Sam Kazman

Sam Kazman


  • J.D. cum laude, State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. [1]
  • Cornell University graduate. [1]


Sam Kazman is general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a corporate and fossil-fuel-funded free-market think tank.

CEI is behind such groups as the Cooler Heads Coalition and “,” the former which promotes the idea that climate change is a myth, while the latter is a group that promotes “the life-enhancing value of chemicals.” 

Kazman heads CEI‘s “Death by Regulation” project, which “focuses on raising public awareness of the often hidden costs of government overregulation”—such as the “human toll of downsizing cars to comply with energy-conservation mandates.” [1], [2][3], [4], [5]

Before joining CEI in 1986, Kazman worked as the managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a group that has received much of its funding from Scaife-Family-owned foundations, as well as sources like ExxonMobil and DonorsTrust. [6]

Kazman is listed as a past speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s International Conference on Climate Change. He also regularly appears for interviews on programs such as The Today Show and Stossel. Kazman’s profile at CEI notes that he also writes op-eds and articles in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and National Review. [1]

Kazman’s profile at The Heartland Institute celebrates his legal battles against “the lethal effects of automotive fuel-efficiency mandate,” as well as his participation in “court challenges to the Obamacare insurance exchange program and EPA attempts to avoid public disclosure of its records.” [7]

Sam Kazman & Tobacco

Kazman has criticized “climate alarmists” for comparing the tactics used by the tobacco industry to that used by the fossil fuel industry and climate change, yet both he and CEI have a history of working with the tobacco industry to fight against regulation. [8]

When CEI was sent a subpoena requesting information on its correspondence with ExxonMobil in an effort to determine the oil company’s knowledge and actions regarding climate change, CEI and Kazman framed it as an “all-out assault on free speech” and as a “First Amendment fight.” CEI sponsored a full-page ad in the New York Times criticizing the attorney generals doing the investigation, and went as far as filing sanctions against them once the subpoena was dropped. [9], [10], [11]

“A violation like this of the First Amendment needs to be paid for, because that’s the best way of ensuring that it doesn’t happen again,” Kazman said in a CEI blog, commenting on CEI‘s filed sanctions against U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker.

A search for “Sam Kazman” in the Tobacco Industry Documents archive returns nearly 300 results. In addition to numerous articles and editorials Kazman has written defending tobacco, often with reference to the First Amendment, the archives also reveal correspondence and meetings between Kazman and Philip Morris representatives, and detail other CEI initiatives to fight against tobacco regulation by the FDA. View samples below: [12]

In October 1995, Kazman and CEI pushed for the regulation of caffeine to make a point about tobacco regulation (View the full petition here). Kazman emphasized that CEI didn’t really want caffeine regulated, and acknowledged that regulating caffeine would produce, “no social benefit,” but said it was needed because the FDA‘s criteria for regulating tobacco “are as applicable to caffeine as they are to nicotine.” [13], [14], [15]

In USA Today, Kazman argued that, because the life expectancy of smokers is “about eight years less than a nonsmoker” then as a result, a smoker “will likely draw far less money out of Social Security and require far less in way of expensive long-term medical care.” Kazman concluded: “When you add this to the cigarette taxes smokers pay, the ‘social costs’ of smoking turn into a fiscal gain.” [16]

In a 1997 edition of USA Today, Kazman argued in an article titled “Limits Threaten Freedom” that while to goal of limited underage smoking as “commendable,” restrictions proposed by the FDA would “almost certainly restrict adult access” and that underage smokers already know the risks. [17]

Kazman’s 1990 study “Deadly Overcaution: FDA‘s Drug Approval Process” is also frequently cited in the tobacco industry documents library. [18], [19]

Apart from tobacco, Kazman spoke out against the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms for banning the labeling of the health benefits of the moderate drinking of alcohol, speaking at a joint CEI-Consumer Alert press conference in 1996. CEI had filed suit against the Bureau for imposing limits on alcohol advertising. Video of the news conference is available at C-SPAN. [20], [21]

Stance on Climate Change

October 22, 2016

Sam Kazman spoke at the 20th Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights. His talk was titled “The Right to Dissent Global Warming Doctrine” and argued that the 97% consensus on global warming “is pure nonsense”. [22], [23] As DeSmog reported:

“So, I’m not going to give you a big talk on global warming,” Kazman said in his talk. “My colleague, Marlo Lewis, who’s coming after me will do that. I don’t want to steal his thunder. But let me just give you a few factoids on global warming and then get back to the First Amendment issue.

“One: You hear a lot about the claim that 97% of all scientists agree we face a global warming threat. That figure is garbage. Those are not my words. They’re the words of one of the leading global warming alarmist scientists who heads one of Britain’s foremost climate research centers. […] The 97% figure is pure nonsense. Over the last three years, over seven hundred peer-reviewed articles have been published that dispute various aspects of the alleged global warming consensus.” [23]

Later in his talk, Lewis suggested what he believed may be the motivation behind those working to stop climate change:

To many of these people we have global blight and it consists of the fact that people are alive and living their lives and having kids and flourishing. And so, frankly, I see this entire campaign as something that in a roundabout way is aimed at reducing the ability of people, reducing the number of people, the ability of people to live the lives they like, the number of people in terms of children on this planet. It’s an anti-human campaign at its worst. Thank you.” [23]

January 20, 2009

Kazman wrote at the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

“[D]espite steady increases in atmospheric CO2, and despite everything you’ve heard about climate catastrophe, there’s been no warming for about the last decade, and the planet has actually cooled over the last three years. […] That should lead us to ask where’s the warming?“ [24]

Key Quotes

March 30, 2017

In a statement given to The Daily Signal, discussing a coalition of attorneys general who had worked together to investigate what ExxonMobil had known about climate change (#ExxonKnew), Kazman said:

While pretending that this was a law enforcement investigation, [Attorney General] Schneiderman made clear that he was pushing a policy agenda—‘to defend the climate change progress made under President Obama and to push the next president for even more aggressive action.’”

Since then, Schneiderman’s coalition has fallen apart: most of its members have left, the subpoenas served on us and Exxon by Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker were quickly withdrawn, and the climate science debate that this gang tried to shut down is more energetic than ever,” Kazman added. “Ironically, nowhere is that better demonstrated than by [Tuesday’s] environmental executive order from the president.” [25]

May 31, 2016

Kazman was quoted on Fox News, discussing the climate change subpoena issued to CEI and numerous other organizations. [26]

Kazman claimed the subpoena would restrict discussion on climate change, describing it as “way more than a chilling effect, it’s an absolute freezer effect.” [26]

November 15, 2010

Sam Kazman appeared on Fox News opposing warning labels on cigarettes: [27]

“I don’t think the FDA ought to be spreading this sort of grossness and ugliness across the country,” Kazman said. “I don’t think it’s government’s function to be grossing out citizens.” [27]

March, 2010

Speaking on the “climategate” controversy, Kazman said in a CEI news release: [28]

“While these people claim to be acting as scientists, they’ve got an embarrassingly clear political agenda. Their plans range from turning the Academies into a ‘transformational agent in America’ to planning a new Academy report that would be ‘factual’ and ‘authoritative’ even though the purpose of its preordained conclusions would be to ‘provide talking points.’” 

June 6, 2007

Speaking on CNBC, Kazman said the federal CAFE fuel economy standard “kills people”: [29]

“The fuel economy program is probably the single worst regulatory program on our books. It not only produces high-priced devices that generally fail to perform, it also kills people,” he said. [29]

January 29, 1999

“A federal lawsuit won’t protect children from tobacco. It will demonstrate, however, that when it comes to government, tobacco revenues are far more addictive than nicotine.” — “Opposing View” in USA Today. [30]

January 28, 1999

Kazman argued that smokers “more than pay their own way” in an article in USA Today, according to the article archived at the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library: [16]

“The federal suit would seek to recover the costs that smoking-related illnesses allegedly impose on Medicare and other federal programs. But in fact, smokers more than pay their own way.

“A 30-year-old, two-pack-a-day smoker has a life expectancy of about eight years less than a nonsmoker. As a result, he will likely draw far less money out of Social Security and require far less in way of expensive long-term medical care. When you add this to the cigarette taxes smokers pay, the ‘social costs’ of smoking turn into a fiscal gain,” Kazman wrote.

April 30, 1997

“If the choice is between Joe Camel and hollow First Amendment, I’ll take Joe Camel” — USA Today “Opposing View.” [17]

Key Deeds

August 7, 2018

Kazman spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [39]

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[40]

Kazman spoke on a panel titled “CAFE Standards: Why They Need to Go.” [41]

February 2017

Kazman filed a petition on behalf of CEI with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) requesting that the EPA review the endangerment finding on CO2 Emissions. Individual petitioners included members of SEPP‘s Board of Directors: Donna Bethell, Kenneth A. Haapala, Thomas Sheahen, and S. Fred Singer[31]

The petition makes a number of statements contrary to the mainstream consensus regarding climate change. First, it claims that “There Has Been No Statistically Significant Atmospheric Warming Despite a Continued Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels,” citing a post on the personal website of climate change denier Roy Spencer as evidence for the lack of warming. [31]

The petition’s second claim is that “Changes in Global Temperatures in Recent Decades Are Far From Unusual.” For this, the citation points to a dead link to the Heartland Institute‘s “Independent Summary for Policymakers,” a document created by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and Science and Environmental Policy Project[31]

Kazman spoke with Michael Bastasch of The Daily Caller regarding the petition, suggesting President Donald Trump may be too distracted to deal with the endangerment finding: [32]

“I think they’re going to have a lot of trouble on the other things they want to get done without addressing the endangerment finding,” Kazman said. [32]

A similar petition was sent by the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC). Breitbart News also gave coverage to the CHECC and CEI petitions. [33]

July 13, 2016

Kazman spoke at a Hill briefing on the investigation by State Attorneys General on ExxonMobil’s knowledge about climate change. The CEI event description read as follows: [34]

“Recently, state attorneys general have engaged in investigations of organizations and individuals because of their speech on matters of scientific debate, such as climate change. The federal Department of Justice has also been called upon to engage in similar actions. Thus, a briefing for Hill staffers will be hosted by Representative Mike Kelly to discuss these investigations and the implications for the First Amendment rights and the rule of law.” [34]

Speakers also included representatives from the Heritage Foundation and the State Policy Network[34]

April 22, 2016

Kazman co-wrote an article at The Washington Post with CEI‘s president, Ken Lassman, titled “The environmental campaign that punishes free speech.” [35]

The two authors go on to describe the subpoena sent to CIA by Claude Walker, Attorney General for the U.S. Virgin Islands, requesting CEI material on climate change and energy policy as part of an investigation into what ExxonMobil knew about climate change[35]

“[T]he rhetoric of the AGs is blissfully oblivious to the First Amendment,” they wrote. [35]

April 14, 2016

Sam Kazman appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s “opinion journal” program to discuss the CEI‘s climate change subpoena, describing it as a “blatant attack on our first amendment rights” and as a “witch hunt against everyone who does not toe the White House Line on global warming.” [36]

View video below:

March 8 – 10, 2009

Kazman is listed as a speaker at the Heartland Institute‘s Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2), according to archived conference materials. While he is listed on conference materials as a speaker, his speech does not appear on the event listing and it is unclear if he actually spoke or attended the event. [37]


Social Media

Sam Kazman does not appear to be active on social media.


According to his CEI profile, Kazman’s “op-eds and articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and National Review, and he has appeared on nationally broadcast programs such as The Today Show, Stossel, and Washington Journal.” [1]

Kazman has also published extensively on tobacco, CAFE standards, Obamacare, and numerous regulatory issues. Some samples below, as listed on the CEI website. Also see a spreadsheet of Kazman’s publications filtered by keyword (.xlsx).

Climate Publications

Tobacco Publications

CAFE Standards Publications


  1. Sam Kazman: General Counsel,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived November 11, 2017. URL:
  2. About,” Archived November 12, 2017. URL:
  3. Juliet Eilperin. “Anatomy of a Washington dinner: Who funds the Competitive Enterprise Institute?” The Washington Post, June 20, 2013. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. URL
  4. About,” Cooler Heads Coalition. Archived November 12, 2017. URL:
  5. SAM KAZMAN,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived November 12, 2017. URL:
  6. Pacific Legal Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  7. Sam Kazman,” The Heartland Institute. Archived November 12, 2017. URL:
  8. Sam Kazman. “The Climate Change Debate and the Alarmists’ Addiction to Tobacco Analogies,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 12, 2016. Archived November 26, 2017. URL
  9. Brett Healy. “MacIver Stands With Competitive Enterprise Institute In Battle Over Free Speech,” MacIver Institute, June 6, 2016. Archived June 23, 2016.
  10. First Amendment Fight: CEI’s Climate Change Subpoena,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, April 5, 2017. Archived November 27, 2017. URL:
  11. “Abuse of Power” (PDF), CEI, May 17, 2016.
  12. here’s the whitefish ruling I promised you,” July 24, 2001. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2085783791.
  13. Citizen Petition,” October 26, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2070126995-2070127003.
  14. Smoke Screen Alleged,” USA Today, October 25, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2044010268A-2044010269.
  15. RJRTI NEWS REPORT. BREWING TOBACCO,” RJ Reynolds Tobacco, March 26, 1996. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 530289331-530289348.
  16. Sam Kazman. “It’s all about the money,” USA Today, January 28, 1999. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 190247012.
  17. Limits threaten freedom,” USA Today, April 30, 1997. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. TI31240404TI31240405.
  18. Sam Kazman. “DEADLY OVERCAUTION: FDA‘S DRUG APPROVAL PROCESS” (PDF), CEI, September 1, 1990.
  19. FDLI ON LINE JOURNAL ONLINE VOLUME 53 SUPPLEMENT 1998. One of many such citations.
  20. Re: Competitive Enterprise Institute Press Conference,” October 19, 1996. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2074154519.
  21. Alcohol Labeling,” C-SPAN, October 29, 1996. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 
  22. Justin Mikulka. “Insights Into the Thinking of Trump Advisor Myron Ebell’s Competitive Enterprise Institute on Climate Change,” DeSmog, November 27, 2016.
  23. The Right to Dissent from Global Warming Doctrine,” Property Rights Foundation of America® . Archived November 27, 2017. URL:
  24. HIGH NOON–Inauguration Global Warming Temperature Watch,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 20, 2009. Archived November 28, 2017. URL
  25. First Amendment Rights Still in Peril Following Climate Change Probes,” Daily Signal, March 30, 2017. Archived November 26, 2017. URL:
  26. Sam Kazman discusses CEI‘s climate change subpoena on Fox News,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Competitive Enterprise Institute,” May 31, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  27. Sam Kazman on Cigarette Warning Labels,” YouTube video uploaded by Competitive Enterprise Institute, November 15, 2010. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  28. Richard Morrison. “Climategate Reloaded,” CEI, March 5, 2010. Archived April 14, 2010. URL:
  29. Sam Kazman Debates Fuel Economy Regulations (5/7/07),” YouTube video uploaded by Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 8, 2007.
  30. The Case Against A FederalTobacco Lawsuit,” April 7, 1999. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2070126995-2070127003.
  31. “Petition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Science and Environmental Policy Project for Rulemaking on the Subject of Greenhouse Gases and Their Impact on Public Health and Welfare, in Connection with EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding, 74 FR 66,496 (Dec. 15, 2009)” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute, February 17, 2017.
  32. Michael Bastasch. “EXCLUSIVE: EPA Asked To Invalidate A Pillar Of Obama’s Climate Agenda,” The Daily Caller, April 10, 2010. Archived November 13, 2017. URL
  33. “Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Rescind Obama’s ‘Endangerment Finding’,” Breitbart, April 11, 2017. Archived November 13, 2017. URL:
  34. Sam Kazman Speaks at Hill Briefing on State AG Climate Change Investigations,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived November 28, 2017. URL:
  35. The environmental campaign that punishes free speech,” The Washington Post, April 22, 2016. Archived November 26, 2017. URL:
  36. Opinion Journal: The Climate Police,” Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  37. “International Conference on Climate Change” (PDF), Heartland Institute, 2009. Retrieved from
  38. The Directory of Environmental Scientists and Economists,” National Center for Public Policy Research, December 1996. Archived April 28, 2010. URL:
  39. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. URL:
  40. About,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived July 23, 2018. URL
  41. SAM KAZMAN, J.D.,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URL:

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