Heritage Foundation Registers as EU Lobbyists for Just One Month

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Washington DC-based think tank the Heritage Foundation briefly registered as lobbyists in Brussels, DeSmog UK has learned.

A little noticed entry to the EU Transparency Register on 18 April 2017 showed the climate science denying neoconservative think tank listed as an official EU registrant. However, one month later they were removed from the registry due to “data inconsistencies”.

According to EU rules, anyone who wishes to have a meeting with members of the EU Parliament or Commission must be listed on the EU Transparency Register including providing details about how much money the group spends on lobbying and number of lobbyists.

The Heritage Foundation is known for working to block climate action. It also emerged as one of the most influential forces behind Donald Trump's transition team last autumn, and in the lead up to the EU referendum last summer Heritage hosted several meetings with UK climate science deniers who were campaigning for Brexit.

And as DeSmog UK revealed last November, UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has a close relationship with the think tank. During his first trip to the United States in July 2016, less than two weeks after being appointed, Fox took the opportunity to meet with Heritage.

Since then Heritage has appeared at the 2016 Conservative Party Conference alongside the UK’s Taxpayers’ Alliance, and in December it hosted EU Member of Parliament and climate science denier Daniel Hannan.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s lobby entry, which can still be seen on the website LobbyFacts.eu, the think tank declared its area of interest as “foreign and economic policies”.

The person listed as being in charge of the think tank’s EU relations was James Dean, who is responsible for managing Heritage’s international and diplomatic programs.

It is not clear why the think tank decided to register or whether they held any meetings with EU officials.

According to Transparency International, there have been no high-level meetings between the Foundation and the EU Commission (this includes Commissioners, cabinets and Directors-General) but beyond this there is no public information. It can also take a while before meeting details are made public.

The Heritage Foundation failed to reply to DeSmog UK’s request for comment.

Explaining why the Heritage Foundation was removed after only a month, the EU Joint Transparency Register Secretariat told DeSmog UK:

During one of our quality checks we identified data inconsistencies.  We contacted the registrant on 19/04/2017 and they did not come back to us.  We sent a reminder on 03/05/2017 and we received no answer.”

When asked to clarify what “data inconsistencies” meant, the Secretariat wrote via email: “We made the registrant aware of the data that needed correction, and such exchange of information should remain between the registrant and the Transparency Register.” 

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