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 runs the monthly print publication Reason magazine and its online counterparts and[2] The Reason Foundation's past projects have included now-defunct and  [26], [27]

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] According to Greenpeace, the Reason Foundation has received over $1.9 million from Koch-related foundations since 1997[10] Data from Conservative Transparency, going back to the 1980s, lists an even higher figure at over $2.9 million.[9]

The Reason Foundation is a member of the Atlas Network and former Reason director Gerry Ohrstrom is on the Atlas Network's board[29]

SourceWatch reports that the Reason Foundation has a number of connections the the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization connecting corporations with legislators to push through model bills that often benefit big business. [12] For example, Adrian Moore, Vice President of Public Policy of the Reason Foundation, is an Advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council's Commerce, Insurance & Economic Development Task Force. [13] Reason Foundation representatives have also advised ALEC Task Forces on issues such as state budgets, and health reform. [12]

Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)

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, suggesting the two groups have merged. [5]

Stance on Climate Change


“While human emissions of greenhouse gases are probably warming the planet, the decision to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius is not based on an impartial assessment of its impact. It’s true that changes in temperature, precipitation and sea level certainly have the potential to cause harm, but economic analyses suggest that global warming of up to 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels could generate net benefits for humanity” — Julian Morris, Vice President of research at the Reason Foundation. [31]


“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]


The Reason Foundation describes itself as 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 the attached spreadsheet for details on the Reason Foundation's funding by year (.xlsx). [9]

Name Total
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 $1,502,700
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,167,500
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $1,157,000
Donors Capital Fund $832,559
Claws Foundation $550,000
The Carthage Foundation $316,000
John M. Olin Foundation $276,500
Chase Foundation of Virginia $268,250
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $247,232
The Roe Foundation $235,000
Castle Rock Foundation $210,000
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 $140,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $135,000
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $125,000
Walton Family Foundation $115,000
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
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
Center for Independent Thought $10,000
Earhart Foundation $10,000
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 $26,452,788

990 Forms


ExxonMobil Funding

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

Koch Funding

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

Tobacco Industry Funding

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 Philip Morris funding:
“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 Trustees and Officers on their website, as of May, 2016: [3]


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


Climate Change “Experts” [28]

  • Shikha Dalmia — Senior Analyst
  • Adrian Moore — Vice President, Policy
  • Julian Morris — Vice President, Research
  • Brian Seasholes — Director, Endangered Species Project

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.


April 22, 2016

 Julian Morris, Vice President of research at the Reason Foundation, published an article in the Orange County Register titled “Climate pact likely to do more harm than good” where he contends that the agreement reached at the Paris COP21 climate conference would be “unlikely to significantly reduce any climate-related harms.” [31]

“[B]y slowing down the rate of innovation and economic growth across the world, it could seriously hinder adaptation. And those consequences could be dire, especially for the poor who currently suffer most from climate-related problems,” Morris writes. [31]

According to Julian Morris, “economic analyses suggest that global warming of up to 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels could generate net benefits for humanity.” He lists benefits as decreased heating costs, fewer temperature-related deaths, and increases in global crop production. [31]

March, 2016

The Reason Foundation was one of nearly 100 think tanks named in a subpoena to ExxonMobil for communications since January 1, 1977 with groups addressing issues with respect to climate change. [30]

Ronald Bailey, science correspondent at Reason magazine, describes the subpoena as a “anti-free-speech effort” and argues that they are “a huge step in the direction of using the courts to silence people who hold views that differ from those of powerful government officials.” [30]

Bailey notes that “Over the years I have worked with several groups listed in the USVI subpoena on a wide variety of public policy issues relevant to resisting government encroachments into free markets, mostly not having anything to do with climate change.” [30]


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]

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

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.”

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 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.”

Reason Foundation Contact & Location

The Reason Foundation listed the following contact information in its website as of May, 2016: [32] 

Reason Foundation
5737 Mesmer Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90230
Phone: (310) 391-2245
Fax: (310) 391-4395

Reason Foundation
1747 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20009
Phone: (202) 986-0916
Fax: (202) 315-3623

Related Organizations

Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)

Division, and now possibly merged with the Reason Foundation.


Atlas Network

The Reason Foundation is a member of the Atlas Network, and former Reason director Gerry Ohrstrom is on the Atlas Network's board[29] The Atlas Economic Research Foundation has also donated at least $20,000 to the Reason Foundation. [9]

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Adrian Moore, Vice President of Public Policy of the Reason Foundation, is an Advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council's Commerce, Insurance & Economic Development Task Force. [13]  Reason Foundation representatives have also advised ALEC Task Forces on issues such as state budgets, and health reform. [12]


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

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

  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 May 4, 2016.

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

  9. Reason Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed May 4, 2016.

  10. The Reason Foundation: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  11. PUBLIC POLICY GRANTS PROPOSED 2001 BUDGET,” Philip Morris, 2001. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Bates No. 2080434443-2080434449. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  12. Reason Foundation,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 4, 2016.

  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. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  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. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  16. Nick Gillespie. “Maybe Pope Francis Doesn't Understand Capitalism Because He Confuses It with Argentine Corporatism,”, September 24, 2015. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  17. Stephanie Slade. “If Pope Francis Wants to Help the Poor, He Should Embrace Capitalism,”, September 21, 2015. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  18. Ronald Bailey. “Pope Francis and Naomi Klein Both Hate Free Markets, Technological Progress, and Economic Growth,”, June 29, 2015. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  19. Ronald Bailey. “Fight Poverty—Use Fossil Fuels,”, January 16, 2015. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  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

  26. About New Environmentalism,” Archived July 3, 2007. Archived.pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  27. About,” Archived February 18, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  28. Climate Change,” Reason Foundation. Archived May 5, 2016. WebCite URL

  29. People: Atlas Network,” Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  30. Ronald Bailey. “Reason Foundation Included in Climate-Change Dragnet Subpoena to ExxonMobil,”, May 4, 2016. Archived May 4, 2016. WebCite URL

  31. Julian Morris. “Climate pact likely to do more harm than good,” The Orange County Register, April 22, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  32. Contact Reason Foundation,” Reason Foundation. Archived May 29, 2016. WebCite URL:

Other Resources

File attachments: