Horace Cooper

Horace Cooper

Credentials

  • J.D., George Mason University of Law. [1]
  • B.A. University of Texas at Austin. [1]

Background

Horace Cooper is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. He is also a director of the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), where he co-chairs Project 21's National Advisory Board. According to his staff profile, Cooper is also an adjunct fellow with the NCPPR and “averages over 400 talk radio appearances per year representing Project 21, in addition to regular television appearances and interviews by the print media, also for Project 21.” [2], [3]

NCPPR describes Project 21 as “the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives” and as an initiative “to promote the views of African-Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility has not traditionally been echoed by the nation’s civil rights establishment.” [4]

Cooper is listed as President/Secretary (“P/S”) in public SEC filings for a group called the Energy Equality Coalition (EEC), which has fought “to end taxpayer subsidies and ensure a level playing field for middle-class American energy consumers” by ending subsidies to assist consumers in buying and charging electric vehicles. The EEC has maintained similar messaging to the now-defunct group Fueling US Forward (FUSF), and The New York Times noted that Cooper spoke at the same conference as FUSF President and CEO Charles Drevna. [5], [6][7]

He is also senior fellow of both The Institute for Liberty (IFL) and the Heartland Institute, the latter which has been at the forefront of denying man's influence on climate change. Cooper formerly worked with Richard (Dick) K. Armey, who went on to chair FreedomWorks until leaving the organization in 2012. FreedomWorks was formed as a merger between Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower AmericaCSE was founded by the Koch brothers in 1984 in an effort to promote deregulation. CSE/FreedomWorks received as much as $12,331,712 in Koch funding from 1986 to 2002, according to Greenpeace data. The IFL does not disclose its funders. [8], [9], [10]

According to leaked 2012 budget documents from The Heartland Institute, Cooper appears under a personnel list of individuals who were paid to work for Heartland in 2011, however would be either paid much less or unpaid in 2012. The document describes Cooper as formerly “a legislative specialist working out of our Washington DC office since 2010” until he “was let go mid-year after we concluded he wasn’t the right guy to lead a new and expanded Free to Choose Medicine project.” The budget notes “He will be replaced in 2012 by Vince Galbiati” and that “Horace remains an unpaid senior fellow.” [11]

Cooper's archived profile at GOPUSA notes that he was called a Republican “Top Gun” in a Washington Times profile, “confirmed cigar smoker (profiled in Cigar Aficionado),” and former Chief of Staff and Deputy Director of the Voice of America for a year. [12]

From 2005 to 2007, Cooper was an assistant professor of law at George Mason University School of Law (GMUSL). As documented by Greenpeace, George Mason University is one of the largest recipients of Koch funding of any organization. His biography notes that he also “served in senior capacities in the George W. Bush Administration including stints as chief of staff at the Voice of America and the Dept of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration.” [1], [13]

Indictment in Jack Abramoff Scandal

In 2009, Cooper was indicted on five charges alleging he received gifts from former Washington lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Neil G. Volz while Cooper worked as the chief of staff for Voice of America (VOA) and later as chief of staff for the Employment Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The indictment included “one count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent concealment, two counts of false statements, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, which could result in a maximum sentence of 40 years and a fine of $250,000.” [14]

Cooper was required to report the gifts he received from Abramoff and Volz on his annual financial disclosure form because the value of these gifts exceeded the limits established by federal regulation. According to court documents, DOL ethics officials and his supervisors were deprived of critical information as a result of Cooper’s failure to report these gifts, which was necessary to determine whether Cooper had an actual or potential conflict of interest between his public responsibilities and his private interests and activities,” an archived FBI statement read[15]

View the full indictment below:

Prosecutors contended that Cooper had used his influence to help Abramoff get federal funds from the Department of State and assist a colleague of Abramoff to resolve an investigation at the Labor department. [16]

The five-count felony indictment was dropped to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea by Cooper. In April 2010, Cooper pleaded guilty to the charges of making and using a false certificate or writing. Cooper also admitted that in 2003 he solicited and accepted gifts from Abramoff and Neil G. Volz, and that he had concealed his receipt of these gifts from DOL officials and his supervisors. [17][15]

Stance on Climate Change

2015

In 2015, Horace Cooper appeared on Thom Hartmann's “The Big Picture Rumble” panel where he argued against climate change regulations: [18]

Poor people are disproportionately impacted by climate change regulation policies,” Cooper said. “They're overwhelmingly going to be the front line of those harmed by these policies.” [7:41]

On Abortion

March 11, 2016

Horace Cooper has been a strong opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood. In an episode of “The Big Picture,” he described organizations assisting with abortion as “the butchers who kill the unborn”: [19]

February 2016

Speaking on “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann,” Cooper claimed that organizations like Planned Parenthood “enjoy killing as much as [they] can”: [20]

The lion’s share of Planned Parenthood’s work is killing people. They ought to call it death care, not health care. But if they wanted to operate with impunity, they should do so without taxpayer support. You will find the scrutiny goes away completely once they decide we are an abortion industry and we enjoy killing as much as we can,” Cooper said on the program. [20]

After this, Hartmann put up a chart showing that only 3% of planned parenthood's services got to abortion, and noted that “not one federal dollar goes to abortion.” Cooper responded: [20]

“I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want to do to Planned Parenthood what you want to do to Walmart. […] I want to regulate them, I will raise their cost of doing business, I will make sure that every place they want to locate that the government locally doesn't want to approve it. […] and Walmart is doing a wonderful job and doesn't kill people.” [20]

February 2012

Writing at the National Center for Policy Analysis, Cooper described a rule under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would provide coverage for birth control as an “attempt to suppress basic expressions of religious faith” and “a direct violation of the First Amendment.” [21]

Key Quotes

July 14, 2017

Cooper criticized Al Gore for comparing activism on climate change to the civil rights movement: [22]

“Study after study demonstrate that the radical climate policies advocated by Al Gore, Jr. will hurt blacks and the poor most. Just as segregation and interracial marriage bans were purported to be for the good of all while clearly done to generate political support, today’s climate alarmism is pushed solely to get the support of a small group of so-called eco-warriors at the expense of blacks. Please spare us any more of this,” Cooper said in a NCPPR press release. [22]

Key Deeds

August 19, 2017

Cooper appeared on “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann” to debate military spending, jobs, and climate change: [23]

December 8, 2016

Horace Cooper was a moderator at the “At the Crossroads III Energy and Climate Summit,” an event co-hosted by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The event was billed as “the premier energy-and-climate policy event in America,” and attracted a range of prominent climate change deniers as well as a range of names connected to Donald Trump and his transition team. [24]

Cooper served as moderator of Part 3 of the event. View video below:

Speakers included:

August 2016

According to The New York Times, Cooper delivered a speech on energy policy at the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Ind. The conference, which included Fueling US Forward as a sponsor, was also attended by FUSF President and CEO Charles Drevna[7]

February 2012

According to the appearance schedule on his website, Cooper planned to attend the twelfth Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC. Notable sponsors included Altria, The Heritage Foundation, and Koch Industries, among many others. [25], [26]

July 11 - 14, 2012

According to the appearance schedule on his website, the 2012 “FreedomFest” conference in Las Vegas, Nevada was on his upcoming agenda. The Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, and institute for Justice were all listed as “Gold” level exhibitors for that year's conference. [25], [27]

March 2011

Cooper opposed a ban on menthol cigarettes. He wrote, “This coming war on menthol is a study in contradictions that will affect all Americans regardless of race and whether they smoke.” [28]

April 7, 2010

Horace Cooper pleaded guilty to charges of making and using a false certificate or writing and admitted that in 2003 he solicited and accepted gifts from former Washington lobbyists Jack A. Abramoff and Neil G. Volz. [15]

“Cooper was required to report the gifts he received from Abramoff and Volz on his annual financial disclosure form because the value of these gifts exceeded the limits established by federal regulation. According to court documents, DOL ethics officials and his supervisors were deprived of critical information as a result of Cooper’s failure to report these gifts, which was necessary to determine whether Cooper had an actual or potential conflict of interest between his public responsibilities and his private interests and activities,” an archived FBI statement read[15]

Cooper was indicted on public corruption as noted in a 2009 FBI press release: [14]

“The five-count indictment charges Horace M. Cooper, 44, of Lorton, Va., with one count of conspiracy, one count of fraudulent concealment, two counts of false statements, and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay today issued a criminal summons directing Cooper to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, at 1:45 p.m,” the FBI press release read. [14]

The indictment alleged that while Cooper worked as the chief of staff for Voice of America (VOA) and later as chief of staff for the Employment Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “Cooper conspired with Jack A. Abramoff, a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist, and others, to defraud the United States of his honest services and of its right to have federal executive branch business conducted without improper influence” and also for accepting gifts “to influence or reward Cooper for official acts as a federal executive branch employee.” [14]

Politico reported that the allegations included Cooper receiving more than $5,000 in tickets to sporting events and concerts from Abramoff while working for Dick Armey between 1998 and 2001, and another $9,000 in tickets while he worked at the Voice of America and later at the Labor Department. Prosecutors contended that Cooper had used his influence to help Abramoff get federal funds from the Department of State and assist a colleague of Abramoff to resolve an investigation at the Labor department. View the full indictment here. [16]

The indictment quotes an email from Cooper's personal account, around March 28, 2003, when Cooper emailed lobbyist Neil Volz (emphasis added): [29]

“Okay, I'll take them [2 tickets to a Baltimore Orioles game]. Thanks. But I'd really like to talk with you. How about via telephone. I really would like to make sure that if there are problems that I can “fix” that I get as much notice as possible. Two firms have recently been fined before the front office got a chance to have any input in the decision. If things are going well, then okay. But if not, and there's something that I can do, I'm willing to help. I've got two 30 minute windows today at 2 and 3 pm.” [29]

The indictment also alleged that Cooper regularly messaged Volz and Abramoff from his personal account “in order to conceal his actions from his employers and the public,” and that Cooper “concealed the things of value he received from Abramoff, Volz, other Firm B lobbyists, and their clients by failing to report them to his supervisors or ethics officials.” [29]

The five-count felony indictment was dropped to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea by Horace Cooper. “My family and I are so grateful that this ordeal is over. It will be so good to get this whole thing behind me,” said Cooper. The original sentence he faced would be up to 40 years and a fine of $250,000. The revised sentence would be a maximum of six months in prison and a $500 fine. [30]

February 20 - 22, 2010

According to the event list on his website, Cooper attended the RightOnline Conference of Americans for Prosperity (AFP). While the 2010 conference isn't archived online, the 2011 RightOnline conference described its past iteration as a place where “over 1,100 grassroots activists and bloggers from around the country came together to learn, meet, and exchange ideas on how we can advance conservative policies.” [25], [31]

Rep. Mike Pence was a speaker at the 2010 conference, according to Alternet. [32]

Americans for Prosperity, which has received a total of at least $11,900,078 from Koch-controlled foundations according to data from the Conservative Transparency project, has been criticized for “using the guise of nonprofit status to work, behind a screen of anonymity, on behalf of the Kochs' corporate and political interests.” [33], [34], [35]

Affiliations

Social Media

Cooper doesn't appear to maintain personal social media accounts, although the following accounts can be found for NCCPR and Project21:

Publications

According to his personal bio, Cooper “has appeared on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News as well as in a variety of print publications.” The NCPPR also offers a number of samples of Cooper's publications, including a playlist of his live appearances: [1], [3]

Resources

  1. Biography,” Horace Cooper. Archived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/w5UOi

  2. The National Center For Public Policy Research Current Board Of Directors” (PDF)National Center for Public Policy Research, May 13, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  3. Horace Cooper,” National Center for Public Policy Research. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/WMb1q

  4. ABOUT PROJECT 21,” National Center for Public Policy ResearchArchived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/a4I6M

  5. 2017 Annual Report: Energy Equality Coalition,” Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission. Archived November 15, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/9wphC

  6. Energy Equality Coalition HomepageArchived November 16, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/rkGyj

  7. Hiroko Tabuchi. “Sensing Gains Ahead Under Trump, the Kochs Court Minorities,” The New York Times, January 5, 2017. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/bGwNl

  8. HORACE COOPER,” The Heartland Institute. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/o5W21

  9. Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction (UPDATED),” Mother Jones, December 4, 2012. Archived November 15, 2017.

  10. Citizens for a Sound Economy (disbanded – now FreedomWorks): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived March 14, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/NJnFT

  11. “2012 Proposed Budget” (PDF), The Heartland Institute, January 15, 2012. See Page 6.

  12. Horace Cooper,” GOPUSA. Archived May 23, 2010. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/GZcUY

  13. Koch Pollution on Campus,” Greenpeace. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/pKAz4

  14. Former Government Official Indicted on Public Corruption Charges Related to Ongoing Abramoff Investigation,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Washington Field Office, August 21, 2009. Archived January 13, 2010. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/IXOBP

  15. Former Department of Labor Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty for Failing to Report Gifts from Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff,” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (Archives.fbi.gov), April 7, 2010. Archived November 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/mvECT

  16. Josh Gerstein. “Ex-Armey aide indicted in Abramoff probe,” Politico, August 21, 2009. Archived November 18, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/0kNM4

  17. Paul Bedard. “Justice Gives up Bungled Abramoff-Related Lobbying Case,” U.S. News &World Report, April 7, 2010. Archived November 19, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ssTCH

  18. Horace Cooper on Trans Fat Ban, Pope's Climate Change Encyclical,” YouTube video uploaded by user “National Center for Public Policy Research,” June 25, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  19. Are Abortionists Really 'Butchers'?” YouTube video uploaded by user “National Center for Public Policy Research,” March 12, 2016. 

  20. Exposers of Planned Parenthood Should Be Hailed as Good Journalists,” YouTube video uploaded by user “National Center for Public Policy Research,” February 5, 2016.

  21. The Birth Control Mandate is Unconstitutional,” National Policy Analysis No. 632 (February 2012.) Archived July 18, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/sejmM

  22. (Press Release). “BLACK ACTIVISTS CRITICIZE AL GORE FOR COMPARING CLIMATE ACTIVISM TO CIVIL RIGHTS, ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENTS,” National Center for Public Policy Research, July 14, 2017. Archived November 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/OQm4A

  23. Horace Cooper Debates Military Spending, Jobs and Climate Change,” YouTube video uploaded by user “National Center for Public Policy Research,” August 19, 2017.

  24. At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” Heritage Foundation, December 8, 2016. Archived December 22, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/AKaKq

  25. Appearances,” Horace Cooper. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/z9OvA

  26. 2012 Sponsors,” CPAC 2012. Archived February 19, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/btQHD

  27. Gold,” FreedomFest2012. Archived June 3, 2012. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lFgGp

  28. The Coming War on Menthol Cigarettes,” National Center for Policy Analysis, March 2011. Archived May 25 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/AEyjL

  29. “United States of America v. Horace M. Cooper, Defendant” (PDF), Case 1:09-cr-00209-ESH, August 21, 2009.

  30. Paul Bedard. “Justice Gives up Bungled Abramoff-Related Lobbying Case,” U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 2010. Archived November 19, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ssTCH

  31. About,” RightOnline. Archived May 3, 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/mqX5Q

  32. Adele M. Stan. “Tea Party Inc.: The Big Money and Powerful Elites Behind the Right Wing's Latest Uprising,” Alternet, October 24, 2010. Archived November 17, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gvuy8

  33. Americans for Prosperity,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed June 5, 2017.

  34. Americans for Prosperity Foundation,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed June 5, 2017.

  35. Jane Mayer. “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” January 19, 2016.

  36. Biography,” HoraceCooper.com. Archived July 1, 2007. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Tz5UJ

  37. Horace Cooper, Senior Fellow in Legal Policy,” Institute for Liberty. Archived August 11, 2011. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/6PCrx

Other Resources

* Profile image screenshot of Horace Cooper speaking on the O'Rielly Factor, via NCPPR on YouTube.