Craig Richardson

Craig Richardson


  • M.A., Theological Studies, Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College (2006). [1]
  • B.A., Government & Legal Studies, Bowdoin College (1985). [1]


Craig Richardson is president of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a Washington-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, formerly known as the American Tradition Institute, with a mission of “discrediting climate science and dismantling environmental regulations.” [2], [3]

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference, Richardson described himself as a “PR and marketing guy from way back.” Richardson first got involved in PR in the early 1990s and spent seven years of his career working at four different ad and PR agencies. [4] 

Richardson was a former aide for Congressman Steve Largent’s Leadership for America’s Future PAC (LEADPAC), and also worked for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s campaigns. Richardson founded Richardson Consulting in November 2003 and was also co-founder of Washington Strategies before selling his interest in 2002 and moving on to work as Vice President of DCI Associates, the government affairs division of DCI Group. [5]

Tobacco History

Richardson is a former partner of Richardson Ziebart Consulting, a firm that has worked with the tobacco industry. Richardson has conducted research on a number of issues for groups such as The Tobacco Institute and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and his name also appears in Philip Morris tobacco records.

View related documents below, retrieved from the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library at UCSF:

October 1999

Richardson was listed as a “Consultant” for youth smoking prevention in 1999 while working with Washington Strategies, according to in Philip Morris records. [6]

March 23, 1998

Craig Richardson and Geoff Ziebart of RichardsonZiebart Consulting, L.L.C. sent a memo to Pat Donoho, then-senior-vice-president of State Affairs for the Tobacco Institute, regarding research Richardson was conducting on the Reiner Initiative‘s “structure and current programs.” [7]

Richardson and Ziebart also produces a research series on the proposed Reiner California initiative in late 1997. [8]

January 23, 1998

RichardsonZiebart Consulting provided “a brief examination of Stanton Glantz, the well-known leading national anti-tobacco zealot” to Mike Gunn of the Tobacco Institute. [9], [10]

According to Gunn’s expense report at The Tobacco Institute, he also met with Geoff Ziebart and Craig Richardson on November 17, 1997 where they “discussed CA initiative.” [11]

January 1998

As documented in Heartland Tobacco War, Richardson Ziebart Consulting was contracted to write a consulting report titled “Oklahoma Tobacco Regulation and Control” for Philip Morris. The report included information on how government bodies operated, federal involvement in tobacco control, and details on the operations of health groups. [12], [13]

On January 6, 1998, RichardsonZiebart Consulting also wrote a report on the supposed “Waste, Fraud & Abuse” of Proposition 99, which would increase cigarette taxes. [14]

August 23, 1996

RichardsonZiebart Consulting conducted research on U.S. Tobacco Regulations for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. The “summary of Federal Tobacco Regulation, Oversight, and Control” was “conducted by Richardson Ziebart Consulting, LLC, a research and strategic communications firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The firm’s two principals, Craig Richardson and Geoff Ziebart, have more than twenty years of combined experience in national public policy and political research. The researched was conducted through a contract with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.” [15]

September 8, 1994

According to tobacco industry documents, Richardson attended a September 1995 “State Government Relations Seminar” put on by the Tobacco Institute. Craig Richardson was listed as representing Richardson Ziebart Consulting to discuss “Messages and Messengers.” The session description lists “Federal Tobacco Control Effort (W/Craig Richardson).” [16]

Stance on Climate Change

August 2017

Richardson appeared on an episode of InfoWars, speaking with David Knight about his views on climate change and Al Gore: [17]

“When you look at the IPCC you have to, for those viewers who don’t know, that was the initial UN committee that started out in the early 90s. Discovering at that time, as you recall, it was global warming, and then the narrative didn’t fit so now it went to climate change because we’ve been in a 20 year pause in terms of temperature rise.”

”[…] It is a communist plan, essentially, to centralize one of the most important assets of our lives—and that’s energy. […] Everybody understands, who has a brain, that this whole thing is nothing but a series of talking points in order to try to control energy, like you said, but not just from the Marxist Communist point of view, but obviously the green energy people like Tom Steyer and others and the Rockerfellers […]”

During the interview, Richardson also claims that Communism has infiltrated our schools:

“I thought we defeated Communism on the other shores, and now it’s inside our own country. It’s been in the school systems and everywhere else, and now we have the fight right here, and it’s going to be the fight of our lifetime.” [17]

On the endangerment finding for CO2:

“The underlying issue is based on faulty science to begin with. But now, at this point, the endangerment finding was decided on science that came out in the 1990s and it was all speculative and all the models Al Gore did his original movie on, none of which have come anywhere near the truth. So what Scott [Pruitt] is trying to do, Administrator Pruitt and others, is say let’s open up that scientific debate. Let’s have that scientific debate. Let’s look at the data and see whether or not this is actually an endangerment. And that’s the battle that needs to happen.” [17]

Key Quotes

August 7, 2018

Speaking at the Heartland Institute‘s “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018), Richardson blamed corporations for funding green initiatives:

“I’m going to leave some of this at the feet of the corporations, because I think they are as much to blame for what’s going on today — in fact, they’re funding a lot of what’s going on and using environmental groups as sort of the front page,” Richardson said. [1:06] 

February 18, 2018

Writing at The Daily Caller, on recent climate change lawsuits brought on by states against energy companies, Richardson declared: [18]

“Politicians seeking to curry favor with an insatiable environmental movement and their donor base are attempting to feed a beast that will never be satisfied while threatening America’s energy producers, thousands of domestic manufacturers, and billions in pension plans and retirement funds that are correctly invested in American energy production. These frivolous lawsuits pursue a dangerous agenda and represent an abuse of our legal system.”

Key Deeds

September 24, 2020

Richardson appeared in Marc Morano’s 2020 film Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy, produced by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). During a discussion which characterised climate breakdown as a manufactured crisis, Chris Horner stated: “catastrophic man made global warming is a vehicle,” to which Richardson responded: “global warming is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end and that means to an end is the redistribution of wealth.” [30]

April 6, 2020

Richardson, representing the E&E Legal Institute, is signatory to an American Energy Alliance letter to President Donald Trump supporting the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule which would scrap federal fuel economy mandates under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. [29]

Describing CAFE, the letter contends: “Those families and individuals who prefer or need trucks, SUVs, and crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles or electric vehicles under the existing mandate. This significant, needless, and unjust cost is a very real regressive tax on American families that has made our country worse off.” [29]

July 11, 2019

Craig Richardson, representing the E&E Legal Institute, was a signatory to an American Energy Alliance open letter to President Trump, congratulating him for rolling back Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and urging him not to cut a deal with California to allow them to operate with separate regulations. [28]

Your efforts to reform this mandate will save consumers money, preserve their choices, and ensure that the federal government, and not a single state, sets national policy,” the letter reads. [28]

The existing mandate makes cars more expensive. …  In short, because of the mandate, those consumers who prefer trucks, SUVs, or crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles or electric vehicles.” [28]

May 9, 2019

Craig Richardson, representing E&E Legal, signed on to an open letter organized by the American Energy Alliance designed to fight against an electric vehicle tax credit. [26]

The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.” [27]

According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog’s Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles. [27]

The letter cites research by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a group that has received over $600,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from “dark money” groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

August 7, 2018

Richardson spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [19]

The purpose of this event is to promote and expand energy freedom in the United States, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s bold America First Energy Plan, a proposal first released during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president’s plan marks a decisive change in direction from the Obama administration’s ‘war on fossil fuels’ and focus on the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change,” the conference description reads[20]

He spoke on a panel titled “Fiduciary Malpractice: The ‘Sustainable’ Investment Movement.” See video below. [21]

“I’m going to leave some of this at the feet of the corporations, because I think they are as much to blame for what’s going on today — in fact, they’re funding a lot of what’s going on and using environmental groups as sort of the front page,” Richardson said. [1:06] 

He goes on to discuss “virtue signaling,” defining it as “The idea that having and expressing a particular opinion makes you morally superior.” He cites examples of this as the Women’s March and what he describes as a “white guilt” campaign. “Of course, climate change in the environment has been a famous one for a long time, and I know we deal with that every day,” Richardson claimed. [5:00]

“As I said upfront, corporations traditionally shied away from controversy—the controversial issues which we’re seeing pouring out into the streets today, literally on the streets today, is funded… a lot of this is by Soros and some of the other people. […] “ [5:50]

Richardson suggests that Americans have worried less about the environment because it’s already “pretty clean”:

“As Americans have started worrying about the state of the environment, because it’s pretty clean, all of a sudden we’re seeing more and more doom and gloom corporations and NGOs jumping on the climate change bandwagon.

“So, this must be the market driving it right? The market must be all-in for this. So, we see what’s going on here with ExxonMobil, we know with ALEC conference, they’re pulling out. Suddenly we have an interesting thing. We have a […] can someone tell me what the ‘P’ stands for in the BP? Petroleum. So we have British Petroleum running an ad campaign saying beyond petroleum worldwide. Be like Ford Motor Company saying beyond motorcars. Can you envision it? What message that’s sending to your stockholders?

“And then here’s a page from ExxonMobil’s climate carbon summary. You can see they’re all in. Paris. They’re supporting Paris. They’re into this. This is a George Shultz and those other, whatever you want to call them, Climate Leadership Council. And you know carbon tax—they’re all in, ExxonMobil. And then even the big energy users are all in. […] [11:02]

He described COP21 as “One of the most corporate events I’d ever been to in my entire life.” [13:10]

“The real game, I believe, is actually a coup of sorts by large corporations working with like large businesses to drive an agenda that’s not in the best interests of the American people or the world, for the simple reason of profits and control,” he concluded. [15:50]

April 28, 2017

Richardson appeared on Alex Jones‘s InfoWars program. David Knight interviewed him about the Paris climate change treaty. [23]

“This is a major international effort and push by those global elitists and the governments they prop up and support and corporations behind them,” Richardson said.

“I was actually in Paris. I was at the COP21 where the UN folks signed all that. We were the anti-COP group, and my colleague Chris Horner and others had wanted posters plastered all over Paris when we arrived.” [23]

Knight responded that carbon taxes are “something that could fund a world government.” They “need a worldwide problem that they can have a world-wide tax to.” [23]

Richardson appeared again on the program in August 2017 to discuss “Al Gore as a Climate Change Denier.” [23]

May 2013

Richardson was named executive director of the newly formed American Tradition Institute (ATI), a group that served as the precursor to E&E Legal. [22]

“We are a relatively new organization with a tremendous track record and impact, and we needed a veteran leader to join our team,” said David Schnare, Director of ATI‘s Environmental Law Center. “Craig, with his proven organizational, communications, fundraising, issues, and political expertise, is a perfect fit for us at this stage of our growth and development, and we are confident he will lead ATI to the next level.” Schnare added. [22]


  • Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) — President (Feb 2013 – Present). [2]
  • Urbi et Orbi Communications — President, board of directors. (June 2013 – Present). [1]
  • Richardson Consulting — Owner (Nov 2003 – Present). [1]
  • American Tradition Institute (ATI) Former executive director. (ATI was a precursor to E&E Legal). [22]
  • American-Danish Business Council — Former executive director. [2]
  • Atlas Network — Listed on the “Alumni” page of the Atlas Leadership Academy. [24]
  • Ainsley Shea Potomac — Managing Director (Aug 2011 – April 2012). [2]
  • DCI Associates / DCI Group— Vice president (joined in 2002). Note his LinkedIn profile lists him as VP of DCI Group from September 2002 to November 2003. [2]
  • Washington Strategies — Co-founder and partner (Jan 1995 – Jan 2002). [2]
  • Richardson Ziebart Consulting — Partner (June 1993 – Sept 2000). [1]
  • Dorf & Stanton — Account supervisor (Aug 1990 – Jun 1993). [1]
  • Richardson MacDougal — Partner (Jan 1986 – June 1988).[1]
  • Richardson Consulting — Owner (November 1993 – Present). [2]

Political Affiliations

  • Leadership for America’s Future PAC (LEADPAC)Former aide. [25]
  • Majority Leader Tom DeLay — Former aide.  [2]
  • Secretary Elliot Richardson — Worked on U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts (May – Sept 1984). [1]
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee (Washington) — Research analyst during 1986 cycle (Sept 1985 – Dec 1986). [1]

Social Media


In 1995, Richardson co‐authored, Red Tape in America, published by the Heritage Foundation. According to Richardson’s E&E Legal bio, “The book details excessive government regulation, its impact on the U.S. economy, and its citizens.” [2]


  1. Craig Richardson,” LinkedIn. Accessed August 20, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  2. Senior Leadership,” E&E Legal. Archived August 20, 2018. URL:
  3. Suzanne Goldenberg. “American Tradition Institute’s fight against ‘environmental junk science’,” The Guardian, May 9, 2012. Archived August 20, 2018. URL:
  4. Craig Richardson on Panel 2B: Fiduciary Malpractice: The ‘Sustainable’ Investment Movement,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Heartland Institute,” August 10, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  5. Who We Are,” Black Diamond Strategies. Archived August 20. 2018. URL:
  6. Science & Policy Issues: Functional Summary of Projects & Consultants,” October 1999. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry documents library.
  7. Re: Reiner Initiative,” RichardZiebart Consulting, L.L.C. March 23, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates no. TI15931345TI15931361
  8. Re: Chapter 2: Rob Reiner, The Crusader,”  RichardZiebart Consulting, L.L.C. December 8, 1997. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates no. TI15921567
  9. Re: Stanton Glantz,” RichardsonZiebart Consulting, L.L.C.. January 23, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. TI15921617
  10. Former state senator charged with killing goslings,” Picayune Item, May 1, 2008.
  11. THE TOBACCO INSTITI.TTE Name: TIME EXPENSE REPORT Ce.t Mike Gun,” December 31, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates no. TI30070003TI30070194
  12. Heartland Tobacco War. Lexington Books, August 1, 2013. Page 5.
  13. “Oklahoma Tobacco Regulation and Control: Draft” (PDF), Richardson Ziebart Consulting LLC, January 26, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Documents library. Bates no. 2073680431-2073680498.
  14. RE: Proposition 99: Waste, Fraud & Abuse,” RichardsonZiebart Consulting, L.L.C. January 6, 1998. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. TI31642291
  15. UPDATED INFORMATION. REGARDING U.S. TOBACCO REGULATIONS,” August 23, 1996. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library. Bates No. 530466516-530466535.
  16. LOEWS VENTATA CANYON RESORT: REVISED RESUME,” September 12, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. TI02731325.
  17. Al Gore As A Climate Change Denier | David Knight And Craig Richardson,” YouTube video uploaded by user “OpenMind,” August 25, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  18. “Stop the Madness: The Legal Shakedown of America’s Energy Industry Is Flagrant Abuse of the Courts,” The Daily Caller, February 16, 2018. Archived August 22, 2018. URL:
  19. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. URL:
  20. About,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived July 23, 2018. URL
  21. CRAIG RICHARDSON,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URL:
  22. American Tradition Institute Names Craig Richardson Executive Director,PRNewswire-iReach, May 2, 2013. Archived August 20, 2018. URL:
  23. David Knight and Craig Richardson – Paris Climate Change Treaty,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The INFOWAR Armory,” April 28, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  24. ATLAS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY,” Atlas Network. Archived August 20, 2018.
  25. Susan B. Glasser and Juliet Eilperin. “A New Conduit Created for ‘Soft Money’,” The Washington Post, May 16, 1999. Archived August 20, 2018. URL:
  26. Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.
  28. Dear Mr. President:” (PDF)American Energy Alliance, July 11, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.
  29. CAFE-Coaliton-to-Trump-April-2020-9 (PDF), American Energy Alliance.
  30.  Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy. CFACT/ CDR Communications, Inc., 2020

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