It is nearly impossible to discuss the vast climate change denial echo chamber and not mention the Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, and what some have called the Koch Empire.
Perhaps unsurpisingly then, the origins of the Heartland Institute – whose internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog – have a direct historical link to the rise of the Kochtopus's wide-reaching climate change denial machine.
It all began in 1977 in Wichita, Kansas, with the creation of the Cato Institute.
David Padden, Cato Institute, and the Rise of Heartland
The Cato Institute was founded in 1977 and originally funded by Charles Koch, of Koch Industries fame and fortune.
It is known today for its libertarian policy stances on issues like the War on Drugs, anti-interventionist foreign policy, and support for civil liberties, and perhaps most notoriously for its climate change denial and pro-polluter stance in energy policy debates. Cato's most infamous talking head today is Pat Michaels, who serves as its “Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies.”
One of the key original members of Cato's Board of Directors was David Padden, a Chicago, IL-based investment banker and then owner of Padden & Company, which now also has a spinoff called Padco Lease Corporation. Padden passed away in October 2011.
In 1984, piggybacking off of his role at Cato, Padden founded the Heartland Institute, also serving on its original Board of Directors.