Competitive Enterprise Institute

Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)


The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) was founded in 1984 and describes itself as “a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.”  [1]

CEI pursues what it calls a “full-service approach to advancing public policy.” That includes media advocacy campaigns intended to “reach policy makers, influential opinion leaders, and grassroots activists.” Part of their approach is to “build coalitions, joining with allies to advance specific issues at the state, national, and international levels.”

Climate change skeptic Myron Ebell serves as Director of the CEI's Center for Energy and EnvironmentIn March 2010, the Financial Times called Ebell “one of America's most prominent climate-change skeptics.” Oil giant Exxon Mobil is once of CEI's top funders and has contributed over $1.6 million so far. DonorsTrust (DT) is an even larger contributor, having donated over $4 million to CEI as of 2013. DT has been described as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement” for its ability to take in funds from anonymous donors and distribute them to recipient organizations. [36], [37]

Stance on Climate Change

“Although global warming has been described as the greatest threat facing mankind, the policies designed to address global warming actually pose a greater threat. The Kyoto Protocol and similar domestic schemes to ration carbon-based energy use would do little to slow carbon dioxide emissions, but would have enormous costs.” [2]

CEI questions global warming alarmism, makes the case for access to affordable energy, and opposes energy-rationing policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, cap-and-trade legislation, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. CEI also opposes all government mandates and subsidies for conventional and alternative energy technologies.” [3]


The Conservative Transparency Project breaks down CEI's funding as follows (1985 - 2013): [4]

View attached .xls spreadsheet for additional information on funding by year. Note that not all individual funding values have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy.

Donor Contribution
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $5,917,000
DonorsTrust $4,006,700
Sarah Scaife Foundation $3,865,000
Exxon Mobil $1,690,000
Searle Freedom Trust $1,560,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,530,040
Donors Capital Fund $927,279
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $364,820
Scaife Family Foundation $350,000
The Randolph Foundation $349,885
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $343,190
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $315,000
Earhart Foundation $240,000
John M. Olin Foundation $230,300
Chase Foundation of Virginia $216,960
Castle Rock Foundation $210,000
Claws Foundation $210,000
Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust $210,000
American Future Fund $150,000
William H. Donner Foundation $143,708
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $122,500
Armstrong Foundation $117,500
The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation $100,000
JM Foundation $80,000
The Rodney Fund $78,000
The Roe Foundation $70,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $65,779
PhRMA $60,000
The Carthage Foundation $60,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $50,000
Philip M. McKenna Foundation $50,000
Ravenel And Elizabeth Curry Foundation $45,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $42,000
John William Pope Foundation $40,000
The Challenge Foundation $40,000
The Whitcomb Charitable Foundation $30,500
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $30,000
Aequus Institute $27,000
American Petroleum Institute $25,000
Crossroads GPS $25,000
Same Line Foundation $22,000
Holman Foundation $20,062
National Christian Foundation $20,000
Woodhouse Family Foundation $18,000
Lowndes Foundation $15,000
The Robertson-Finley Foundation $15,000
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation $13,000
Deramus Foundation $10,000
Herrick Foundation $10,000
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation $5,000
True Foundation $2,800
Abstraction Fund $2,000
Lynn & Foster Friess Family Foundation $1,250
Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation $1,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation $1,000
Leadership Institute $500
Grand Total $24,144,773

According to the Capital Research Center, other corporations who have funded CEI include Cigna, Chevron, Texaco, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, and numerous other corporations. [5]

A CEI report sent to Philip Morris also lists a number of other companies and foundations who had given CEI $10,000 or more: [6]

  • Aequus Institute
  • Amoco Foundation, Inc.
  • Coca-Cola Company
  • E.L. Craig Foundation
  • CSX Corporation
  • Fieldstead and Co.
  • FMC Foundation
  • Ford Motor Company Fund
  • Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
  • Philip Morris Companies, Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Precision Valve Corporation
  • Prince Foundation
  • Sheldon Rose
  • Texaco, Inc.
  • Texaco Foundation
  • Alex C. Walker Foundation

In 2007 ExxonMobil reported that they would no longer be funding CEI. [7], [8]

Key People

Board of Directors

*Updated as of July, 2015  [9]


Reported on the CEI website, as of July 30, 2015: [10]

  • Lauren Avey — External Affairs Officer
  • Hans Bader — Senior Attorney
  • Lawson Bader — President
  • John Berlau —  Senior Fellow
  • Al Canata — Senior Director Of External Affairs
  • Gregory Conko —  Executive Director
  • Clyde Wayne Crews —  Vice President For Policy
  • Annie Dwyer — Senior Director Of Communications
  • Myron Ebell — Director, Center For Energy And Environment
  • Amanda France — Producer, RealClear Radio Hour
  • William Frezza —  RealClear Radio Hour Host
  • Mary Beth Gombita — Director Of Media Relations
  • Christine Hall — Director Of Communications
  • Christopher C. Horner — Senior Fellow
  • Coley Jackson — Vice President Of External Affairs
  • Jennifer Jones —  Data Systems Manager
  • Sam Kazman — General Counsel
  • Trey Kovacs —  Policy Analyst
  • Marlo Lewis, Jr. —  Senior Fellow
  • Angela Logomasini — Senior Fellow
  • Ryan Lynch — Director Of Web And IT
  • Michelle Minton — Fellow
  • Richard Morrison — Program Manager
  • Iain Murray — Vice President For Strategy
  • Ivan Osorio — Editorial Director
  • Ryan Radia —  Associate Director Of Technology Studies
  • Ellen Ruppert — External Affairs Associate
  • Marc Scribner — Fellow
  • Carrie Sheffield — Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow
  • Fred L. Smith, Jr. — Founder
  • Keara Vickers — Web Communications Manager
  • William Yeatman —  Senior Fellow
  • Ryan Young —  Fellow


As of July 30, 2015: [11]

  • Hans Bader — Senior Attorney
  • Lawson Bader —  President
  • John Berlau — Senior Fellow
  • Gregory Conko —  Executive Director
  • Clyde Wayne Crews —  Vice President For Policy
  • Myron Ebell   Director, Center For Energy And Environment
  • William Frezza —  RealClear Radio Hour Host
  • Christopher C. Horner  Senior Fellow
  • Sam Kazman —  General Counsel
  • Trey Kovacs — Policy Analyst
  • Marlo Lewis, Jr. —  Senior Fellow 
  • Angela Logomasini —  Senior Fellow
  • Michelle Minton —  Fellow
  • Iain Murray—  Vice President For Strategy
  • Ivan Osorio —  Editorial Director
  • Ryan Radia —  Associate Director Of Technology Studies
  • Marc Scribner — Fellow 
  • Carrie Sheffield —  Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow
  • Fred L. Smith, Jr. —  Founder
  • William Yeatman —  Senior Fellow
  • Ryan Young —  Fellow

Past Directors

The following is according to the CEI website as of December, 2011: [12]

  • Michael S. Greve — Chairmain of the board. John G. Searle Scholar at AEI.
  • James R. Curley — Also serves on the board of the Reason Foundation.
  • Leonard Liggio — Executive vice president for academics at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
  • Thomas Gale Moore — Senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
  • Frances B. Smith — Adjunct Fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
  • Fred L. Smith, Jr. — President and Founder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
  • James R. Von Ehr — President and founder of Zyvex Labs, LLC.
  • W. Thomas Haynes — Executive Director of The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association.

Past Experts & Adjunct Scholars

Notable examples of CEI's “Experts” and Adjunct Scholars include: [13]


August 5, 2015

The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell was interviewed alongside of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Jeremy Symons on the August 5 edition of CSPAN's Washington Journal. During the interview, EDF’s Symons “confronted” Ebell about his sources of funding, asking, “Isn't Murray Energy your biggest funder of your dinner? They're the biggest coal company in the United States for underground mining.” [35]

Ebell responded:

“I'd like to see a lot more funding from all of those companies, but unfortunately many of the coal companies are now going bankrupt … I would like to have more funding so that I can combat the nonsense put out by the environmental movement.”  [35]

Watch Myron Ebell’s interview on CSPAN, below:

July 7 - 8, 2015

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was a co-sponsor to the Heartland Institute's Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, DC. [14]

October 29, 2014

The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a lawsuit suing the White House “over a video that claimed global warming might be tied to last year's extreme cold spell, commonly referred to as the 'polar vortex,'” according to a report from ThinkProgress. The White House stated that the video did not “represent the official agency position,” and instead represented the “personal opinions” of the White House's Office of Science and Technology director, John Holdren, and OSTP Senior Communications Advisor, Becky Fried. [15]

CEI then filed a Freedom of Information Act request “for all White House documents and e-mails discussing whether the validity of the science really does constitute Holdren and Fried’s personal opinions, and all documents related to the cost of producing Holdren’s video.” The White House came forth with some material following the FOIA request, but withheld 47 additional pieces of information that it claimed contained “privileged material.” [15]

September 26, 2014

CEI's Marlo Lewis attends the “At the Crossroads; Energy & Climate Policy Summit” in Houston, Texas, hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and The Heritage Foundation. Lewis presents in “Panel II: Taking Stock of Current Climate Regulation.” [16]

July 7 - 9, 2014

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was a co-sponsor to the Heartland Institute's Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [17]

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is listed as a “Gold Sponsor” of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [18]

June 30 - July 1, 2011

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was a co-sponsor (PDF) to the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6). [19]

May, 2010

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was a co-sponsor (PDF) to the Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). [20]

June 2, 2009

The Competitive Enterprise Institute cosponsored the Heartland Institute's Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3). [21]

The conference's theme was “Climate Change: Scientific Debate and Economic Analysis,” to reflect Heartland's belief that that “scientific debate is not over.”

March 8 - 10, 2009

The Competitive Enterprise Institute cosponsored the Heartland Institute's Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). [22]

March, 2008

CEI released a national ad campaign “on the Impact of Al Gore’s Global Warming Policies.” The campaign focused on “the threat to affordable energy posed by Al Gore’s global warming agenda.” [23]

CEI's Sam Kazman, the ad co-creator, said that “Global warming activists warn us about the alleged threats from global warming, but are usually silent about the much more immediate threats from global warming policies.” [24]

March 2 - 4, 2008

The Competitive Enterprise Institute was a cosponsor of the Heartland Institute's First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1). The conference was titled “Global Warming: Truth or Swindle.” [25]

January, 2007

CEI offered up their in-house staff as global warming “experts” available to comment on the upcoming release by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

CEI described the IPCC's Summary for Policymakers as a “propaganda document that will promote global warming alarmism.” [26]

October 24, 2006

CEI contributed an Amicus (PDF) in a Supreme Court Co2 case. The argument states that “Contrary to the Climate Scientists’ Amicus Brief, There Is Insufficient Evidence That Carbon Dioxide Emissions Will Endanger Public Health or Welfare.”

The amicus curiae provided by CEI include skeptical scientists Sallie Baliunas, John ChristyChristopher de Freitas, David Legates, Anthony R. Lupo, Patrick Michaels, Joel Schwartz, and Roy Spencer. [27]

May, 2006

CEI launched a national global warming ad campaign featuring two 60-second television ads with the tagline “CO2: They Call It Pollution; We Call It Life.”

One of the ads “focuses on the extent to which the public has received only one side of the glacial melting issue.” [28]

July 20, 2005

CEI published a “definitive article on climate change.” [29]

The article (PDF) begins with the admission that “Global warming is happening and man is responsible for at least some of it” but CEI proceeds to argue that “There is no 'scientific consensus' that global warming will cause damaging climate change.”  [30]

February 10, 2005

CEI held an event titled “The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of International and U. S. Climate Policy” that examined what Kyoto would mean for future climate policy in the U.S.

Panelists included: [31]

  • Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) — Chairman, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • Harlan L. Watson — Senior Climate Negotiator and Special Representative at the U.S. Department of State.
  • William O'Keefe CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute.
  • Myron Ebell — Director, Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
  • Christopher C. Horner — Counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition.
  • Jeff Kueter (Moderator) — President of the George C. Marshall Institute.

August, 2003

CEI filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, citing the Data Quality Act. The institute demanded that the National Assessment, a report on climate change, not be disseminated by the government.

The Bush administration settled the lawsuit by adding a disclaimer to the web site where the report is available, stating that it has not been reviewed under the Data Quality Act. [32]

August 2, 2002

CEI was one of a group of of think-tanks that sent a letter discouraged President Bush from attending the August 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. [33]

October 3, 2000

CEI filed a lawsuit over the National Assessment with Senator James Inhofe as a co-plaintiff.

The suit alleged various procedural deficiencies in the report's preparation and demanded the court block the report's production or utilization.
Co-plaintiff Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican representative from Missouri, charged, “The administration is rushing to release a junk science report in violation of current law to try to lend support to its flawed Kyoto Protocol negotiations.” [32]

July, 1998

Marlo Lewis testified on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute on the issue of “Why Kyoto Is Not an Insurance Policy.”

Lewis concludes that there are “several reasons why we shouldn't worry about global warming,” including how man-kind would supposedly benefit from warming because “plant life grow faster, stronger, and more profusely” with increased carbon dioxide.

Lewis does not cite any scientific studies to support these claims. [34]

Related Organizations


  1. About,” Archived July 30, 2015.

  2. Global Warming,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived February 11, 2008.

  3. Energy and Environment,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived July 30, 2015.

  4. Competitive Enterprise Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed July 30, 2015.

  5. Competitive Enterprise Institute,” Capital Research Center. Archived July 2, 2003.


  7. Richard Littlemore. “Exxon Acknowledges Climate Change, cuts CEI's funding,” DeSmogBlog, January 11, 2007.

  8. Sceptics forced to contain hot air on gases,” The Australian, April 10, 2007. Archived with WebCite July 30, 2015.

  9. CEI Board of Directors,” Archived July 30, 2015.

  10. Staff,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived July 30, 2015. 

  11. Experts,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived July 30, 2015.

  12. CEI Board of Directors,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived December 4, 2011. 

  13. Experts,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived December 2, 2011.

  14. Sponsors,” ICCC10. Archived July 15, 2015.

  15. Libertarians Sue White House Over Climate Change Video,” ThinkProgress, October 30, 2014. Archived July 30, 2015.

  16. Marlo Lewis. “Speakers,” At the Crossroads; Energy & Climate Policy Summit, Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, September 25, 2014. Archived October 3, 2014.

  17. ICCC9 CoSponsors,” International Conferences on Climate Change (The Heartland Institute). Archived July 27, 2015.

  18. Cosponsors,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Archived May 10, 2012.

  19. Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.

  20. 4th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute. 

  21. Co-Sponsors,” Third International Conference on Climate Change. Archived July 14, 2010. 

  22. Co-Sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived April 28, 2011.

  23. Kevin Grandia. “CEI Struggles to Remain Relevant, Bashes Gore,” DeSmogBlog, March 12, 2008.

  24. CEI Launches National Ad Campaign on the Impact of Al Gore’s Global Warming Policies,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, March 11, 2008. Archived July 30, 2015.

  25. Sponsorships,” The 2008 International Conference on climate Change. Archived June 10, 2011.

  26. Good News for the Planet = Bad News for Climate Alarmists,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 30, 2007. Archived July 30, 2015.


  28. CEI To Launch National Global Warming Ad Campaign,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 15, 2006. Archived July 30, 2015.

  29. Jim Hoggan. “Last Word from the Competitive Enterprise Institute,” DeSmogBlog, December 8, 2005.

  30. Ian Murray. “What Every European Should Know About Global Warming” (PDF), CEI On Point, July 20, 2005. Archived July 30, 2015.

  31. The Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of International and U. S. Climate Policy,” CEI Events and Appearances. Archived April 26, 2006.

  32. Earth Last,” The American Prospect, May 4, 2004. Archived June 7, 2004.

  33. (Press Release) “Corporate-funded Lobbyists Aimed to Sabotage Johannesburg Summit,” Africa News, August 19, 2002. Archived July 30, 2015.

  34. Why Kyoto Is Not an Insurance Policy,” Junk Science, July 29, 1998. Archived March 3, 2000.

  35. Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell: ‘I’d Like To See A Lot More Funding’ From Big Coal,” Media Matters For America, August 5, 2015. Archived August 11, 2015.

  36. Myron Ebell: Director, Center for Energy and Environment,” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived December 29, 2011. 

  37. Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2003. Archived July 24, 2015.

Other Resources