turf, are further compelling circumstantial evidence pointing to Seid.

    • Every time I hear “Cook County” I can’t help but think of the Blues Brothers:

      “We’re on a mission from God.”

    • Shenderson: good analyses, we’re all getting to the same Barre Seid from convergent directions. Regarding part 3.

      1) See Fake… H.1.1, p.55 where donations suddenly jump 2.5M, but then the next year., suddenly, HI makes grants to other charities,
      All but one of those show up in Donors Capital, although I’m not sure all come from Seid. It sure looks like conduit, and likewise to PRI, Galen, CfAH in 2010, but those didn’t look Seidish.

      2) ) 2007 DONORS CAPITAL has:
      Form 990. Part VI, Page 7, line 90a
      States Filed In
      Connecticut [?]
      Florida [likely William Dunn, Dunn’s Foundation for Right Thinking]
      lllinois [Seid, 34 IL, 5 IN, 6 WI]
      New York {David Koch,maybe]
      Tennessee [?, 5 TN, 2 KY]
      Virginia [?, 45, although many of those are big, but some are very local, like Mt Vernon Ladies]
      Washington [?,,7 in WA, 5 in OR]
      New York [?]
      I’m not exactly sure what that means, but many donations show up in/around those states.

      3) The pattern is:
      a) Geographic clusters of small local charities.
      b) BIgger ones spread out, which get most of the money.

      FL has about 30, mostly small charities from Hobe Sound up to Orlando, but Dunn’s gives to lots of the usuals.
      There’s some possible spillover into GA.

      Two missing states:
      TX: about 35 TX charities are represented, most either in Midland-Odessa or Dallas. There are 3 in Highland Park including a school choir booster club.
      I’ve been there years ago. It’s nice, the 3rd/4th wealthiest town in TX.
      I think it is very likely one donor is there, either with ties to Midland-Odessa, or there’s another one over there.]

      PA: there are a few Scaife favorites in the overall list, including Commonwealth Foundation (PA) and CFACT (DC).

      3) I don’t recall if you had this anywhere, but Fake…
      p.42 had the 1999 donors, and links to 200-2002.
      Seid is right up there with Philip Morris, D&D Seid (~Searle, the other possible Chicago-based one, but far less likely, espeically as p.59 shows that Bradley has consistently supported HI, and Searle gave openly, as did Koch.

  30. In the 60’s, Republicans vilified Kennedy because he was a Catholic and took orders from the Pope. Now they love Santorum . Ironic eh?

    John McManus

  31. Mr. McManus
    The Vatican accepts climate change and the IPCC reports. The Pontifical Academy of sciences has some of the most famous scientists in the world, such as Ramanathan and Crutzen. These two scientists also work on the IPCC. The Vatican’ Pontifical Academy has conferences about climate change.

  32. What happened, did the NYT get cold feet?

  33. I believe the anonymous donor issue has been overtaken by events.

    This is pretty funny (and good) though :


  34. Greg Laden’s done some more testing.

    Similar results.

    Well, Watts *was* the one who suggested using this tool to compare 🙂

  35. It’s probably me, but I didn’t notice any comment on the nomination of Charles ‘Chuck’ Lang to the board (see Agenda item (3) and his CV (resume) in the Appendix to the Minutes (a href=”http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/Binder1.pdf”>Binder1 pdf)

    Lang is currently CFO for Trippe Manufacturing Co.

    I was encouraged to read in the Financial Report for Q4 2011 (also in Binder1) that:

    * For the year, we spent $415,000 more than we raised.

    * Since we started the year with approximately that same amount in net assets, we ended the year with net current assets of virtually zero ($21,799).

    And especially that (emphasis added):

    * $700,000 – Anonymous donor: The anonymous donor reduced his giving from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011. We are extinguishing primarily global warming projects in pace with declines in his giving, and we were careful not to hire staff based on his past generosity.

  36. Apologies – Lang’s appointment to the Board is mentioned by the Daily Kos towards the end of this article.

    I also seem to have messed up an html tag above. Impressive debut comment.

  37. It gets better. I now notice that Lang is mentioned in one of the ‘shenderson’ quotes in the original post. Oh well, some you lose… some you wish you hadn’t started 😉

  38. I don’t know, of course, but the plan to make so-called “balanced” educational materials seems more like ALEC.


  39. dhogaza asked: “What would be his motive for faking it?”

    First, as an excuse for his fishing expedition, if he got caught. [Ironically, of course, due either to good sleuthing, astonishing coincidence, or the most incredible super-villainous scheme that ever actually worked, it was the fake memo that actually led to him getting caught.]

    Second, self aggrandisement by painting himself as the nemesis of the Heartland Institute, and to smear Andy Revkin and Judith Curry by associating them with it.

    Third, to ‘sex up’ the rather unexciting cache of documents he had obtained.

    If he did indeed fake it (and of course we must remember that he has not yet been charged, let alone convicted) it is inescapable that the second motive above was present, but the others seem probable too.

    Why would he want an excuse? He would probably have known that many in the green blogosphere would consider him a hero, after all. But shortly prior to his obtaining the documents by deception, he had – in the course of an email exchange with Jim Lakely of the Heartland Institute who had invited him to a debate – asked for and been refused a list of Heartland donors. As Lakely put it: “In short: We used to publicly list our donors by name, but stopped a few years ago, in part, because people who disagree with The Heartland Institute decided to harass our donors in person and via email.”

    After obtaining the documents, it might have occurred to him that if he were caught, his actions in obtaining and publicising them might be construed as being carried out with the precise intention of causing Heartland donors to be harassed in various ways. He might have reasoned that if he could claim to have been sent – before his conversation with Lakely – an anonymous document mentioning him by name, it would provide plausible deniability for such a charge.

    So, one does not have to be Hercule Poirot to come up with possible motives.

    • “[Ironically, of course, due either to good sleuthing, astonishing coincidence, or the most incredible super-villainous scheme that ever actually worked, it was the fake memo that actually led to him getting caught.]”
      Sorry, none of that is plausible. More likely Heartland traced his emails. The claim that Mosher, Kaminsky or anyone else figured out the memo was faked by Gleick solely from the writing style is not believable.

      The claim some have made that the memo was a pastiche does not necessarily mean it was faked, since it is quite plausible that a Heartland employee might draft such a memo using previous writings by Heartland, including Bast.

    • “Unexciting”? Bloggers write angry e-mails to Heartland about Operation Angry Badger, and Congressman Raul Grijalva is calling for the investigation of Indur Goklany. Do you think any of these would be happening if the released documents were “unexciting”?

      It’s more as if inactivists are trying very, very, very hard not to see the malfeasance which, to everyone else, is right there in plain sight.

      — frank

  40. OT for this thread perhaps but I was wondering whether DC has looked at all into these robocall allegations and the links between the conservatives and various companies and forms of electoral fraud involved there?

  41. I have waded into Climate Audit and numerous people are claiming that some sort of timeline and other details point almost exclusively at Gleick being the author of the memo. I did not really understand the reasoning and have NOT seen it expressed in other” pro ACC blogs. Does anyone know whether their reasoning is valid?

    • “I did not really understand the reasoning…”

      The answer’s probably in your own words, not theirs 😉 A clue is the insistence, before any actual investigation or further comment from Gleick, of using the term ‘fake memo’. Heartland says it’s so, so it’s just gotta be so. So much for scepticism. Gleick’s ‘it’ for this hunting season on the Serengeti.

  42. There is a development with regard to Gleick:

    February 27, 2012


    The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations. The Board has agreed to Dr. Gleick’s request for a temporary leave of absence. Following a distinguished career in energy and environmental policy, Elena Schmid has been appointed as the Acting Executive Director. The Pacific Institute will continue in its vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity.

    • Since Gleick has already admitted to other allegations (using deception to obtain Heartland documents), presumably this review will cover the allegation of forgery of the Climate Strategy document.

  43. GM is pulling its support for Heartland, perhaps because of this specific campaign:

    “…Souweine says his group began flooding GM’s Facebook site with requests to stop funding Heartland, and that they believed GM would respond because of their respect for customer loyalty and because they were sensitive to having taken so-called bailout funds from the federal government…”


    I got the link from http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2012/03/general-motors-pulls-support-for.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter via Planet3.0 tweet