Friday, September 11, 2015

Exxon Has Spent $30+ Million on Think Tanks?

Corporations are the glue that keep most large think tanks intact, as a whole spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for think tank studies and access to scholars.  One specific example is ExxonMobil Corporation, which has reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars on think tanks over the past few decades.  Here is more from a Herald & Tribune op-ed:
...for decades thereafter, the company [Exxon] nevertheless spent $30 million on think tanks and researchers...

According to The Huffington Post, in 2014 alone Exxon spent $1.9 million on 15 think tanks, advocacy groups, and trade associations.  Here is a list from around 2005 of the various think tanks that Exxon was funding.  Think tanks on that list include Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Hoover Institution, and Hudson Institute.

Exxon's corporate website does not list the think tanks it currently funds but says that it "provides support to a variety of think tanks, trade associations and coalitions in order to promote informed dialogue and sound policy on matters pertinent to its interests."  Today, Exxon funds think tanks such as the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the Brookings Institution.  [Chevron is also a donor to those two think tanks.]

Other think tanks that have received Exxon money include: Resources for the Future (RFF), New America Foundation (NAF), and Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

In 2007, it was reported that Exxon had been funding the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  At that time, AEI was sending letters to scientists offering them up to $10,000 to critique findings in a climate report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It is also important to remember that in 2009, Exxon head Rex Tillerson came to the Wilson Center in Washington, DC to announce for the first time that Exxon was supporting a carbon tax.

Here is more about big oil companies' funding of think tanks.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) connection to Exxon.

Exxon has also given large amounts to colleges and universities, often considered the largest competitors to think tanks.

In related news, a recent New York Times piece entitled "Emails Reveal Academic Ties In a Food War" outlines the large sums of money that Monsato has given to academics.  That piece does not mention Monsanto's funding of think tanks, but it is public knowledge that Monsato has donated to think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Hudson Institute.