S. Fred Singer Lied to the IRS about identity of his chair
The new report by computer scientist, researcher and DeSmogBlog contributor John Mashey (next post), completely corroborates the authenticity of leaked Heartland Institute budget, planning and fundraising documents released on the DeSmogBlog earlier today.
Mashey’s report also produces evidence that Dr. S. Fred Singer, who Heartland keeps on a $5,000-a-month retainer to spread disinformation about climate change, claimed Dr. Frederick Seitz as the chair of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) for two full years AFTER Seitz died.
As always when Mashey is involved, this new report is painstakingly detailed and carefully referenced throughout. It both corroborates and is corroborated by the leaked Heartland documents, which reinforce Mashey’s conclusion that Heartland is a for-profit public relations and lobbying firm that is operating with non-profit status by misrepresenting the nature of its activities in its own tax filings.
Specifically, Mashey’s report, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax, documents the following conclusions:
1. Fred Singer committed perjury in his tax filings to the IRS by claiming that Fred Seitz continued to chair Singer’s own tax-protected SEPP for two years after Seitz death in 2008.
2. Singer made other representations in his 990 tax filings that either skirted the rules or, at the very least, let him shelter his own investments from taxation.
3. Singer is a lobbyist, not a scientist (at least, he has not produced any significant work of science in several decades) and is therefore in violation of limits to undeclared lobbying activity.
4. The Heartland Institute has a long-established reputation as an organization dedicated to providing legitimacy to industries that want to confuse the public about science. For example, Heartland’s President Joe Bast has been a leading defender of such things as the “Joe Camel” campaign to encourage children to take up smoking – even while the tobacco industry was funding Heartland’s operations. This was corroborated by the Heartland budget documents which show that both Phillip Morris and Reynolds American continue as Heartland donors.
7. Heartland’s publication, Environment and Climate News, is rife with “science” stories that are demonstrably untruthful or misleading.
8. Heartland has spent lavishly on conferences whose only apparent function was to sow confusion about climate science. It also has paid government employees and politicians to attend these events.
9. Heartland has sponsored Fred Singer and Craig Idso to produce the so-called Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change s a regular and organized attack on the legitimate reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This too was corroborated in the Heartland budget documents, which show that both Idso and Singer on on retainer at Heartland.
10. While insisting in its tax filings that it is a think tank, Heartland constantly advertises among potential donors its ability to reach and influence US legislators in apparent violation of lobbying rules.
Mashey’s report, on its own, made a devastating case that Heartland and several other purported “think tanks” are taking an unfair subsidy from the American taxpayer, while lobbying for some of the world’s most profitable industries. Mashey also demonstrates that Heartland, Singer’s SEPP, Craig Idso’s Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and its subsidiary front group, Robert Ferguson’s Science and Public Policy Institute, are not primarily research institutions, but rather advocacy organizations. As “think tanks” they sponsor very little “thinking” (in the form of scientific or even social research) and instead serve as weapons in a communications war against policy on issues such as climate change.
All of this is, again, corroborated by the Heartland documents leaked earlier today. This, for example, is Heartland’s description of its Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms Project, which it is paying Dr. David Wojick to Develop:
“His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain, two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”