Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation


The Reason Foundation is a libertarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1978 that describes itself as advancing “free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.” [1]

The Reason Foundation currently runs the monthly print publication Reason magazine, its online counterpart, and also Reason.tvThe Reason Foundation's past projects have included projects include the now-defunct and previously  [2]

David H. Koch, one of billionaire Koch brothers and co-owner of Koch Industries, is listed as a Trustee of the Reason Foundation. [3]

Julian Morris, past Executive Director of the International Policy Network (UK), and a prominent climate change skeptic, is the Vice President of Research for the Reason Foundation. [4]

The Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI) once described itself as a “division of the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation,” although RPPI's website now redirects to the Reason Foundation's homepage and the two groups appear to have merged. [5]

Stance on Climate Change

While the Reason Foundation does not appear to have released an official statement on climate change, they have released a variety of articles questioning the existence of man-made climate change or its severity (examples below):

“So, to sum up: (1) estimates of climate sensitivity suggest that global warming is likely to be milder than even the lowest forecast made by the Interagency Working Group; (2) humanity’s ability to adapt to climate change will almost certainly be greater than even the most optimistic forecasts of the Interagency Working Group; (3) while there will undoubtedly be losers from global warming, there will also be winners and it is quite possible that additional carbon dioxide emissions will generate net benefits for humanity, at least until the end of this century.” [6]

“What we can say is that climate change has been a natural phenomena throughout the course of time. What impact do man's activities have on the Earth's natural climate cycles? That is still open to debate. Some would say none at all while others will say that it is dramatic.” [7]


According to their website, the “Reason Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization completely supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the sale of our publications.” [8]

The following funding is based on data the Conservative Transparency project has gathered from from publicly-available 990 tax forms. Note that not all individual donations have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy. View attached .xls spreadsheet for information on funding by year. [9]

Donor Contributions
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $8,268,000
Searle Freedom Trust $5,295,500
Sarah Scaife Foundation $2,416,000
David H. Koch Charitable Foundation $1,522,212
DonorsTrust $1,228,250
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,167,500
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $1,157,000
Donors Capital Fund $732,559
Claws Foundation $550,000
The Carthage Foundation $316,000
John M. Olin Foundation $276,500
Chase Foundation of Virginia $268,250
The Roe Foundation $235,000
Castle Rock Foundation $210,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $203,058
Scaife Family Foundation $191,500
The Rodney Fund $170,000
International Policy Network $164,685
John William Pope Foundation $150,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $150,000
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $145,000
Exxon Mobil* $381,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $135,000
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $125,000
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation $100,000
Smith Richardson Foundation $100,000
JM Foundation $95,000
William E. Simon Foundation $90,000
Armstrong Foundation $72,500
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $50,000
Walton Family Foundation $40,000
William H. Donner Foundation $35,000
Aequus Institute $29,000
The Challenge Foundation $25,000
Gilder Foundation $22,500
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $20,000
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation $20,000
Ravenel And Elizabeth Curry Foundation $10,150
Earhart Foundation $10,000
Center for Independent Thought $5,000
Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation $5,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $5,000
Cato Institute $2,000
The Robertson-Finley Foundation $1,000
Grand Total $26,195,164

According to Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets, the Reason Foundation has received a total of $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998[7]

Greenpeace  totals the Reason Foundation's funding from Koch Industries and Foundations at $1,911,509 from 1997 to 2011. [10]

The Reason Foundation has received funding from tobacco companies in the past, including $20,000 from Philip Morris in 2000. [11] 
Sourcewatch also reports the following, originally from the Advocacy Institute, (emphasis added):
“The Reason Foundation received at least $10,000 from Philip Morris in 1993. He [Sullum] wrote an article for Forbes Media Critic which was later used in a week-long advertising series by Philip Morris; the report argued that the EPA findings on secondhand smoke were one-sided and represented the “corruption of science by the political crusade against smoking.” He also wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal criticizing the EPA, claiming that the agency based its findings on ETS on “several controversial assumptions;” this op-ed was later featured in an RJR advertisement. Both of these articles cited the work of Dr.Gary Huber, a scientist funded by various tobacco companies, who had found the risks of ETS to be only minimal. The Media Critic article also cited the work of Alvan Feinstein, who received at least $700,000 from Brown &Williamson between 1985 and 1990.” [12]

Key People

The Reason Foundation listed the following people on their website, as of October, 2015: [3]


Adrian Moore is also listed (PDF) as an Advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council's Commerce, Insurance & Economic Development Task Force. [13]


Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI) Staff — 2004

When the Reason Public Policy Institute still maintained a separate website in 2004,  RPPI listed the following people. Some still maintain connections to the Reason Foundation: [14]

  • Adrian T. Moore — Executive Director, Reason Public Policy Institute.
  • Robert W. Poole, Jr. — Director of Transportation Studies, Founder, Reason Foundation.
  • Geoffrey F. Segal — Director of Privatization and Government Reform Policy.
  • George Passantino — Director of Government Affairs.
  • Lisa Snell — Director of Education and Child Welfare.
  • Ted Balaker — Jacobs Fellow, Transportation Studies, Privatization Watch editor.
  • Michael De Alessi — Director of Natural Resource Policy.
  • Lynne Kiesling — Senior Fellow, Reason Public Policy Institute.
  • Leonard Gilroy — Research Fellow, Urban Futures Program.
  • Kenneth Green, D.Env. — Adjunct Scholar, Reason Public Policy Institute, Chief Scientist, Fraser Institute.
  • Robin Johnson — Senior Fellow, Privatization Center.
  • Joel Schwartz — Senior Fellow, Environmental Program. Also listed as Director of the “Air Quality Project.” [15]
  • Sam Staley — Senior Fellow, Urban Futures Program.
  • Chris Fiscelli — Research Fellow, Urban Futures Program.
  • Owen Courrèges — Research Fellow, Urban Futures Program.



Since Pope Francis released the Encyclical on the Environment, the Reason Foundation has released a number of articles critical of him. Reason magazine has said Pope Francis “doesn't really understand capitalism,” and “hates free markets.” [16], [17], [18]

January, 2015

Reason magazine released an overall positive review of Alex Epstein's book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Epstein is the founder of the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a group that regularly publishes articles “debunking” environmentalism, and promoting the oil and coal industries. [19]

According to Ronald Bailey, Alex Epstein “makes a persuasive case that cheap and abundant fossil fuels are critical to enabling billions to escape conditions of Malthusian privation.” 

August 6, 2015

The Reason Foundation released a study, titled “Assessing the Social Costs and Benefits of Regulating Carbon Emissions,” by Julian Morris (the Foundation's Vice President of Research.) [20]

According to the Reason Foundation, the study “shows that estimates of the 'social cost of carbon” have been falling' — and would fall further if new scientific evidence were incorporated. The study calls into question the analyses used to underpin the Obama administration’s new Clean Power Plan and other federal regulations targeting emissions of greenhouse gases.” [21]

August, 2015

The Reason Foundation's magazine has published a number of pieces opposing President Obama's Clean Power Plan. 
For example, the Reason Foundation's Ronald Bailey (science correspondent for Reason Magazine) quotes the industry-funded American Enterprise Institute, as well as Patrick Michaels and Paul Knappenberger of the Cato Institute in an article titled “Obama's Clean Power Plan Would Reduce Global Warming by -0.015 Degree By 2100.” [22]
In the piece, Bailey also promotes his book, The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century, where he says that “the [climate] models are running hotter than actual temperatures.” he admits that his book was made possible by the Cato Institute, which “generously provided me with a grant that allowed me the time to write The End of Doom.”

August 29, 2014

Reason's science correspondent Ronald Bailey published an article where he claims that doing nothing to prevent climate change would result in the same cost as climate action: 
“In other words, doing nothing about climate change will cost future generations roughly the same as doing something,” Bailey writes. [23]

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Reason Foundation is listed as an official Co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [24]

June 7, 2002

Kenneth Green of the Reason Foundation signed a joint letter to President Bush on the EPA's Climate Action Report. [25]

Those who sign the letter describe themselves as “opponents of the Kyoto Protocol and similar domestic proposals to ration energy,” and applaud Bush for his “resolution in the face of continuing environmental alarmism.”

The letter describes the 2002 Climate Action Report as “a compilation and summary of junk science produced by the Clinton-Gore Administration in order to support their Kyoto agenda,” and urge the report to be withdrawn and “re-written on the basis of sound science.”

Related Organizations



  1. About Reason Foundation,” Reason Foundation. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  2. About Reason,” Accessed October 19, 2015.

  3. Reason Trustees and Officers,” Reason Foundation. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL 

  4. Reason Foundation Staff: Julian Morris,” Reason Foundation. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  5. About Reason Public Policy Institute,” Reason Public Policy Institute. Archived December 11, 2004.

  6. Julian Morris. “The Social Cost of Carbon Underestimates Human Ingenuity, Overestimates Climate Sensitivity,” Reason Foundation, August 14, 2015. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  7. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Reason Foundation, Reason. Accessed October 19, 2015.

  8. Frequently Asked Questions,” Reason Foundation, Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  9. Reason Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed October 19, 2015. 

  10. The Reason Foundation: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  11. PUBLIC POLICY GRANTS PROPOSED 2001 BUDGET,” 2001. Philip Morris. 

  12. Reason Foundation,” SourceWatch. Archived October 19, 2015. 

  13. Inside Alec,” American Legislative Exchange Council, May 2011 issue (PDF). Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  14. Reason Public Policy Institute Staff,” Reason Public Policy Institute. Archived August 18, 2004.

  15. Joel Schwartz. “New Study Distorts Health Benefits of Greenhouse Gas Reduction,” Reason Public Policy Institute Rapid Response No. 105 (August 21, 2001). Archived September 13, 2002.

  16. Nick Gillespie. “Maybe Pope Francis Doesn't Understand Capitalism Because He Confuses It with Argentine Corporatism,”, September 24, 2015. 

  17. Stephanie Slade. “If Pope Francis Wants to Help the Poor, He Should Embrace Capitalism,”, September 21, 2015. 

  18. Ronald Bailey. “Pope Francis and Naomi Klein Both Hate Free Markets, Technological Progress, and Economic Growth,” (blog), June 29, 2015.

  19. Ronald Bailey. “Fight Poverty—Use Fossil Fuels,”, January 16, 2015. 

  20. Julian Morris. “Assessing the Social Costs and Benefits of Regulating Carbon Emissions,” Reason Foundation, August 6, 2015. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  21. Study: Social Cost of Carbon Likely Much Lower Than Previous Estimates,” Reason Foundation, August 6, 2015. Archived October 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  22. Ronald Bailey. “Obama's Clean Power Plan Would Reduce Global Warming by -0.015 Degree By 2100,” August 10, 2015., August 10, 2015.  WebCite URL

  23. Ronald Bailey. “Climate Change Costs By 2100: Doing Nothing Has the Same Price Tag as Doing Something,”, August 29, 2014. WebCite URL

  24. “Seventh International Conference on Climate Change: Sponsored by the Heartland Institute” (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived August 15, 2015.

  25. Fred L. Smith, Jr. “Joint Letter To President Bush On The EPA's Climate Action Report,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 7, 2002. WebCite URL

Other Resources