Government for Rent – How Special Interests Finance Governors to Pursue Their Climate Policy Agenda

Watts Up With That? cited CEI Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner on “Law Enforcement for Rent.”

This paper is based on documents obtained by CEI and other public policy groups over the course of more than a year, beginning in June 2017, from open records requests. Due to the volume of records, not all cited records are included in the body of this paper. Key documents are provided in the paper’s appendix, which can be accessed at The complete collection of documents cited in this paper is available at, a project of the nonprofit public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight.


Implementation of the Paris agenda requires domestic policies, and implementing those policies is the principal objective of the campaign detailed in this paper. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) recently revealed a similar model in the report, “Law Enforcement for Rent,” that is used to provide off-books staff members for state attorneys general to investigate opponents of the climate agenda.6 This approach raises serious questions about transparency of and restrictions on gifts to elected officials under various state laws:7 Is this provision of outside consultants on a donor’s tab a gift? Does it violate gift limits? Are the gifts properly reported? Is this private provision of government services unlawful in that jurisdiction? It would be at the federal level under the Antideficiency Act, which was enacted to prevent a variety of abuses, including bestowing private benefits and having officials avoid incurring obligation to private parties.8


Candidate organizations vying for the up to 24 percent premium for staff hires (and 15 percent for other overhead) include private universities that are not subject to state open records laws, as well as more traditional advocacy groups. Draft contracts obtained by CEI explicitly state that the politicians will make hiring decisions that will be formally executed by the nonprofit— which will then hire and house the “support functions” that are to be at the politicians’ disposal and direction. This arrangement was made possible by the “plethora of advocate and funder interest.”59 (See Figure 8.)

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