EXPOSED: The 19 Public Corporations Funding The Climate Denier Think Tank Heartland Institute

One in a series of posts about the Heartland Institute’s inner workings, from internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green. Heartland has issued a press release claiming that some of these documents were sent to an outsider under false pretenses and that one document in the set is a fake, but the AP independently verified their contents.

Internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green reveal that the climate-denial think tank Heartland Institute received funding from at least 19 publicly traded corporations in 2010 and 2011. The companies’ combined contributions exceeded $1.3 million for an array of projects. As Think Progress Green reported on Tuesday, the Heartland Institute’s projects included a secret plan to teach children that climate change is a hoax.

The companies backing the Heartland Institute:

DENIERGATE COMPANIESCompanyTicker Symbol2010–2011 TotalProject CodeAltria Client Services Inc.MO$90,000BTNAmgen, USAAMGN$25,000HCNAnheuser-Busch Companies Inc.BUD$5,000 ITTNAT&T;T$100,000ITTNBB&T;BBT$16,105ECNComcast CorporationCMCSA$35,000 ITTNDiageoDEO$10,000 GOEli Lilly & CompanyLLY$25,000 HCNGeneral Motors FoundationGM$30,000 SRNGlaxoSmithKlineGSK$50,000 HCNKCIKCI$115,000 FIRELKQ CorporationLKQX$24,500 FIREMicrosoft CorporationMSFT$59,908 ITTNNucor CorporationNUE$502,000 ECNPepsiCo, Inc.PEP$5,000 BTNPfizerPFE$130,000 HCNReynolds American Inc.RAI$110,000 FIRETime Warner CableTWC$20,000 ITTNXL GroupXL$35,000 FIREProjects: BTN=Budget & Tax News; ECN=Environment & Climate News; FIRE=Finance Insurance and Real Estate ; GO=General Operating; HCN=Health Care News; ITTN=Information Technology & Telecom News; SRN=School Reform News.


Some companies have issued statements about their contributions, but none have committed to ending their support for the Heartland Institute.

“Diageo provided a small contribution (nearly two years ago) to Heartland Institute — related to an excise tax issue,” a spokesperson said. “We vigorously oppose climate skepticism and our actions are proof of this. We will be reviewing any further association with this organization.”

While disavowing climate denial, Microsoft has indicated no intention to stop its in-kind tax-deductible contributions to the think tank.

“GSK absolutely does not endorse or support the Heartland Institute’s views on the environment and climate change,” a Glaxo Smith Kline spokesperson said. “We have in the past provided a small amount of funding to support the Institute’s healthcare newsletter and a meeting.”

Asked about the contributions, General Motors defended the Heartland Institute as “careful and considerate,” even though the radical think tank has accused “Government Motors” of “corporate welfare-sucking” and told people to “never again buy a GM car or truck.” Forecast The Facts has established a petition to GM asking them to stop funding climate denial.


ThinkProgress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. Heartland Institute has issued several press releases claiming that one document (“2012 Climate Strategy”) is fake and asserting other claims regarding the other documents. ThinkProgress has taken down the “2012 Climate Strategy” document as it determines the document’s authenticity.