Looks like someone has pulled a Climategate on denialist think tank the Heartland Institute. (Is “think tank” the correct term for an institution devoted to spreading misinformation? Maybe “lie tank” is better.) Turns out that — surprise surprise — they take donations from the Koch brothers, as well as tobacco companies and Microsoft. And then they pay off pundits and scientists to publicly wage war on facts.

The Heartland Institute trumpeted the so-called Climategate emails far and wide, so there’s more than a little schadenfreude in this. The best part? Unlike the non-incriminating non-evidence stolen from the Climatic Research Unit, this stuff doesn’t require any bald-faced trumping up in order to look pretty damning. It’s sort of all there right on the face.

DeSmogBlog has the documents up for public perusal, but here are some of the findings so far:

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you to keep our climate news free. All donations matched for a limited time.
  • The Charles G. Koch Foundation gave Heartland $25,000 in 2011, and the institute is expecting more this year.
  • Heartland intends to pay people to speak publicly against the existence of human-made climate change. Vocal skeptics Craig Idso, Fred Singer, and Robert Carter are slated to receive between $1,667 and $11,600 per month. Heartland also aimed to raise $88,000 for Anthony Watts in 2011.
  • Perhaps most intriguing: The bulk of the Heartland Institute’s funding comes from a single anonymous donor. (Oh man, who could it be? It’s probably another Koch but imagine if it were, like, Karl Rove. Or alternately, imagine if it were Al Gore!)

There’s probably more to be found sifting through the documents, so I think you’ve all got your Wednesday cut out for you.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Update: Heartland has released a statement, saying that “some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.” However the story turns out, at least we got to see the Climategate-boosting Heartland Institute complain that “honest disagreement should never be used to justify … criminal acts and fraud.”

Correction: The original version of this post drew material from a “Climate Strategy” document that appears to be an imperfect summary of information provided in more detail in other Heartland Institute documents that are now public. Heartland Institute says the “Climate Strategy” memo is fake. As a result, we’ve corrected or updated several details in this post.

  • The Charles G. Koch Foundation gave $25,000 to Heartland in 2011, according to the foundation itself (not $200,000, as our article originally stated), and the money was earmarked for a health-related program, not climate. Heartland’s 2012 fundraising plan listed a prospective $200,000 Koch grant in 2012.
  • Monthly payments to climate skeptics Craig Idso, Fred Singer and Robert Carter were listed in a proposed 2012 Heartland budget. We don’t know whether these payments are currently being made, as our original article suggested.
  • Heartland’s 2012 fundraising plan reported that Heartland had “agreed to help Anthony [Watts] raise $88,000 for the project in 2011,” of which $44,000 had been pledged by Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor.” We originally wrote that Heartland had raised $90,000 for Watts in 2012.
  • We removed descriptions of a Heartland campaign to target “warmists” and woo potentially sympathetic non-climate-skeptic writers because the only references to this campaign are in the document that Heartland says is fake.
  • Finally, in our “update” above, we originally included a quote by Andrew Revkin from an article in Politico. Politico subsequently removed this quote from its story so we have removed references to it.

We have revised the article and its headline to reflect these corrections.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.