The latest example comes from the oil industry, which has spent big bucks on think tanks in an attempt to support the repeal of the US ban on petroleum exports. Here is more from The New York Times:
Think tanks have been a critical part of the repeal effort, with prominent centers like the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute issuing reports or sending scholars to Capitol Hill endorsing the move. These same organizations have taken large donations — in some instances exceeding $1 million a year, as was the case for Brookings — in combined contributions from industry donors.
Thomas J. Duesterberg, co-author of one Aspen Institute report — funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute, ConocoPhillips, Continental Resources, Exxon Mobil and Pioneer Natural Resources — concluded that repealing the ban would create about 630,000 jobs within five years. He said the industry funding had no impact on his findings. But it was obvious to him why the industry helped finance his project.
“Part of the way you make an argument these days, is to provide some solid economic grounding for your arguments,” Mr. Duesterberg said.
This new NYT report comes as the venerable Brookings Institution just forced the resignation of a long-time scholar over a spat about an industry-funded paper he wrote.
Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece on Exxon's generous donations to think tanks over the years.