George Mason University (GMU)
George Mason University (GMU) began as the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia in 1957. In 1972 it had grown to the point where it officially separated from its parent institution. 
During the 1990s it became a “magnet for right-wing money.” From 1992 through 1994, twelve libertarian foundations invested a combined total of $8.55 million in various academic programs and institutes of George Mason University. This funding helped establish (and continues to support) the University's libertarian “study centers.” 
Koch Industries, apart from providing significant funding to GMU, also has personnel connected to the university. Richard Fink, the vice president of Koch Industries, Inc., and the former president of the Charles G. Koch Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, serves on the board of directors of the George Mason University Foundation and the Mercatus Center.
Besides teaching at the university from 1980-1986, Fink has also served on a number of boards at the university including the Institute for Humane Studies and the Center for the Study of Public Choice, the Board of Visitors, and the Student Affairs Committee. 
Stance on Climate Change
“The assumptions do not lead us to conclude that we should venture forth and take costly action to reduce emissions. […] There is a matter of benefits and costs. Is it possible that global climate change is on balance helpful to human populations and the environment? And if not, is it possible that other actions we might take could be more beneficial to human populations and the environment than acting to reduce carbon emissions?”
Here's another example, in a 2001 “Public Interest Comment” (PDF) released by the Mercatus Center opposing EPA regulations:
“The evidence regarding global warming and human contribution to it is mixed, and as forecasts of anthropogenic warming get more refined, they predict less extreme warming.” 
“Climate change is the result of human actions and choices. Limiting climate change – and protecting people and ecosystems to the degree possible from unavoidable changes in the climate – will require significant public engagement in the issue so that difficult decisions can be made by members of the public and policy makers. Our center was created to conduct unbiased social science research that will facilitate such public engagement.” 
George Mason University vs. George Mason University Foundation
According to correspondence with George Mason University (emphasis added):
“All philanthropic gifts are processed through the George Mason University Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of the university proper. This allows for the university and the donor to both see the greatest benefit from gifts, including tax deductibility (with some exclusions). There are some exceptions, such as contributions that support sponsored research, which would be handled by a designated office on the university side.The Foundation only accepts gifts which are completely philanthropic — 'no strings attached.' For example, someone creating a scholarship and making a fully tax-deductible gift can have no say in which students receive the awards. The same thing is true for gifts in kind, such as books for the library or donated artwork; donors give up their full rights of ownership and control over that property in order for it to qualify as a tax-deductible gift. Any contribution that has any sort of 'quid pro quo' requirements or allows for the giver to direct the expenditure or use of their donation does not qualify for the tax deduction and will be handled by the appropriate university office. The size of the gift doesn’t matter; it’s the intent that IRS regulations address.”
George Mason University Foundation 990 Forms
Since 1985, George Mason University (GMU), and its associated institutes and centers, has received more funding from the Koch Family Charitable Foundations than any other organization.
Data below has been collected from data available in the Conservative Transparency database (accessed August, 2015). Sourced tax records included information from 1985 to 2013.
|Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation||Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation||David H. Koch Charitable Foundation||Grand Total|
|George Mason University||$14,230,955||$2,303,968||$1,700,000||$18,234,923|
George Mason University Funding
View the attached .xls file for complete funding for the George Mason University, George Mason University Foundation, and related departments. Records are based on a combination of Conservative Transparency records and original 990 form research by DeSmogBlog.
* Note that not all funding records were available for verification by DeSmogBlog.
GMU Departments & Programs
Public 990 tax forms listed a range of grants related to George Mason University. Here is a list of the departments and related foundations mentioned in records for GMU:
Center for the Study of Public Choice
According to tax records, the address for the Center for the Study of Public Choice is:
“George Mason University, 4400 University Drive Fairfax VA 22030”
The GMU Website describes the Center for Study of Public Choice as “a unique research institution at George Mason University, provides a single location where eminent scholars conduct innovative research, publish their findings and conclusions in a variety of print and electronic media, and teach the science of public choice.” 
“The Center serves as the institutional home for the Public Choice Research Program, which has developed and matured over the past half-century. Created in 1957 at the University of Virginia , the Center was initially called the Thomas Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy. In 1969, the Center was reconstituted at Virginia Tech under its present name. In 1983, the Center shifted its operations to George Mason University. The Center's alumni include 148 doctoral students from George Mason, 113 from Virginia Tech, and 109 from the University of Virginia . From its historical association with three of Virginia 's major universities, the Center's academic footprint is often dubbed the 'Virginia School of Political Economy'.”
WLF Economic Freedom Clinic
George Mason Environmental Law Clinic
According to their website, “The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic’s purpose is to make lawyers and make (case) law. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable institution working alongside the George Mason University School of Law and other law schools.”
The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic9033 Brook Ford RoadBurke, VA 22015
George Mason University Department of Economics
The GMU Economics Department has developed a particular approach to economics, which they have dubbed Masonomics. According to their website, “Masonomics trusts that the presence of liberty and basic human rights will enable people to create a political-economic system characterized by economic growth, stability and rule-of-law. 
George Mason University Econ Journal Watch
According to the Econ Journal Watch (EJW) website, “EJW legally exists within the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. ISSN: 1933-527X.”
“EJW watches the journals for inappropriate assumptions, weak chains of argument, phony claims of relevance, omissions of pertinent truths, and irreplicability (EJW also publishes replications)”
At least one 990 tax form (Atlas Economic Research Foundation, 2008) identifies it as the “George Mason University Econ Journal Watch” with the EIN of 94-2763845 (This EIN is registered to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.) Many of the contacts including Editors, Co-Editors, and Advisory Council members for the EJW are located at George Mason University. 
George Mason University ICES
The George Mason University Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science (ICES) is housed inside the George Mason University Department of Economics. ICES was founded by Dr. Vernon L. Smith and “brings together faculty from economics, law, computational science, neuroscience and engineering.” 
Vernon L. Smith is a past Professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University (2001 - 2008), and has affiliations with a number of right-wing think tanks. He serves on the Board of Directors at the Mercatus Center. He has been an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Institute of Economic Affairs (UK), and past president of the Association for Private Enterprise Education. 
George Mason University Institute on Political Journalism
The Institute on Political Journalism is a program sponsored by the Fund for American Studies and hosted at the George Mason University Arlington campus. The program is focused on the study of free-market principles as they apply to journalism and communications. The program description is below: 
“When you picture your future, do you see yourself covering the campaign trail, reporting on current events or developing a strategic marketing plan for a corporate client? If so, the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ) is the program for you. Employers are looking for recent graduates with experience, and the best way to stand out after graduation is to complete an internship and make connections now.With IPJ, you are guaranteed an internship with a newspaper, online publication, public relations firm, television, or radio station. In the classroom, you’ll study free-market principles and the importance of a free, fair and accurate press.”
George Mason University Law and Economics Center
The George Mason University Law & Economics Center was formed in 1974 with the mission to “be a nexus for academic research and education that focuses on the timely and relevant economic analysis of legal and public policy issues confronting policy makers worldwide.”
According to their website, the Center's vision is “hat if policymakers understand economics, they will be more likely to make sound decisions that support the rule of law and the free enterprise system, thus advancing innovation, job creation, and economic growth.” 
George Mason University School of Public Policy Research
The George Mason University School of Public Policy (SPP) started in 1990 as an institute inside the George Mason University, and expanded to became a separate school in July of 2000.
According to one description, “The unparalleled quality of the teaching team appeals to more than just exceptional students. It also encourages substantial financial support from major corporate partners and policymakers in all levels of private and public organizations, in the form of grants, contracts and direct contributions. The School is committed to finding new ways to direct these resources back into the community, applying the theories and research developed in the classroom to help make a better world.” 
International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics
The International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics (IFREE) is a 501(c)(3) public foundation established in 1997 by Dr. Vernon L. Smith to support research and education in experimental economics. The group's mission statement is “To advance the understanding of exchange systems and the testing and application of market-based institutions.” 
While it maintains a separate EIN (86-0879713), publicly available tax records have listed IFREE with a shared an address at George Mason University (and, in some cases, the Mercatus Center). For example, according to a 2001 990-PF form of the Earhart Foundation, IFREE's address was the following:
IFREE at Mercatus Center
George Mason University
3301 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 450
IFREE's Board of Directors has a number of connections to GMU including Tyloer Cowen (General Director, The Mercatus Center and Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics, George Mason University), Kevin A. McCabe (Professor of Economics and Law, George Mason University), and Bart Wilson (Department of Economics, George Mason University). 
James M Buchanan Center for Political Economy
The James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy no longer appears listed on the GMU website, however it is archived on the web as of 2009 where it is described as “an education and research organization at George Mason university emphasizing the interdisciplinary study of economics, law, and the humanities.” The Center was named in honor of its Advisory General Director, Dr. James M. Buchanan. 
James M. Buchanan was the director of the Center for Public Choice until his death in 2013. According to an article in The New Yorker, the Mercatus Center merged with the Center for Public Choice in 1998 to become the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy. 
The Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank located at George Mason University. It is a sister organization to the Institute for Humane Studies. The Mercatus Center was originally founded at Rutgers University by Richard Fink in the late 1970s, under the name the Center for Market Processes. 
The Mercatus Center was formed in the mid-eighties with an influx of funding from Koch Industries, which still finances the center today. Charles Koch and Richard Fink serve on its board of directors. In 1999, the organization was renamed the Mercatus Center and promoted itself as “the world's premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems.” 
The Mercatus Center believes that a gap exists between economic understanding and real-world decision and policy making. Its mission is to bridge that gap and to provide policy makers with the economic tools to make sense of today’s most pressing issues.” 
The Wall Street Journal has called the Mercatus Center “the most important think tank you’ve never heard of,” and SourceWatch identifies the Mercatus Center as “one of the best-funded think tanks in the United States.” , 
Institute for Humane Studies
The mission of the IHS is “to support the achievement of a free society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented, productive students, scholars and other intellectuals who share a commitment to liberty and who demonstrate the potential to change significantly the current climate of opinion to one more congenial to the principles and practices of freedom.” 
According to SourceWatch, the IHS acts as “a libertarian talent scout, identifying, developing, and supporting the brightest young libertarians it can find who are intent on a leveraged scholarly, or intellectual, career path.” In addition to the funding it receives from the Koch Family Foundations, the Institute for Humane Studies also receives donations from conservative foundations such as the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. 
George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications describes its mission as to “conduct unbiased public engagement research - and to help government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies apply the results of this research - so that collectively, we can stabilize our planet's life sustaining climate.” 
- Edward Maibach
- Katherine Rowan
- Robert Lichter — (Of note: Authored an article for STATS finding Climate Scientists “Disagree on Dangers” of climate change. )
- Susan Crate
- Timothy Gibson
- Xiaoquan Zhao
- Andrew Light
- Chris Clarke
- Chris Kennedy
- Connie Roser-Renouf
- Emily Vraga
- Enrico Wensing
- Karen Akerlof
- Katherine Price
- Marybeth Montoro
- Mona Sarfaty
- Teresa Myers
- Do Kyun Kim
- Erik C. Nisbet
- Jagadish Thaker
- Lauren Feldman
- Matthew Nisbet
- Melinda Weathers
- Sol Hart
- Stephen J. Farnsworth
- Anthony Leiserowitz
- Ashley Anderson
- Brittany Bloodhart
- Ding Ding
- Hilary Schaffer Boudet
- Post-Doctoral Researchers
- Bob Drost
- Justin Rolfe-Redding
- Jenell Walsh-Thomas
- John Kotcher
- Neil Stenhouse
- Raphael Mazzone
- Ángel Cabrera — University President
- S. David Wu — Provost and Executive Vice President
- Jennifer (J. J.) Davis — Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
- Frank Neville — Chief of Staff
- Janet Bingham — Vice President, University Advancement and Alumni Relations
- Sharon Cullen — Director, Presidential Administration
- Brad Edwards — Assistant Vice President, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
- Linda Harber — Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll, and Chief Human Resources Officer
- Paul Liberty — Vice President, Government and Community Relations
- Rose Pascarell — Vice President, University Life
- Julian R. Williams — Vice President, Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics
- Renell Wynn — Vice President, Communications and Marketing
- Peggy Agouris — Dean, College of Science
- Kevin Avruch — Dean, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
- Kenneth Ball — Dean, Volgeneau School of Engineering
- Deborah Boehm-Davis — Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Zofia Burr — Dean, Honors College
- Henry Butler — Dean, School of Law
- Rick Davis — Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts
- Mark Ginsberg — Dean, College of Education and Human Development
- Sarah Nutter — Dean, School of Business
- Thomas R. Prohaska — Dean, College of Health and Human Services
- Mark Rozell — Acting Dean, School of Policy, Government and International Affairs
- John G. Zenelis — University Librarian and Dean of Libraries
Mason Songdo Campus Leadership
- Steven L. Lee — President, Mason Korea
George Mason University Foundation
According to the GMU Foundation's most recent 990 form (2014):
- Terri C Beirne — Trustee
- Robert E Buchanan — Trustee
- Antonio J Calabrese — Trustee
- W Jeffrey Carlton — Trustee
- Kendal E Carson — Trustee
- Dennis J Cotter — Trustee
- Dorothy S Gray — Trustee
- R Paul Gray — Trustee
- James W Hazel — Chair
- Najaf S Husain — Trustee
- Jeffery M Johnson — Treasurer
- Janet Bing ham — Trustee/President
- Mahfuz Ahmed — Trustee
- Kay W Lewis — Trustee
- Gene L Frogale — Trustee
- James A Meriwether — Trustee
- Tim H Meyers — Immediate Past Chair
- John R Muha II — Trustee
- J D Myers II — Trustee
- Louise C Nelson — Trustee
- John T Niehoff — Trustee
- Dolly C Oberoi — Trustee
- Joseph J O'Brien — Trustee
- Dale B Peck — Trustee
- John Paul Phaup — Trustee
- Benjamin H Graham — Trustee
- William l Ridenour — Secretary
- Donna P Shafer — Trustee
- Samuel R Strickland — Trustee
- Michael R Waple — Trustee
- Thomas G Woolston — Trustee
- Amir Hudda — Trustee
- M Yaqub Mirza — Trustee
- George C Newstrom — Vice Chair
- John D Fa — Trustee/ Director of Real Estate
- Angel Cabrera — Trustee
- David A Roe — Trustee/Chief Op Officer
- Kenneth S Ball — Trustee
- Deborah Boehm-Davis — Trustee
- Jeffrey A Smith — Trustee
- Michael P Toth —Trustee
- Russel L Ray Jr — Trustee
- C Daniel Clemente — Trustee
- Mary Van Leunen — Controller
Board of Visitors
As of September, 2015: 
- Tom Davis — Rector
- Stuart Mendelsohn — Vice Rector
- Kelly McNamara Corley — Secretary
- Mahfuz Ahmed
- Karen Alcalde
- Stephen M. Cumbie
- Kimberly O. Dennis
- Claire Dwoskin
- Anne Gruner
- John Jacquemin
- Robert F. Pence
- David Petersen
- Jon Peterson
- Shawn Purvis
- Tracy Schar
- M. Siddique Sheikh
- Charlene Douglas
- Khushboo Bhatia
- Justin Van Buren
- Alan Abramson
- David S. Anderson
- David Gallay
- Larry Kerschberg
- Jill Nelson
- Peter Pober
- Keith Renshaw
- June Tangney
- Edward Douthett
- J. Thomas Hennessey, Jr. — Chief of Staff.
- Dr. Alan G. Merten — President.
- Maurice Scherrens — Senior Vice President.
Board of Visitors (2012)
- Ernst Volgenau — Rector
- C. Daniel Clemente — Vice Rector
- Charlie H. Mills, III — Secretary
- Karen Alcalde
- B.G. Beck
- Reginald J. Brown
- Vincent F. Callahan
- Kimberly O. Dennis
- Kathleen M. deLaski
- Lovey L. Hammel
- Anthony R. Jimenez
- Carol Kirby
- Mark F. McGettrick
- Steven P. Mullins
- Edward J. Newberry
- Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer
- Edward Wegman — Statistics professor and nominal author of the Wegman Report.
- James Trefil
- Jagadish 'J' Shukla — Professor of Climate Dynamics.
- S. Robert Lichter — Head of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, is listed among the faculty researchers of GMU's Center for Climate Change Communication. 
- Daniel Botkin — Professor of Biology (As of 2012). Also, Director of Program on Global Change. , 
- S. Fred Singer — 1994- Distinguished Research Professor, Institute for Humane Studies.
- Pat Michaels — Senior Research Fellow for Policy and Economic Development. 
GMU's Mercatus Center has lobbied against greenhouse gas emission policy, and is largely funded by oil companies and by Koch Industries. Charles Koch the CEO of Koch Industries sits on the Board of Directors of the Mercatus Center, as well as Richard Fink, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries.
Edward Wegman, a statistics professor at George Mason University has been under investigation by GMU for numerous issues regarding his published Wegman Report including potential plagiarism. (See FOIA Facts Series below).
The first charges were laid by University of Massachusetts professor Raymond Bradley who filed a complaint against Wegman in 2010, noting that portions of the report and the CSDA study appeared lifted from one of his textbooks and Wikipedia.
A report by John Mashey found Wegman's report to be guilty of falsifications, misrepresentation and fabrications that could give rise to a charge of academic misconduct. When Wegman tried to publish the report in the peer-reviewed journal of Computational Data and Statistics Analysis (CSDA), it was rejected due to possible plagiarism from Wikipedia and textbooks. 
Provost Peter Stearns said that one investigation committee unanimously found that “no misconduct was involved” in the 2006 Congressional report. “Extensive paraphrasing of another work did occur, in a background section, but the work was repeatedly referenced and the committee found that the paraphrasing did not constitute misconduct,” he said in the statement. 
DeSmogBlog Reporting on George Mason University
View John Mashey's complete May, 2013 report (Updated) — “FOIA Facts: Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, George Mason University,” or view individual reporting below.
- John Mashey. “FOIA Facts 1 - More Misdeeds By Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, George Mason University,” DeSmogBlog, May 20, 2013.
- John Mashey. “FOIA Facts 2 - No Pro Bono - Federal Funds Mis-Used For Wegman Report And Much More,” DeSmogBlog, May 21, 2013.
- John Mashey. “FOIA Facts 3 - More Plagiarism - Get Grants Or Claim Credit,” DeSmogBlog, May 22, 2013.
- John Mashey. “FOIA Facts 4 - George Mason Takes The Money And Breaks The Rules,” DeSmogBlog, May 23, 2013.
- John Mashey. “Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, Milt Johns Sue John Mashey For $2 Million“ DeSmogBlog, May 20, 2015.
- John Mashey. ”See No Evil At George Mason University,” DeSmogBlog, March 15, 2012.
“George Mason University: Electronic Documentary History,” Accessed March, 2012. Archived August 22, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6bhCxdE4X
“Moving a Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations” (PDF), The National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy, July, 1997. Archived August 22, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
“Public Interest Comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Request for Comment on a Petition: Control of Emissions From New and In-use Highway Vehicles and Engines” (PDF), Mercatus Center Regulatory Studies Program. Archived August 22, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
(Press Release) “Court Urged To Approve Restrictions On Law Clinic Activism,” Washington Legal Foundation, March 7, 2000. Archived September 8, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6bhE12xpl
ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Washington Legal Foundation, WLF. Accessed September, 2015.
“VERNON L. SMITH” (CV). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
“IFREE thanks its previous and current Board of Directors,” ifree. Archived September 20, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6bh81PGYU
“About,” Mercatus Center, George Mason University. Accessed March, 2012.
Rey Banks. “Mercatus Center Quietly Wields Influence,” The Mason Gazette, August 11, 2004. Archived August 24, 2007.
“Institute for Humane Studies,” SourceWatch.
“Mercatus Center,” SourceWatch. Accessed September 20, 2015.
“University Leadership,” George Mason University. Archived April 2, 2012.
“Board of Visitors,” George Mason University. Archived September 15, 2012.
“George Mason University,” SourceWatch.
“Dr. Daniel B. Botkin,” Center For the Study Of the Environment. Archived January 29, 2012.
John Mashey. “John Mashey on Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report,” Deep Climate, September 26, 2010. Archived September 21, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6bhXdtA2q
Richard Littlemore. “Nature Scolds GMU over Wegman Inquiry,” DeSmogBlog, May 26, 2011.
Dan Vergano. “University reprimands climate science critic for plagiarism,” ScienceFair, February 22, 2012. Archived September 22, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6bhXuPe77
S. Robert Lichter. “Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change,” STATS, April 24, 2008. Archived May 1, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
“George Mason University Centre for Climate Change Communication,” ClimateChangeCommunication.org. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cELvbAiV
Related Profiles and Research
- “Koch and George Mason University,” DeSmogBlog report.
- John R. Mashey. “FOIA Facts: Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, George Mason University” (PDF), DeSmogBlog, May 16, 2013.
- “Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University,” DeSmogBlog profile.
- “Mercatus Center,” DeSmogBlog profile.
- “Richard Fink,” DeSmogBlog profile.
“George Mason University,” SourceWatch Profile.
“George Mason University,” Wikipedia entry.