The Heartland Institute’s Toothless Lawyer Dogs

Posted on February 19, 2012


Recently the DeSmogBlog released a series of documents from the Heartland Institute showing a clear and well-laid out plan by the Institute to finance and sow climate change disinformation, including to schoolchildren.  In order to block public discussion on these matters, the Institute has now hauled in its lawyers and is now threatening to sue both the DeSmogBlog and any blogger and journalist who discusses these matters.

Now, I’m no lawyer and I’m in no position to give legal advice, but there are three reasons why I personally think Heartland Institute lawyers are toothless dogs without a bite, and why I will continue to post these documents on my own blog in the name of fair comment.

(They are here:

One, I plead public interest and it is clearly in the public interest to release information on the Heartland Institute’s plan to suborn the US K-12 system on behalf of petrochemical interests.

Two, it is clearly in the public interest to keep before the public documents that appear to show on the surface of them that the Heartland Institute may be unlawfully abusing its tax-exempt status by engaging in public lobbying and political campaigns.  Taxpayers should not be financing disinformation campaigns by lobbyists for petrochemical interests.

Three, because the Heartland Institute has been unable to demonstrate that anything about any of the documents is untrue.  Every fact checked so far has been verified independently, and every person mentioned in the documents has confirmed their involvement.

So I’m not afraid of Heartland or its lawyers.  Neither, so far as I can tell from the number of bloggers and journalists who aren’t remaining silent, is anyone else.


Influence Game:  Leaks show group’s climate efforts – AP

Heartland Demands DeSmogBlog Remove Climate Strategy Document

Heartland Institute threatens to sue journalist who covered “Denial Gate” leak – Mongabay

Heartland Institute faces fresh scrutiny over tax status – Guardian

Heartland Institute Threatens Legal Action Against Mom Working for a Better World – 350 or Bust

Heartland uses PR director’s email for delivering threats of legal action – Scholars and Rogues

Climate Change Denial Front Group Heartland Institute Sends Emails to Bloggers Threatening Legal Action – Little Green Footballs

I just got an email from the Heartland Institute about the “HeartlandGate” documents – Greg Laden’s Blog

Heartland Institute threatens 71-year-old veteran – Recorder

Heartland Panics Over Leak: 71 Year Old Vet, Young Mom Fire Back at Threats – Climate Denial Crock of the Week