Cato Institute

Cato Institute


The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. founded in January 1977 by Edward H. Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the “board and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, Inc. [1]

According to their website, “The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Our vision is to create free, open, and civil societies founded on libertarian principles.” [2]

In addition to millions of dollars in support from its co-founders, the Koch Brothers, the Cato Institute has also received at least $125,000 from ExxonMobil. The Cato Institute has also been listed as one of Philip Morris's “National Allies” and corporate supporters have included both Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.
Other notable funders include Scaife Family Foundations, and the secretive DonorsTrust, a group that has been described as the “Dark Money ATM of the conservative movement.” [19]


The Cato Institute was originally incorporated (PDF) on December 19, 1974, under the name “Charles Koch Foundation,” with the original directors listed as Charles Koch, George Pearson, and Roger MacBride.  It shared the same address as Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas. [3]

At the same time, George Pearson filed the organization's application for nonprofit status with the IRS (PDF), anticipating initial contributions of $40,000 in funds from Charles Koch, the Fred C. Koch Trust, and potentially the Fred C. Koch Foundation, as well as 10,000 to 15,000 shares of non-voting common stock of Koch Industries, as well as potentially non-voting preferred stock. [4]

The Cato Institute took on its current name in 1977. It began with headquarters in San Francisco, a staff of three, and $500,000 in financial backing provided via Charles G. Koch, according to the Washington Post. [5]

Internal Conflict

In 2012, the Koch Brothers and Ed Crane of the Cato Institute had a “bitter falling-out over management and philosophical differences.” The Koch Brothers, who controlled roughly half of the Cato Institute through “shareholder seats,” had decided to sue the Cato Institute to gain control over an additional seat of a shareholder who had died, which would give the Kochs more control within the organization. [6]

Ed Crain released a written statement when the lawsuits were first filed:

“Charles G. Koch has filed a lawsuit as part of an effort to gain control of the Cato Institute, which he co-founded with me in 1977. While Mr. Koch and entities controlled by him have supported the Cato Institute financially since that time, Mr. Koch and his affiliates have exercised no significant influence over the direction or management of the Cato Institute, or the work done here.” [7]

The New York Times reported the Koch Brothers had long attempted to install their own people on the Cato Institute's 16-member board, to establish a “more direct pipeline between Cato and the family’s Republican political outlets, including groups that Democrats complain have mounted a multimillion-dollar assault on President Obama.” This had caused tensions inside the governing structure, as Cato officials said this threatened their reputation for independent research. [8]

The Kochs eventually relented on the condition that Ed Crane retire, who was later replaced by John Allison, reported the New Yorker. It also resulted in a revamp of the Cato's organizational structure, which had based ownership on a share structure. David Koch would remain on the board, but not his brother Charles. Bruce Bartlett, conservative economist and historian, said that the Kochs are ”[P]utting in place a structure that will gradually erode Cato’s independence and move it closer to the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation.” [9]

Greenpeace reported that before the attempted Koch takeover, Cato was seen as a “Relatively independent think tank, willing to criticize both democrat and republican administrations,” but that the Kochs had wanted “the power to fold Cato into their suite of other front groups, making it another Koch-controlled cog in the republican political machine.” [10]

Stance on Climate Change


The Cato Institute's official statement on global warming reads as follows:

“Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975. But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure. Although there are many different legislative proposals for substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, there is no operational or tested suite of technologies that can accomplish the goals of such legislation. Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.” [11]


In 2001, the Cato Institute released a “Handbook for Congress” that suggested that global warming cannot be stopped in the near-term: 

“No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame of 50 years or so, even with full compliance.” [12]

Electric Vehicles/Alternative Fuels


“The real reason for all the scandalous regulations and subsidies designed to shove us into underpowered mini-cars has nothing to do with 'saving the planet.'  It’s all about doling out lucrative gifts (emissions credits, grants and subsides) to politically-favored companies who try to sell us unwanted electric cars or biofuels while the government punishes taxpayers and companies that produce vehicles American consumers really want” — Alan Reynolds, Cato Institute senior fellow. [41]


The following data has been compiled by the Conservative Transparency projectNote that not all funding values have been confirmed by DeSmogBlog. [38]

View the attached spreadsheet for additional information on the Cato Institute's funding and donations by year (.xlsx).

As Recipient

Donor Total
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $10,217,350
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $5,055,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $4,043,240
Sarah Scaife Foundation $2,207,500
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,872,500
Claws Foundation $1,800,000
Donors Capital Fund $1,373,534
Searle Freedom Trust $1,300,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,178,790
The Rodney Fund $1,067,877
John M. Olin Foundation $832,500
DonorsTrust $826,806
Earhart Foundation $667,125
Holman Foundation $530,708
Herrick Foundation $489,050
Castle Rock Foundation $450,000
The Opportunity Foundation $427,690
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $427,618
The Challenge Foundation $425,000
Barney Family Foundation $400,000
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation $400,000
Gilder Foundation $375,000
Lowndes Foundation $339,950
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $335,000
F.M. Kirby Foundation $330,000
Center for Independent Thought $323,500
George Edward Durell Foundation $290,000
Reams Foundation $290,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $286,840
Richard F. Aster Jr. Foundation $285,000
William H. Donner Foundation $280,000
Ravenel and Elizabeth Curry Foundation $267,500
Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation $225,000
John Dawson Foundation $200,000
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $200,000
The Carthage Foundation $185,000
John Templeton Foundation $150,920
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $150,000
JM Foundation $150,000
Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust $120,000
Exxon Mobil $110,000
Armstrong Foundation $99,500
The Roe Foundation $92,500
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $79,000
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation $77,000
John William Pope Foundation $55,000
Smith Richardson Foundation $50,000
The McWethy Foundation $50,000
Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation $40,000
Walton Family Foundation $39,000
Chiaroscuro Foundation $35,000
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $35,000
The Randolph Foundation $33,200
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice $29,500
The Robertson-Finley Foundation $29,500
The Weiler Foundation $25,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation $24,400
Leadership Institute $21,218
The Whitcomb Charitable Foundation $15,000
Stiles-Nicholson Foundation $11,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $10,000
CIGNA Foundation $10,000
Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation $10,000
Aequus Institute $9,500
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $5,000
The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation $5,000
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation $1,000
Grand Total $41,777,316

ExxonMobil Funding

According to ExxonSecrets, the Cato Institute received a total of $125,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [13]

Koch Funding

Greenpeace reports that Cato has received over $1,285,750 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2011, with a total of $5,535,750 from Koch foundations since 1997.  [14]

Cato Institute as Donor

Recipient Contribution
Cascade Policy Institute $146,500
Evergreen Freedom Foundation $100,000
James Madison Institute $100,000
Texas Public Policy Foundation $100,000
South Carolina Policy Education $90,000
Children's Scholarship Fund $88,998
Yankee Institute $68,000
Independent Institute $60,000
Bluegrass Institute $50,000
Ethan Allen Institute $50,000
Illinois Policy Institute $50,000
Maine Heritage Policy Center $50,000
Nevada Policy Research Institute $50,000
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs $50,000
Rio Grande Foundation $50,000
Show-Me Institute $50,000
Tennessee Center for Policy $50,000
Agencia Interamericana $48,000
Duke University $45,000
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii $40,000
Maryland Public Policy Institute $40,000
Sutherland Institute $40,000
American Islamic Congress $27,500
Virginia Institute for Public Policy $25,000
Pew Research Center $23,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $20,000
John Locke Foundation $20,000
American Enterprise Institute $10,000
Fund for American Studies $10,000
George Mason University Foundation $10,000
Goldwater Institute $10,000
Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research $7,000
Heritage Foundation $5,000
Philanthropy Roundtable $5,000
Oxford Hayek Society $3,850
Americans for Prosperity Foundation $2,500
Center for the Study of Public Choice $2,500
Institute for Humane Studies $2,000
Leadership Institute $2,000
Milton Rose D Friedman Foundation $2,000
Palmer R. Chitester Fund $2,000
Reason Foundation $2,000
Grand Total $1,607,848

Corporate Donors

The following corporations have donated to the Cato Institute between 2004 and 2014, according to available annual reports.  

Amerisure Companies
Fedex Corporation
Verisign Inc.
Volkswagen Of America, Inc.
Consumer Electronics Association
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Whole Foods Market
Altria Group, Inc.
Freedom Communications, Inc.
Google Inc.
Reynolds American Inc.
Toyota Motor Corporation
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Cme Group
Comcast Corporation
General Motors Corporation
Honda North America Inc.
Mazda North America Operations
Microsoft Corporation
Time Warner, Inc.
UST Inc.
Altria Corporate Services Inc.
Ebay Inc.
Facebook Inc.
Korea International Trade Association
National Association of Software & Service Companies
Verizon Communications
Visa USA, Inc.
Agusta Westland Inc.
American Petroleum Institute
Bond Market Association
C. V. Starr & Company Inc.
Exxonmobil Corporation
Fair Trade Center
Judson & Associates
Mazda North America
Mcgraw Hill Financial
Metlife Inc.
Mitsubishi Motors America Inc.
National Association Of Broadcasters
Procter & Gamble Company
The Economist Newspaper Limited
Caterpillar Foundation
Amgen Inc.
Assurant Health
Atlantic Trust Co.
Caterpillar Inc.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
K12 Management Inc.
Novecon Corporation
Olcio International, Inc.
Pepco Holdings Inc.
Pmi Global Services Inc.
Property Casuality Insurer Association
SBC Communications Inc.
Seaworld Parks & Entertainment Inc.
Southern Company Services

990 Forms

Annual Reports

Research Documents

Key People

Board of Directors

Name 2015[15] 2016[45] Description
Baron Bond Y Y Executive Vice President, The Foundation Group LLC
Carl Barney Y Y Chairman, Center for Excellence in Higher Education
David H. Koch Y Y Executive Vice President, Koch Industries, Inc.
Donald G. Smith Y Y President, Donald Smith & Co., Inc.
Ethelmae C. Humphreys Y Y Chairman, Tamko Building Products, Inc.
Fred Young Y Y Former Owner, Young Radiator Company
Howard S. Rich Y Y Chairman, U.S. Term Limits
James M. Kilts Y Y Partner, Centerview Capital Holdings; former CEO, The Gillette Company
James M. Lapeyre Y Y Jr., President, Laitram, LLC
Jeffrey S. Yass Y Y Managing Director, Susquehanna International Group, LLP
John A. Allison Y Y Former President & CEO, Cato Institute; Retired Chairman & CEO, BB&T
K. Tucker Andersen Y Y Director, Above All Advisors
Lewis E. Randall Y Y Former Director, E*Trade Financial
Nancy M. Pfotenhauer Y Y President and CEO, MediaSpeak Strategies
Nestor R. Weigand, Jr. Y Y Chairman and CEO, JP Weigand & Sons, Inc.
Peter N. Goettler Y Y President & CEO, Cato Institute; former Managing Director, Barclays Capital
Preston Marshall Y Y President/CEO, Rusk Capital Management
Richard J. Dennis Y Y President, Dennis Trading Group
Robert A. Levy Y Y Chairman, Cato Institute
Robert Gelfond Y Y CEO and Founder, MQS Management

Policy Scholars

Name 2015[16] 2016[46] Description
A. Trevor Thrall Y Y Senior Fellow
Aaron Ross Powell Y Y Research Fellow and Editor,
Adam Bates Y Y Policy Analyst, Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice
Alan Reynolds Y Y Senior Fellow
Alex Nowrasteh Y Y Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Andrei Illarionov Y Y Senior Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Andrew J. Coulson Y Senior Fellow in Education Policy
Benjamin H. Friedman Y Y Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies
Brad Stapleton Y Y Visiting Research Fellow
Brink Lindsey Y Y Vice President for Research
Chris Edwards Y Y Director of Tax Policy Studies and editor of
Christopher A. Preble Y Y Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies
Daniel J. Ikenson Y Y Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies
Daniel J. Mitchell Y Y Senior Fellow
Daniel R. Pearson Y Y Senior Fellow, Trade Policy Studies
David Boaz Y Y Executive Vice President
Doug Bandow Y Y Senior Fellow
Edward H. Crane Y Y Founder and President Emeritus
Emily Ekins Y Y Research Fellow
Emma Ashford Y Y Research Fellow
Gabriela Calderon de Burgos Y Y Research Associate and Editor,
Gene Healy Y Y Vice President
George Selgin Y Y Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives
Ian Vásquez Y Y Director, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Ike Brannon Y Visiting Fellow
Ilya Shapiro Y Y Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Editor-in-Chief, Cato Supreme Court Review
James A. Dorn Y Y Vice President for Monetary Studies, Senior Fellow, and Editor of Cato Journal 
Jason Bedrick Y Y Policy Analyst, Center for Educational Freedom 
Jason Kuznicki Y Y Research Fellow and Editor, Cato Unbound
Jeffrey Miron Y Y Director of Economic Studies
Jim Harper Y Y Senior Fellow
Johan Norberg Y Y Senior Fellow
John A. Allison Y Y Former President and CEO 
John Mueller Y Y Senior Fellow
John Samples Y Y Vice President and Publisher
José Piñera Y Y Co-chairman, Project on Social Security Choice
Juan Carlos Hidalgo Y Y Policy Analyst, Latin America 
Julian Sanchez Y Y Senior Fellow
Justin Logan Y Director of Foreign Policy Studies
K. William Watson Y Y Trade Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies
Marian L. Tupy Y Y Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Mark A. Calabria Y Y Director of Financial Regulation Studies
Matthew Feeney Y Y Policy Analyst
Michael D. Tanner Y Y Senior Fellow
Michael F. Cannon Y Y Director of Health Policy Studies
Nat Hentoff Y Y Senior Fellow
Neal McCluskey Y Y Director of the Center for Educational Freedom
Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz Y Y Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies
Nicole Kaeding Y Budget Analyst
Patrick G. Eddington Y Y Policy Analyst, Homeland Security and Civil Liberties
Patrick J. Michaels Y Y Director, Center for the Study of Science
Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger Y Y Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science 
Peter Goettler Y Y President and CEO
Peter Van Doren Y Y Senior Fellow and Editor, Regulation
Richard Lindzen Y Y Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Science
Robert A. Levy Y Y Chairman
Roger Pilon Y Y Vice President for Legal Affairs
Simon Lester Y Y Trade Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies
Steve H. Hanke Y Y Senior Fellow and Director, Troubled Currencies Project
Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar Y Y Research Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity 
Ted Galen Carpenter Y Y Senior Fellow
Thaya Brook Knight Y Y Associate Director of Financial Regulation Studies
Thomas A. Firey Y Y Managing Editor, Regulation; Cato Senior Editor
Tim Lynch Y Y Director, Project on Criminal Justice
Tom G. Palmer Y Y Senior Fellow and Director of Cato University
Trevor Burrus Y Y Research Fellow, Center for Constitutional Studies
Walter Olson Y Y Senior Fellow
William Poole Y Y Senior Fellow
Xia Yeliang Y Y Visiting Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity
Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr. Y Y Senior Fellow
Randal O'Toole Y Y Senior Fellow

Adjunct Scholars

Note that According to ExxonSecrets, past Adjunct Scholars have included (among others) Thomas Gale Moore, Patrick J. Michaels, and Steve Milloy. Below is a complete list of Cato's Adjunct Scholars as of October, 2015. [13][17]

Name 2015[17] 2016[47]
Aaron Yelowitz Y Y
Adam B. Schaeffer Y Y
Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr. Y Y
Alberto Mingardi Y Y
Alex Epstein Y Y
Alvin Rabushka Y Y
Andrew M. Grossman Y Y
Anthony de Jasay Y Y
Arnold Kling Y Y
Bert Ely Y Y
Bryan Caplan Y Y
Carlos A. Ball (1939-2014) Y Former Adjunct Scholar
Chandran Kukathas Y Y
Charlotte Twight Y Y
Christopher Layne Y Y
Craig D. Idso Y Y
Daniel A. Sumner Y Y
Daniel B. Klein Y Y
David A. Hyman Y Y
David Beckworth Y Y
David E. Bernstein Y Y
David G. Post Y Y
Donald J. Boudreaux Y Y
Edward J. Calabrese Y Y
Enrique Ghersi Y Y
Erik Luna Y Y
Eugene Gholz Y Y
Flemming Rose Y Y
Gerald P. Dwyer Y Y
Glen Whitman Y Y
Harvey Silverglate Y Y
Henry G. Manne (1928-2015) Y Y Former Adjunct Scholar
Ilya Somin Y Y
Jacob T. Levy Y Y
James D. Gwartney Y Y
James Tooley Y Y
Jason Scott Johnston Y
Jeffrey A. Singer Y Y
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel Y Y
Jerry L. Jordan Y Y
John H. Cochrane Y Y
Jonathan R. Macey Y Y
Josh Blackman Y Y
Kate Xiao Zhou Y Y
Kay H. Jones Y Y
Kevin Dowd Y Y
Lanny Ebenstein Y Y
Leland B. Yeager Y Y
Loren Lomasky Y Y
Lorenzo Bernaldo de Quirós Y Y
Louis Fisher Y Y
Malou Innocent Y Y
Mark Moller Y Y
Martin Krause Y Y
Michael Cox Y Y
Michael J. New Y Y
Michael Munger Y Y
Ned Mamula Y Y
Pedro Schwartz Y Y
Rajshree Agarwal Y Y
Razeen Sally Y Y
Richard A. Epstein Y Y
Richard H. Timberlake Jr. Y Y
Richard L. Gordon (1934-2014) Y Former Adjunct Scholar
Richard L. Stroup Y Y
Robert Corn-Revere Y Y
Robert Higgs Y Y
Robert J. Michaels Y Y
Robert L. Bradley Jr. Y Y
Robert McDonald Y Y
Roberto Salinas-León Y Y
Ronald A. Bailey Y Y
Ross McKitrick Y
Sam Peltzman Y Y
Scott E. Harrington Y Y
Scott Lincicome Y Y
Shirley Svorny Y Y
Stan Liebowitz Y Y
Stephen J.K. Walters Y Y
Stuart Anderson Y Y
Tanja Porčnik Y Y
Terence Kealey Y Y
Tibor R. Machan Y
Timothy Sandefur Y Y
Todd Zywicki Y Y
Tom W. Bell Y Y
Tyler Cowen Y Y
Tyler Goodspeed Y Y
Vance Fried Y Y
Veronique de Rugy Y Y
Walker F. Todd Y Y
Walter E. Williams Y Y
William Happer Y Y
William J. Luther Y Y


Name 2015[18] 2016[48] Description
Cathy Young Y Y Media Fellow
David B. Kopel Y Y Associate Policy Analyst
David Kirby Y Y Vice President and Senior Fellow
Deepak Lal Y Y Senior Fellow
F. A. Hayek (1899 - 1992) Y
Guillermo Zuloaga Y Y Fellow
James M. Buchanan (1919 - 2013) Y
Jeffrey Milyo Y Y Senior Fellow
Jim Powell Y Y Senior Fellow
John Hasnas Y Y Senior Fellow
Lawrence Gasman Y Y Senior Fellow
Lawrence H. White Y Y Senior Fellow
P.J. O'Rourke Y Y H.L. Mencken Research Fellow
Penn Jillette Y Y H.L. Mencken Research Fellow
Radley Balko Y Y Media Fellow
Randy E. Barnett Y Y Senior Fellow
Raymond Teller Y Y H.L. Mencken Research Fellow
Richard W. Rahn Y Senior Fellow
Tucker Carlson Y Senior Fellow
Vernon L. Smith Y Y Senior Fellow
Vladimir Bukovsky Y Y Senior Fellow
William Ruger Y Y Research Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies


Global Science Report

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels are regular contributors to the “Global Science Report,” described as a “a weekly feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media.” [40]

Climate Change is a regular topic at the Cato Institute's Global Science report. Some sample articles below:

June 20, 2016

Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute's Director for Center for the Study of Science, debated at the Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture series on the topic of climate change. Video below: [43]

Michaels also participated in the Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture Series on the topic of “Luke Warming”: [44]

March 24, 2016

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, suggests that President Obama should back out of the Paris Climate pledge: [39]
“Rather than pay the rest of the world to look the other way, the president should revise, or better yet, rescind that promise.
And now is the time to do that, before the grand signing ceremony of the Paris Climate Agreement that is scheduled for April 22, Earth Day, at the UN’s New York headquarters. Putting our name on a promise that we know we can’t keep would be a disingenuous act, painting the Paris Agreement not as a serious undertaking, but as a global publicity stunt.” [39]

October 1, 2015

The Cato Institute's Walter Wilson published an article in Newsweek titled “Should Climate Change Deniers Be Prosecuted?” where he argues against calls for the government to investigate climate change skeptics under the federal racketeering law.  [20]

Media Matters reports that Newsweek failed to disclose that the Cato Institute had received funding from the oil industry including ExxonMobil. [21]

September 22, 2015

Patrick J. Michaels, the Cato Institute's Director for Center for the Study of Science,” wrote an article in the Washington Examiner titled “What Should Pope Francis Say about Climate Change?

According to Michaels, free-market capitalism is the solution: 

“In the scientific community, there's universal agreement that neither bad weather nor changing climate mean very much to rich societies. It's the poor ones that can suffer greatly.  Consequently, the best way to deal with weather and climate is with economic development.” [22]
This is just one of several articles the Cato Institute has published regarding Pope Francis and his encyclical on the environment. Other examples include:

April 21, 2014

Richard W. Rahn, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote an article in the Washington Times titled “The global-warming apocalypses that didn’t happen.”
According to Rahn, “The good news is that mankind will probably adapt to climate change just fine, as we have been adapting since the end of the Ice Age. New studies show that to date, the benefits of global warming have been greater than the costs, and are likely to remain so for many more decades.” [23]

July 26, 2013

The Cato Institute released a report titled “The IPCC AR5 is in Real Trouble“ for their weekly Global Science Report.

The article was released three months before the commencement of COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland (November, 2013) and paints a picture of “internal inconsistency” within the IPCC's consensus on climate change. Releasing AR5, in its “current form,” The Cato Institute states, “[would] be a major fiasco.” [24]

April, 2009

Cato published an advertisement in major newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Los Angeles Times that questioned President Obama's stance on climate change.  [25]

The list of signatories includes many well known climate change skeptics. [26]

The ad received critiques from numerous sources and the New York Times estimated the ad alone would cost at least $150,000.  PolitiFact also evaluated Cato's claim that “There has been no global warming for a decade now,” and found it to be false. [27], [28], [29]

June 7, 2002

Senior Fellow Patrick Michaels signed a letter to President Bush, asking him to withdraw the “Climate Action Report 2002.”

The letter demands it be rewritten based on “sound science” and recommends Bush “dismiss or re-assign all administration employees who are not pursuing your agenda, just as you have done in several similar instances.” [30]

Cato Handbooks: 1998 - 2009

The Cato Institute has created “Cato Handbooks” they distributed to members of Congress, many which included a chapter on Climate Change that discouraged U.S. involvement in the Kyoto Protocol:

May 18, 2000

The Cato Institute held a “book forum” around the release of Patrick Michaels' “The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming.” 

According to the Cato Institute's book summary, “Acknowledging that industrial emissions of greenhouse gasses have warmed the planet and will continue to do so over the next several decades, Michaels and Balling argue that future warming will be moderate, not catastrophic, and will have benign economic and ecological effects.” [31]

October 6, 1999

Senior Fellow Patrick Michaels testified (PDF) before the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs, arguing against the classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. [32]

April 9, 1997

Jerry Taylor, Cato Director of Natural Resource Studies, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Energy Research, Development, Production and Regulation and the House Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs.

He argued that the Clinton administration budget requests for global climate change programs were not in compliance with the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act. [33]

Cato Institute and Philip Morris

The Cato Institute appears on lists of Philip Morris's “national allies,” including a 1999 “Federal Government Affairs Tobacco Allies Notebook,” and in a  list of “National Allies” dated 2000. [34], [35]

In another document, R.J. Reynolds Names the Cato Institute as a group they could rely on to “shift the debate and framework under which cigarette-related issues are evaluated in the future.”

They say to “Work with CATO Institute … to empanel a group to debate legality and future management of cigarette industry. Open forum to media (pitch C- SPAN coverage); issue press release and transcript of remarks to media not in attendance.” [36]

Cato Institute Contact & Address

As of May, 2016, the Cato Institute's listed contact & address were as follows: [42]

Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001-5403
Phone (202) 842 0200

Related Organizations

  • Mont Pelerin Society Member. (At least 12 of the think tanks and institutes appearing on the list of US members of the Mont Pelerin Society have accepted money from one ore more Koch family foundations). [37]

According to its website, is a project of the Cato Institute with “major support” from the John Templeton Foundation, the Searle Freedom Trust, the Brinson Foundation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation.” The website provides charts and data supporting “dramatic improvements in human well-being” over time. [49]


  1. “25 years at the Cato Institute: The 2001 Annual Report” (PDF), The Cato Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  2. Cato's Mission,” Cato Institute. Archived October 4, 2015. WebCite URL

  3. Charles Koch Foundation (later Cato Institute), Certificate of Incorporation, organizational founding document, originally filed December 19, 1974. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. Application for Recognition of Exemption,” November, 1972.  Retrieved from the New Mexico Charitable Organizations Registrar. Archived .pdf on File at DesmogBlog.

  5. Richard Morin. “Free Radical; Libertarian — and Contrarian — Ed Crane Has Run the Cato Institute for 25 Years. His Way,” Washington Post, May 9, 2002. Republished by the Cato Institute. Archived October 4, 2015. WebCite URL

  6. Eric Lichtblau. “Cato Institute and Koch Brothers Reach Agreement,” The Caucus (The New York Times Blog), June 25, 2012. WebCite URL

  7. Allen McDuffee and T.W. Farnam. “Koch Brothers sue Cato Institute, president,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2012.

  8. Eric Lichtblau. “Cato Institute Is Caught in a Rift Over Its Direction,” The New York Times, March 6, 2012. WebCite URL

  9. Jane Mayer. “The Kochs v. Cato: Winners and Losers,” The New Yorker, June 27, 2012. WebCite URL

  10. Why the Koch brothers are cannibalizing the Cato Institute,” Greenpeace USA, March 20, 2012. Archived October 4, 2015. WebCite URL

  11. Global Warming,” Cato Institute. Archived October 6, 2015. WebCite URL

  12. “Cato Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 107th Congress (2001) — Chapter 47” (PDF), Cato Institute. Archived January 24, 2001. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  13. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: The Cato Institute. Accessed October, 2015.

  14. Cato Institute: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived April 12, 2016. WebCite URL

  15. Board of Directors,” Cato Institute. Archived October 7, 2015. WebCite URL

  16. Policy Scholars,” Cato Institute. Archived October 7, 2015. WebCite URL

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