Kristin Strohm

Kristin Strohm is the managing partner at Starboard Group, a PR and political fundraising firm she founded. Kristin Strohm worked for former Colorado politician Josh Penry in his run for State Senate in 2006. Penry and Strohm married in 2012, shortly after Penry's divorce from his wife, whom he had married in 1999.

Evidence: 

 

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Kristin Strohm has successfully solicited major funding from the Kochs. While Strohm was the finance director for Mike Coffman’s congressional campaign, Coffman benefited from ads run by Americans for Prosperity supporting his campaign. Through Strohm, he also received the maximum possible donation allowed by law from David Koch. 

Starboard Group’s website boasts of working for the Koch Brothers' flagship front group, Americans for Prosperity. Strohm has also hired former Koch Interns to the Starboard Group. A former director of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, a front group created by Strohm, attended the secretive 2010 Koch strategy meeting in Aspen.

 

 

Fracking

Strohm and Starboard Group have been tied to a number of front groups that promote fracking. Strohm created and chairs the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, a coalition that promotes fracking and coordinates anti-regualtory PR campaigns.

The Colorado Jobs Alliance and The Common Sense Policy Roundtable Forum  were created by Starboard Group to oppose local control over shale drilling and fracking. Both groups also publicly support Vital for Colorado, another pro- drilling group tied to Strohm. 

 

 

Known Associates: 
Industry: 

Patrick Moore's Pesticide Challenge: You Can Drink This...But I Won't

  • Posted on: 24 March 2015
  • By: Connor Gibson

Here's a lesson for lobbyists: eating your words is a lot safer than drinking the poison you help sell.

Today's lesson is brought to you by Dr. Patrick Moore, who has worked for pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, refusing to drink Monsanto's product just seconds after claiming it's safe to do so:

Industry: 

Willie Soon

Status: 
"I'm as qualified as anybody that you know on this planet on this topic."
Position: 
Researcher

Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon is an astrophysicist employed by the Smithsonian Institution at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophsycical Observatory's Solar and Stellar Physics Division. Since 1992, he has been a scholar at Mount Wilson Observatory.

Evidence: 

Research Funding: $1,657,587 from fossil fuel interests and fossil fuel-linked dark money orgs:

Data published by Greenpeace from Freedom of Information Act records provided by the Smithsonian Institution. Data updated Feb, 2015.

Southern Company - $409,754

  • $110,000: "Understanding Arctic Climate Change," 2006-2007
  • $120,000: "Solar variability and Climate Change signals from temperature," 2008-2009
  • $60,003: "Understanding solar radiation and climate change," 2011
  • $59,942: "Understanding solar radiation and climate change, 2011-2012
  • $59,809: "A STUDY OF SOLAR ACTIVITY VARIATION ON MULT PLE TIMESCALES [sic]," 2013-2015

DonorsTrust - $389,734

  • $50,000: "Understanding solar radiation and climate change," 2011
  • $64,935: "Understanding solar radiation and climate change," 2011-2012
  • $64,935: "A Circum-global Teleconnection View of Regional Sun-Climate Connections," 2012-2013
  • $209,864: "WAVELET ANALYSIS AND SOLAR DYNAMO THEORY OF SOLAR ACTIVITY VARIATIONS," 2013-2015
  • More on DonorsTrust finance of climate science denial from GreenpeaceThe Guardian and Mother Jones.

ExxonMobil Foundation - $335,106

  • $105,000: "listed by Exxon as a grant to SAO," 2005
  • $105,000: "listed by Exxon as 'project support' to SAO," 2006
  • $55,000: "Exxon-Arctic climate change," 2007-2008
  • $70,106: "Exxon-soon solar variability," 2008-2010

American Petroleum Institute - $273,610

  • $58,380: "Sun's impact on climate over the last 1000 years," 2001-2002
  • $60,052: "1000 years of solar variability," 2003
  • $50,178: "The 11-22 year climate responses," 2004-2005
  • $50,000: "Understanding Arctic climate change," 2005-2006
  • $55,000: "The solar influence of Arctic climate change," 2006-2007

Charles Koch Foundation - $230,000

  • $110,000: "Koch/Mobile Charitable foundation," 2005-2006
  • $65,000: "Understanding solar variability and climate change," 2010
  • $55,000: "Understanding solar radiation and climate change," 2010-2012

Free to Choose - $19,383

  • "The Sun's influence on climate change," 2008

InsideClimate News documents at least 11 instances when Soon's research was submitted to journals for publication without disclosing payments from Southern Company and DonorsTrust, violating the policies of a majority of those publications. 

Most scientists reject Willie Soon's oft-repeated thesis that the Sun is responsible for global temperature changes. Willie Soon has repeatedly and emphatically denied that his funding sources affect his research. Soon will not indicate the ultimate source of his payments from DonorsTrust:

 

Misrepresentation of Harvard University Affiliation:

Dr. Soon is employed by the Smithsonian Institution, as part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. While Harvard hosts Dr. Soon on its campus, it does not pay his salary. Despite this, Soon has benefitted from the presumption that he is affiliated with Harvard. At times, Harvard has promoted Soon's controversial research, while at others Harvard has repeatedly asserted its distance from Willie Soon and his research on climate change. 

Following a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by Soon:

"Greenpeace asked both Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) to verify this newfound area of expertise expressed by Dr Soon. Dr Charles Alcock, the Director of the CfA, stated in an email that Dr. Soon was employed an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), which is apparently housed within the CfA, along with the the Harvard College Observatory. Dr. Alcock said in a letter 'I cannot comment on Dr Soon’s expertise regarding mercury and public health issues.'

"Nonetheless, Willie Soon has no affiliation with Harvard University except sharing a building with Harvard students and staff on Harvard’s campus."

Despite Soon's strict mandate to make clear his employer is not Harvard. According to the Boston Globe:

"Soon said he is required by the center to recite a disclaimer – saying his views are his own, and not that of Harvard-Smithsonian — each time he speaks or writes on anything outside his expertise in solar radiation. But the complexities of his relationship with Harvard-Smithsonian are often ignored by his sponsors and conference hosts eager to showcase his impressive credentials."

This change is reflected on the Heartland Institute's website, where the word "Harvard" has been removed from Soon's page (see webpages from 20102015). Despite Soon's disclaimer, lobbyists like Eric Wohlschlegal at the American Petroleum Institute continue to assert that Dr. Soon is "aligned and associated with Harvard University." Journalists continue to misreport the affiliation, and Soon continues using the affiliation when submitting his research papers for publication, as of late 2014.

Failure to Disclose Fossil Fuel Payments to Chinese Journal

In September 2014, Willie Soon co-authored a paper with Christopher Monckton, David Legates and William Briggs in a Chinese science journal, Science Bulletin. Despite Soon's documented funding from fossil fuel interests, no disclosure was provided to Science Bulletin. The Boston Globe wrote:

"The Chinese journal that published the paper, Science Bulletin, imposes a strict conflict of interest policy on authors, obligating contributors to disclose any received funding, financial interests, honors, or speaking engagements that might affect their work."

The paper co-authored by Soon was widely criticized among climate scientists (see Greg Laden's "Willie Soon Gate"). VICE Motherboard notes:

"there was a publication fee, as well as an open access fee, which was covered by the Heartland Institute, an organization perhaps best known for ​displaying a billboard that compared those who believed in climate change to Charles Manson."

Advocacy Against Kansas Clean Energy Law

In 2013, as part of a multi-faceted assault on Kansas's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a law requiring utilities to increase clean energy generation over time. In Kansas, the RPS law is popular with farmers who benefitted financially by hosting wind turbines on their land. Drought and decreased crop yields have dried up farmers' income, which scientists warn is a consequence of climate change.

In spite of this, Willie Soon traveled to Kansas and testified before the Kansas House Energy and Environment Committee, telling legislators, "There is no experimental data that exists that supports the view that the Earth’s climate is changing in any dangerous way."

One day later, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) member legislator Dennis Hedke introduced his bill to weaken the RPS law, which was then supported by Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, The Heartland Institute and numerous other affiliates of the State Policy Network.

Advocacy Against Mercury Pollution Limits at Coal Plants

Despite having no formal credentials in the topic, Willie Soon has repeatedly downplayed the danger that mercury poses to public health, at times when he was taking money from coal utility Southern Company (burning coal creates mercury pollution, winding up in fish that people eat). From Greenpeace's 2011 report on Willie Soon:

In May 2011, an op-ed appeared in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), co-authored by Willie Soon and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow’s Paul Driessen.  Entitled “The Myth of Killer Mercury,” the piece attacked the EPA’s proposed rules for limiting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. [...]

As the Wall St. Journal op-ed was re-posted across the web on right wing blogs and think tank websites, Dr. Soon’s byline mysteriously started to morph, turning into: "Willie Soon is a natural scientist who has studied mercury and public health issues for eight years." Yet there is no record of any such public health studying or publishing in peer reviewed journals in his most recent bio and CV, written six years ago. 
 
Dr. Soon also appeared as a quasi-expert on mercury in 2005 in another Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled "Eat More Fish," republished by the Heartland Institute.
On June 8, 2012, Soon again touted his research in a Washington Times op-ed, arguing against stronger mercury pollution standards in Florida. The same day, Soon continued dismissing the dangers of mercury at the Alabama/Florida Technical Conference in Pensacola, Florida.
 
Three days later, on June 11, Soon co-authored another op-ed urging against new mercury pollution regulations. The piece was co-authored by Christopher Monckton for Master Resource, a blog registered by the Institute For Energy Research's Robert Bradley, a former Enron executive who co-founded IER with Charles Koch.

 

Climate Research Journal Controversy - 2003

With $60,053 in funding from the American Petroleum Institute (API), Soon authored a paper with Sallie Baliunas challenging the iconic "hockey stick" graph by renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, misattributing climate change to entirely natural phenomena. In Boiling Point, Ross Gelbspam notes, "Both researchers had previously contended that the recent extreme and rapid warming was due, almost entirely, to solar variations--a finding that had long since been disproved by a number of peer-reviewed scientific studies" (p. 54). Specific critiques of the paper's flawed assumptions can be read in Michael Mann's The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars, pp. 115-116.

The Soon/Baliunas paper, published in Climate Research in 2003, led to the resignation of five of the journals editors. The journal's editor-in-chief, Hans von Storch, cited "severe methodological flaws" in announcing his resignation after working as an editor of Climate Research for ten years. Several climate scientists cited in Soon's paper published a formal rebuttal to the paper's claims and methodologies in EOS, published by the American Geophysical Union.

It was revealed that the Climate Research editor responsible for reviewing Soon's paper was Chris de Freitas, a vocal climate change denier and supporter of the fossil fuel industry. David Legates, was also involved in the process as a review editor of Climate Research, according to Legates during a U.S. Senate hearing.

A rougher edit of the same paper, co-authored with Baliunas, David Legates, Sherwood Idso and Craig Idso, was later published in the journal Energy and Environment, which is not accredited by the Institute for Scientific Information (Mann, p.115). Scientist Michael Mann explains, "Duplicate publication of a paper is highly unusual, and in fact is strictly forbidden by most academic journals" (Mann, p. 114). The editor responsible for cross-publishing Soon's paper, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, was a vocal critic of environmental regulations who explicitly expressed her right to follow her "political agenda" in her capacity as the editor of Energy and Environment.

Soon's Research at U.S. EPA - Revolving Door Lobbyist Phil Cooney

The 2003 Soon and Baliunas paper was drafted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2003 State of the Environment report, replacing valid citations from the National Academy of Sciences and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and specifically used to undermine Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph.

The replacement was made by then-EPA official Phil Cooney, a former employee of the American Petroleum Institute (which paid for Soon's paper) and a future employee of ExxonMobil, which has also funded Dr. Soon's research. According to scientist Michael Mann in his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, the Soon and Baliunas paper had the support of former Vice President Dick Cheney (p. 113).

Misrepresenting Climate Science to Congress

After publishing the Climate Research paper funded by API, Dr. Soon was invited to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee by then-chairman Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Just the day before, July 28, 2003, Senator Inhofe proclaimed on the Senate floor, "Could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? I believe it is."

Sen. Inhofe is among the very top recipients of money from fossil fuel corporations, including Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Southern Company, which have funded Willie Soon's research directly or through associated nonprofits. Much like Phil Cooney used the discredited Soon/Baliunas paper in his edits of EPA report drafts, Senator Inhofe indicated that Soon's paper trumped the research of Michael Mann:

"Smithsonian scientists, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, with coauthors Craig Idso, Sherwood Idso, and David Legates, compiled and examined results from more than 240 peer-reviewed papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. In contrast to Mann's flawed, limited research, the Harvard-Smithsonian study covers a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators."

The next day, July 29, 2003, Senator Inhofe convened a hearing with Willie Soon, David Legates and Dr. Michael Mann as witnesses. Sen. Inhofe asked Dr. Soon and other panelists if they agreed that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels "produce many beneficial effects upon the natural pant and animal environments of the earth," to which Soon replied "I agree."Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science, p. 88).

Failure to Disclose Financial Conflicts of Interest to U.S. Senate

During the July 29, 2003 Senate EPW hearing, Dr. Soon was asked by Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT):

“Have you been hired by or employed by or received grants from organizations that have taken advocacy positions with respect to the Kyoto Protocol, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or legislation before the United States Congress that would affect greenhouse gas emissions? If so, please identify those organizations.”

Despite being the same year that his paper was published with funding from the oil industry's top lobbying organization, Willie Soon responded:  

"I have not knowingly been hired by, nor employed by, nor received grants from any such organizations described in this question."

This despite API's direct funding of the very paper that Soon repeated cited and utilized during his July 29, 2003 testimony, funding that Soon himself acknowledged.

In The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney notes that in addition to API directly funding the Soon/Baliunas paper, Soon was formally affiliated for a number of organizations funded by ExxonMobil that year [links added]:

"Soon has served in the past as a "senior scientist" for the George C. Marshall Institute, which received $110,000 in total contributions from Exxon Mobil in 2003. [...] Soon also serves as "science director" for TechCentralStation.com ($95,000 from Exxon Mobil in 2003 for "climate change support"), and is listed as "science director" with the Center for Science and Public Policy at Frontiers of Freedom ($195,000 in 2003)" (p.87).

In 2011, The Guardian reported on Soon's coordination that same year against a forthcoming IPCC report, citing an October, 2003 email from Willie Soon to ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol:

"In one 2003 email released to Greenpeace, that Soon sent, it is believed, to four other leading sceptics, he writes: 'Clearly [the fourth assessment report] chapters may be too much for any one of us to tackle them all ... But as a team, we may give it our best shot to try to anticipate and counter some of the chapters ..." He adds: "I hope we can ... see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report.'"

Smithsonian Awards Soon for Questionable Research

As noted by The Heartland Institute, "in 2003, Dr. Soon was recognized, with a monetary award, for a detailed scholarship on biogeological and climatic change over the past 1,000 years by the Smithsonian Institution."

Misinformation Campaigns Aimed at Schools

Willie Soon appeared in a video titled Unstoppable Solar Cycles: The Real Story of Greenland, where Soon misrepresents the seriousness of man-made climate change by talking about adaptation to "natural changes in the Earth's climate system. The video, which was distributed by The Heartland Institute to 11,000 Canadian schools, relied on dishonesty and misrepresentation in order to include interviews with several scientists who later denounced the movie's producers for manipulating them (Hoggan and Littlemore, p. 116).

Dr. Soon has promoted his debunked research at college campus events - see section on "Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow," below.

Work with Fossil Fuel Companies Against IPCC

Dr. Soon has consistently criticized the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization tasked with studying climate change's causes, impacts and creating information for how policymakers, companies and the public can respond to the crisis. Soon's own emails to ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol and other researchers acting as subcontractors for ExxonMobil's denial of climate science indicate he was working with others to undermine IPCC reports before they were published.

The "Oregon Petition"

The discredited "Oregon Petition," signed largely by non-Ph.D scientists outside of the fields of climate change science, included an introductory chapter co-authored by WIllie Soon. In Climate Cover Up, DeSmogBlog co-founder James Hoggan explains Soon and Robinson's deceptive formatting: "Neither peer-reviewed nor published in any scientific journal, the article was laid out and printed in exactly the style used for the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (p. 90). 

The Petition was revealed to include fake names, including a fictional character from the TV show MASH and one of the Spice Girls, a pop singing group from the 1990s.

As late as 2013, Soon was still citing the Oregon Petition in articles intended to undermine the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's research.

Climate Denial Organizations: State Policy Network Affiliates

Willie Soon's career has been propelled by the State Policy Network (SPN), a Koch-funded organization that coordinates national and state-based think tanks to unite around pro-corporate, anti-regulatory campaigns. Soon is formally affiliated with several SPN members and has worked with many of these organizations, which themselves are more often than not funded by foundations associated with Koch Industries, other fossil fuel interests, and increasingly from sources that obscure their financial backers.

The Heartland Institute

Willie Soon is an occasional contractor, frequent guest speaker and "expert" for The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based State Policy Network associate member think tank known for its misrepresentation of climate change science. Soon has attended a majority of Heartland's typically-annual "International Conference on Climate Change," and was awarded at Heartland's 9th installment in Las Vegas, July 2014 (see GreenpeaceDeSmogBlog).

Willie Soon has toured with Heartland staff promoting reports intended to undermine actual climate research published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These "Climate Change Reconsidered" reports from Heartland's "Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change" are not published in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, instead published by Heartland itself.

Heartland has repeatedly misrepresented their own "NIPCC" study as "peer-reviewed" (see PolluterWatch video and FOX Business TV report). Journalists have pointed out that most of the publication's citations are questionably out-of-date, much less the reports' unsubstantiated conclusions that global climate change will be beneficial to humanity.

The NIPCC reports were financed two anonymous sources. One of these funders was billionaire Barre Seid, who has provided Heartland with as much as half of its entire budget in recent years. Some of Seid's money was allocated to Willie Soon, according to Heartland's internal budget documents:

CFACT Campus Tours - Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow

Dr. Soon has promoted his discredited research and opinions on climate change on American college campuses. A campus-based State Policy Network affiliate, Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow, a division of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. In an interview with a student reporter, Dr. Soon acknowledged that he was being compensated by CFACT for the events, including airfare and food.
 
At a CFACT Campus event at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Willie Soon was asked by an attending student about his fossil fuel payments, reacting strongly to questions over his conflicts of interest:

The next evening, Willie Soon attended another CFACT Campus event at Michigan State University, telling about two dozen attendees, "No experimental data exists to support the view that the earth’s climate is changing in an anomalous way or changing in a dangerous way, as far as I’m concerned." Students and reporters again asked critical questions. The Michigan State News, a university paper, reported Dr. Soon's 
 
CFACT's budget has mysteriously expanded in recent years through money laundering nonprofits known as DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, organizations that are funded by billionaires who have paid for Soon's work, like Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch and Heartland Institute benefactor Barre Seid. CFACT Campus itself has accepted funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The Fraser Institute

Soon authored several articles and a book, all aimed at undermining public understanding of climate science, published by the Fraser Institute. The Fraser Institute is a Canadian think tank that has received $765,000 from Koch foundations (2005-2012) and $120,000 from ExxonMobil Corporation (2003-2004).

George C Marshall Institute

Soon authored multiple reports that express doubt over global warming for the George C Marshall Institute. This includes Soon's work for the Marshall Institute in 2003, when American Petroleum Institute lobbyists were placed at the Marshall Institute and US Environmental Protection Agency, using Dr. Soon's research to delay policy and regulatory options to mitigate climate change. Since 1998, the George C Marshall Institute has received $465,000 from Koch Foundations, and $865,000 from ExxonMobil.

Other Climate Science Denial Organizations - not affiliated with State Policy Network

Greening Earth Society - Western Fuels Association

The Greening Earth Society was a coal industry public relations project run by the trade association Western Fuels Association, staffed by numerous scientific advisors with financial ties to fossil fuel companies. The debunked thesis of the Greening Earth Society was that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere simply translates to healthier plant life in the biosphere. Upon outreach from Greenpeace in 2010, several scientists featured in the Greenpeace Earth Society's promotional films, "The Greening of Planet Earth," expressed that their opinions had been misrepresented to fit the film's theme of downplaying the reality of global climate change.

As detailed by The Guardian and Climate Investigations Center, the scientifically unfounded claims made in the Greening Earth Society's material has made a revival in recent years in The Heartland Institute's NIPCC reports, of which Willie Soon is a contributor, along with Sherwood and Craig Idso of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. The Idsos contracted for the Greening Earth Society and Craig Idso was paid to author Heartland's NIPCC reports.

Tech Central Station - DCI Group

From Greenpeace's report on Willie Soon:

"Willie Soon was an author for Tech Central Station (TCS), a web-based journalism site established by Washington DC lobbyists, DCI Group, for unknown clients.   Over the four years that he wrote for Tech Central, Dr. Soon wrote on a wide range of issues entirely unrelated to astrophysics - his area of expertise - such as the impact of wind farms on agriculture, regulations on mercury and attacks on various US states for their efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions. According to his 2005 CV, Dr. Soon wrote 43 articles for TCS between 2001 and 2004. 
 
"ExxonMobil gave TCS $95,000 in 2003. Up until 2006, TCS's information was published by the public relations firm DCI Group, a registered lobbying firm for ExxonMobil. In 2010 TCS was closed down. TCSdaily.com now jumps to “ideas in action tv” where much of the archive is preserved. Ideasinactiontv.com is now funded by Investors Business Daily. Copyright is co-owned by the George W Bush Institute."
PolluterWatch has more research available on DCI Group.

Frontiers of Freedom (FF):

Willie Soon lists himself as being on the advisory board of the National Center for Public Policy Research, an affiliate of Frontiers of Freedom, from April 2003.  Although Dr. Soon was not listed on the centre's website, in the Wall Street Journal article "Eat More Fish," which he co-authored with Robert Ferguson of the Frontiers of Freedom Center for Science and Public Policy, he is listed as the center’s "Chief Science Researcher."
 
ExxonMobil gave Frontiers of Freedom a total of $1.272 million in funding since 1998 according to Greenpeace research. In 2003, ExxonMobil gave Frontiers of Freedom a grant of $232,000 to launch a new branch of the organization called the Center for Science and Public Policy. The mission of this new branch deals exclusively with the issue of climate change. The Scaife Family Foundations have donated $135,000 to Frontiers of Freedom, and the Koch Family Foundations have donated $575,000.  
FF's Center for Science and Public Policy was a predecessor to the Science and Public Policy Institute, another organization with ties to fossil fuel interests that has promoted Dr. Soon's work.

Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI):

Soon has long been affiliated with the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI). From Greenpeace's report on Willie Soon:

The Science & Public Policy Institute (SPPI) lists Dr. Soon as Chief Science Adviser until at least 2007. The SPPI describes itself as a non-profit research and education organization which is committed to the advancement of sound, sensible energy and environmental public policies based on rational science and economics. In its mission statement the SPPI asserts that it is "free from affiliation to any corporation or political party." 
The SPPI has had trouble maintaining tax exempt status under the IRS, telling the Center for Media and Democracy that it failed to files its annual tax filings. SPPI is run out of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, run by the Idso family.
 

Dr. Soon is one of several prominent climate science deniers affiliated with the lobbying organization Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Soon has received awards from DDP and presented material at DDP conferences intended to undermine Dr. Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph showing a long-term, unnatural rise in global average surface temperatures. Doctors for Disaster Preparedness is affilated with the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, which published the debunked "Oregon Petition" (see above), which featured Dr. Soon's research.

"doctors>

American Petroleum Institute's leaked 1998 "Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan"

Three of the above organizations--CFACT, Frontiers of Freedom and the George C Marshall Institute--are listed among recipients of fossil fuel money in a leaked memo drafted by the American Petroleum Institute (API) known as the Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan. This memo outlined the strategy to undermine the public's trust in climate scientists and create the illusion of debate among climate experts, employing pseudo-experts like Willie Soon to carry out the work.

Quotes: 

“Science and its practice are no longer free and willing today but instead are constantly terrorized by research funding gravy trains and group thinking. This is why science needs defending and it takes courage to cleanse science from those cancerous elements and to bring her forward in its rightful place again.”

- “Three Global Warming Skeptics Win Awards,” Joseph Bast, The Heartland Institute, June 19, 2014. Archived June 23, 2014. Via DeSmogBlog

"So tell us, when is it that [global average surface temperature] is gonna rise again? This is a question that I think, not only me as a scientist, I think all the layperson ought to begin to ask that question."

- Special Report with Bret Baier, FOX Business, September 18, 2013.

“No experimental data exists to support the view that the earth’s climate is changing in an anomalous way or changing in a dangerous way, as far as I’m concerned."

- Simon Schuster, "Climate change opponents, supporters gather for debates," Michigan State News, April 7, 2013.

"I am not interested in, like I said, [a] popularity contest about how many thousand people, or many more of them, they're listening to them and nobody [is] listening to me. That's okay. I'm only interested in what the facts are."

"How can this whole issue be turned around focusing on me making money? I don't understand that."

"I can assure you, I am severely underpaid."

"Since 2004. have not received a single penny from the government. [...] Since 2004, I'm unable and then...first unable then I decided to not take even the money anymore, because it's just very bad for me. My own personal viewpoint--to take money from government to do such work. So I've been trying to get funding from whoever, you know, foundation--anybody wants to give me money. Coal, anything--I don't care. Really, I don't. I don't, because I know that I'm not being influenced by money."

- Michigan State News interview, April 7, 2013.

"I have received money from ExxonMobil, but ExxonMobil will no longer give me any money for a long time. American Petroleum Institute, anything you wish for, from Southern Company, from all these companies. […] If they choose to fund me, I'm happy to receive it.”

"I don't like to claim that I am an expert on anything, but I have enough knowledge about climate science and climate system to be able to write scientific papers and go to meetings and talk about monsoon systems and talk about any other things that you want to discuss about climate science issues. I'm as qualified as anybody that you know on this planet on this topic."

"I have been receiving money from whoever that wants to give me money. I write my scientific proposal. I have received money from ExxonMobil, but ExxonMobil will no longer give me any money for a long time. American Petroleum Institute, anything you wish for, from Southern Company, from all these companies. I write proposal and let them judge whether they will fund me or not, always for a very small amount. If they choose to fund me, I'm happy to receive it."

"I was trying to bring down IPCC--is that what you imply?! [...] Let it be known that I do not like IPCC, because IPCC does not stand for science, it is corrupting science."

CFACT Campus event, University of Wisconsin, Madison, April 2, 2012.

"I have never been motivated by financial reward in any of my scientific research. I would have accepted money from Greenpeace if they had offered it to do my research."

- John Vidal, Climate Sceptic Received $1m from Oil Companies, Papers Show, The Guardian, June 28, 2011.

“I am here today to testify that the climate of the 20th century is neither unusual nor the most extreme. Around 1,000 years ago, the temperature over many parts of the world was warm. A widespread cooling then set in for several centuries, followed by a recovery to 20th century warming.”

- Via DeSmogBlog: “Climate History and the Science Underlying Fate, Transport, and Health Effects of Mercury Emissions,” Summary of Hearing Before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, July 29, 2003. 

“There is no experimental data that exists that supports the view that the Earth’s climate is changing in any dangerous way.”

- Via DeSmogBlog: Nikki Wentling. “Legislature considering delays in renewable energy standards,” Lawrence Journal World, February 5, 2013.

Employer (no profile): 
Smithsonian Institution
Feature in slider: 
Featured: 
Industry: 

Josh Penry

Position: 
Vice-President, EIS Solutions

Josh Penry is the Execucive Vice-President of EIS Solutions, a Colroado based PR company specializing in astroturf operations. Prior to EIS Solutions, Penry was a Colorado state politician, serving in the  House of Representative from 2004 to 2006, and as State Senator for 2006 to 2010. While a State Senator, Penry was  the republican minority leader. In 2010 Josh Penry ran unsuccessfully in the republican primary for Governor of Colorado.

Evidence: 

Fracking Front Groups

Josh Penry is a spokesperson for Vital For Colorado, a front group for the shale and fracking industry. Penry's current wife, Kristin Strohm, is on the board of Vital for Colorado, and works for a PR company called Starboard Group. Strohm also works with Common Sense Policy Roundtable, another industry funded pro-fracking group. 

 

Working for Oil, Gas and Mining Industries

Josh Penry is currently considered an oil and gas industry consultant and lobbyist. EIS Solutions works closely with the oil and gas industry, and has started a number of front groups to promote oil and gas extraction. 

EIS Solutions was caught faking signatures in favor of fracking during a 2013 referendum in Fort Collins, Colorado.

As an elected poltician, Penry passed a number of measures friendly to the shale industry in Colorado. Penry co-sponsored HB 1365, a bill meant to help Xcel Energy convert coal plants to gas. While working to pass the bill, Penry bragged that it would increase drilling in Colorado by 15%. He also claimed the bill was "a game changer forr the natural gas industry." Penry also claims to have played a leadership role in opposing regulation for the oil and gas industry and a labor bill.

OpenSecrets lists Josh Penry being paid over $225,000 by mining interests to lobby.

 

Climate Denial

Josh Penry has never aknowledged the causes of climate change. While he was Jane Norton's campaign manager, she signed the No Climate Tax pledge, a promise not to pass climate legislation created by Americans For Prosperity, a Koch brothers funded group that denies climate change science. Norton's official position on climate change was that it was up for "debate.

Josh Penry has downplayed climate change, saying it doesn't keep him up at night. He also criticized then candidate for Governor John Hickenloooper for attending a UN meeting on climate change, accusing him of being in "Copenhagan with Hugo Chavez talking about climate change." 

 

Ethics Complaints

The group Ethics Watch investigated complaints against Josh Penry's campaign for Governor. Penry's campaign manager was eventually found to have illegally downloaded email addresses

 

Quotes: 

"Mayor Hickenlooper is a geologist and he gives a great, 'Aw shucks' speech, but he was in Copenhagen with Hugo Chavez talking about climate change."

- Josh Penry in 2010   



“If climate change keeps you awake at night — it doesn’t me — but for those of you, if climate change keeps you awake at night, you’ll be glad to know that because of the increased role of natural gas-powered electricity in our society… carbon emissions in the United States are in decline,” 

- Josh Penry at a 2014 fracking debate

 

Employer (no profile): 
EIS Solutions

Philip Anschutz

Position: 
The National Examiner, Union Pacific, other oil and gas investments

Anschutz is an oil and railroad investor from Colorado who has broadened his involvement in a range of industries. In 2002 Qwest Communications International was investigated by the SEC and Justice Department for questionable accounting.

Anschutz owns a number of companies, including Walden Media, the producers of the pro-charter film, "Waiting for Superman."

 

 

Evidence: 

Anschutz donates to David Kochs' Americans for Prosperity PAC and has attended at least one of the Koch brothers' secret retreats. Anschutz is a frequent donor (usually through his family foundation) to corporate front groups and think tanks involved in climate denial, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, the Pacific Research Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Mercatus Center, America's Future Foundation, the Claremont Institute, DonorsTrust, the National Chamber Foundation and The Philanthropy Foundation.

He has also supported the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which backs legislation designed to undermine unions and the Discovery Institute which promotes creationism as an acceptable "scientific" view, in public schools.

 

Gerald O'Shaughnessy

Position: 
Chairman, Horizon Oilfield Services

O'Shaughnessy started his career at Lario Oil & Gas, a family-controlled oil and gas company based in Wichita, Kansas. Lario is involved in oil and gas exploration and drilling operations in the Permian Basin in West Texas, the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota, and parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio. After O'Shaughnessy turned day-to-day operations over to his sons in the 1980s, he formed a series of investment groups to develop projecs around the world, including Russia and Latin America.

Evidence: 

Gerald and his wife Priscilla contributed at least $202,000 to federal candidates and PACs in the 2012 election cycle, including $100,000 to the Romney Victory Fund.  The couple and their sons -- Tim and Michael (the CEO of Lario) -- have all attended at least one of the Koch brothers' secret strategy retreats.

Karen Buchwald Wright

Status: 
"so-called green jobs"
Position: 
Chairman, CEO and President of the Ariel Corporation

Wright is the CEO of Ariel Corporation (Mount Vernon, Ohio), the world's largest manufacturer of certain compressors used to extract, transport, store, and distribute natural gas.

The increase in natural gas "fracking" in Ohio's Utica shale region has been a boon to Ariel's business along with increased drilling in Texas, Canada and elsewhere. 

Evidence: 

Wright is a big political spender. She gave $319,950 in the 2011-12 federal election cycle to campaigns and Super PACs, including $100,000 to Karl Rove's American Crossroads Super PAC.  Wright hosted a town hall meeting with Mitt Romney during his 2012 campaign at the company's Mount Vernon, Ohio factory.

Wright also spoke during a 2010 "Rally for Jobs" event organized by Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity in 2010 to promote the oil industry shortly after BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers.

Wright attended the Koch brothers' secret June 2010 retreat in Aspen, CO, as well as the Kochs' January 2014 retreat outside Palm Springs, CA.

Quotes: 

Wright has slammed warnings about global warming as "questionable science" and has spoken against "so-called green jobs," which she says are "dubious" and "phony."

Foster Friess

Position: 
Founder and Chairman of Friess Associates LLC

Friess was a major political backer of Rick Santorum's Red White & Blue Fund in 2012, providing $2.1 million, before shifting his support to Romney.. 

Evidence: 

The Koch brothers recognized Friess at the their 2011 retreat for donating over $1 million to their politicalo activities.

Friess was a founding donor to Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller, providing $3 million.

 

 

 

Quotes: 

"If I had my way, you could give as much money to candidates as you wanted without all these superficial, phony, around the back door deals," he said about campaign finance disclosure rules. "But you have to be reported and disclosed. It is a shame."

"You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Corbin Robertson Jr.

Position: 
CEO of GP Natural Resource Partners, Quintana Minerals

Robertson serves on the boards of the American Petroleum Institute and the national Petroleum Council.  He used his large inherited oil fortune to start a coal investment and trading business. Robertson buys land where there are coal reserves, leases it to other mining companies, and collects royalties from the coal mined. By 2003 Robertson had amassed 21 billion toins of unmined coal reserves.

 

 

Evidence: 

Robertson is a funder and director of CO2 is Green -- a group that claims that the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the better.

He attended the Koch Brothers' June 2010 secret conservative supporters retreat in Aspen Colorado.

Robertson spent at least $200,000 during the 2011-2012 federal election cycle.

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