American Tradition Institute and Senior Fellow John Droz: Honesty Problem?

Three weeks ago, Checks & Balances Project (C&BP) revealed American Tradition Institute (ATI) Senior Fellow John Droz’s effort to coordinate supposedly independent, local NIMBY (“Not in My Back Yard”), anti-wind energy groups in a national disinformation campaign.

C&BP uncovered these documents, which include a national propaganda plan to hurt the wind industry and materials for a secret meeting between the NIMBY groups and national fossil fuel-funded groups like American Tradition Institute.

Since this story broke, ATI representatives have provided seemingly contradictory statements, leading to the question – does ATI have an honesty problem?
The following table outline ATI’s comments and other available information that questions ATI’s account of the story:

ATI Story Other Sources
“Droz had acted alone on the memo[1]

While Mr. Droz acted alone, he seems to be an integral ATI representative:John Droz is listed on ATI’s website as a Senior Fellow as of May 25, 2012.

John Droz raises money for ATI: “Please make a donation on ATI’s website — and it’s tax deductible.”[2]

John Droz, listed as a senior sellow for ATI, has been a featured speaker along with ATI’s Executive Director at several anti-wind gatherings in the past.[3]

ATI claims that ATI members “did not attend, sponsor or support the meeting at which the memorandum was discussed.” Four ATI fellows and staff were listed on the participants’ list edited a few days before the meeting.George Taylor, another senior fellow at ATI attended the meeting and listed his ATI relationship (twice) as an organizational asset to this coordinated anti-wind campaign.
ATI fellow John Droz claimed that “National PR Campaign Proposal” “was not even discussed.”[4] Three participants noted that the document was discussed and Mr. Droz himself confirmed to The Guardian that the memo was discussed at the meeting.Marita Noon was quoted in E&E News saying “We did definitely talk about it,” and “the document was distributed prior to the event and discussed.”[5]

Mr. Droz seems to have misled the press regarding the national meeting and his deceptive campaign plan.  This brings into question just how honest ATI and Mr. Droz have been on a much larger issue – the involvement of American Tradition Institute and other national fossil fuel-funded advocacy groups in the meeting and national effort to attack renewable energy.  We will continue to follow up regarding the discrepancies between ATI’s story and other sources, and press Mr. Droz on his questionable statements to the media.


[1] The Guardian, Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama’s clean energy strategy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/08/conservative-thinktanks-obama-energy-plans?cat=environment&type=article

[3] Crystal Coast Tea Party Workshop: The Truth About Wind Power on the Coasts of North Carolina. http://www.crystalcoastteaparty.com/workshop-the-truth-about-wind-power-on-the-coasts-of-north-carolina/

[4] E&E News, Politics: Leaked memo on anti-wind campaign disputed. http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2012/05/09/2

[5] ibid

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