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.”

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]


Media Transparency breaks down CEI's funding as follows: [3]

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. [4]

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

  • 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. [5]

Key People

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

Board of Directors

  • 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.

Experts & Adjunct Scholars

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


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. [23] 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.

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.” [23] 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.” [23]

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.” [22]

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is listed as a “Gold Sponsor” of the Heartland Institute's Seventh Internatrional Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [6]

May, 2010

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

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.”

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.” [7]

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.” [8]

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 Christy,
Christopher de Freitas, David Legates, Anthony R. Lupo, Patrick Michaels, Joel Schwartz, and Roy Spencer. [9]

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.” [10]

July 20, 2005

CEI published a “definitive article on climate change.” The article 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.” [11]

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: [12]

  • 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. [13]

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. [14]

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.” [13]
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. [15]

Related Organizations


  1. About,” Accessed December, 2011.

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

  3. Competitive Enterprise Institute,” Media Matters. Accessed December, 2011.

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

  5. Sceptics forced to contain hot air on gases,” The Australian, April 10, 2007.

  6. Cosponsors,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Accessed May 20, 2012.

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

  8. Good News for the Planet = Bad News for Climate Alarmists,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, January 30, 2007.


  10. CEI To Launch National Global Warming Ad Campaign,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, May 15, 2006.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. (Press Release) “Corporate-funded Lobbyists Aimed to Sabotage Johannesburg Summit,” Africa News, August 19, 2002.

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

  16. Competitive Enterprise Institute,” SourceWatch Profile.

  17. Competitive Enterprise Institute,” Wikipedia page.

  18. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Competitive Enterprise Institute, CEI.

  19. Competitive Enterprise Institute and Global Warming,” SourceWatch page.

  20. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) - Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace.

  21. Greenpeace Investigations research documents on CEI.

  22. Marlo Lewis. “Speakers,” At the Crossroads; Energy & Climate Policy Summit, Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, September 25/26, 2014.

  23. Libertarians Sue White House Over Climate Change Video,” ThinkProgress, October 30, 2014.