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Coverage of “denialgate” is increasing. Reblog if you can…

Heartland, which bills itself as anti-regulatory and libertarian, annually produces climate change “denier” conferences and pays expenses for elected officials to attend. For example, the budget shows that Heartland allocated $304,704 for scientists supporting its contrarian views in 2012.

One of these scientists is Fred S. Singer, a physicist and National Weather Bureau satellite center founder, who is said to receive $5,000 a month. The same day as the document leak, a science watchdog named John Mashey released a detailed investigation into Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project, indicating that he failed to properly fill out income forms for the foundation. Singer has previously worked with Heartland arguing that secondhand smoke is harmless. One of Heartland’s funders, according to the documents, is Phillip Morris.

Other scientists, researchers and pseudo-scientists on the Heartland payroll include a former California TV weatherman, Anthony Watts, who runs an anti-climate change science blog called WUWT (Watts Up With That). Heartland budgeted him $90,000 for a “special project.”

On his blog yesterday, Watts admitted taking an unspecified sum:

Heartland simply helped me find a donor for funding a special project having to do with presenting some new NOAA surface data in a public friendly graphical form, something NOAA themselves is not doing, but should be. I approached them in the fall of 2011 asking for help, on this project not the other way around.

The Heartland budget allocates more than half a million dollars for “government relations” and another $800,000 for communications. Besides the big-budget annual climate conference, another $25,920 was budgeted for eight “Heartland Capital Events” identified as “events in state capitals for elected officials,” at $3,240 each.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Heartland is legally barred from using its tax-free income of $7.7 million to lobby for or against legislation. The fact that the group appears to be intending to do just that could transform the group’s ongoing public relations disaster into a legal problem. Heartland’s activities are no surprise to environmentalist watchdogs, but actual proof of moneys spent on lobbying activities might affect their legal status, if the IRS bothers to investigate.

Besides trying to influence public (and lawmaker) opinion on fossil fuels and climate change, Heartland works on other overtly political projects that have nothing to do with climate change.  The group gave $612,000 for something called “Operation Angry Badger,” aimed at the nonscientific goal of supporting Wisconsin’s anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, who is targeted for recall by progressives.”

Read the rest at Salon

I’m curious to see how much press this gets. You know that if it was the other way around, that if some prominent climate-change organization was spending even a tiny bit on a shady stuff, that it’d be all over the news… and Fox, esp Fox. 

The problem with lies - like the anti-climate science ones - is that it’s difficult for people to purge them once they’ve accepted them. Just like “climate-gate.” Even though it was shown that the emails were harmless, that there was no wrong-doing, I routinely hear people referencing it as evidence that scientists cheat. *facepalm*

In 25 years, people are going to look back and wonder what the hell was wrong with Americans. 

P.s. Follow Michael at climateadaptation for good coverage of this.