Barre Seid

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Barre Seid

Barre Seid is a right-wing industrialist and donor to advocacy groups and thinktanks attacking climate science and promoting Islamaphobia. He is closely allied with the Koch network and funnels dark money through the same groups used by the Kochs, including Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

Seid built a fortune as the Chairman and CEO of Trippe Manufacturing Company (now known as Trippe Lite), which produces electrical equipment such as surge protectors and power strips, and Fiber Bond, which produces HVAC equipment.[1][2] In 1985, he established the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation. It donates primarily to education, cultural organizations and the arts, and other philanthropic associations.[3]

News and Controversies

Attacks on Climate Science

Seid is a major donor to the Heartland Institute, a vocal denier of climate science. According to leaked internal Heartland Institute documents obtained by DeSmogBlog, between 2007 and 2011, Seid contributed over $13,342,267 in donations.[4][5] In September 2013, the Heritage Foundation hosted an event for Heartland Institute CEO Joseph Bast and two of Heartland's contracted climate denial scientists Willie Soon and Bob Carter. During the event, the Heartland Institute representatives would present a report titled "Climate Change Reconsidered" which was funded by Barre Seid. The report denies the seriousness of global warming and directly challenges the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to Greenpeace, the Heartland Institute falsely claims that the report is peer-reviewed.[6]

Shimer College Takeover

In 2010, Seid bankrolled a right-wing "ideological takeover" of the small "Great Books" Shimer College located near Chicago. Through his massive donations, totaling over $800,000 contributed in 2007 and 2008, Seid wielded veto power over the appointment of Shimer College presidents and board members. Seid ensured the appointment of Thomas Lindsay as President who sought to appoint board members with right-wing views and plans to dramatically remake the college curriculum.[7] New board members brought on by Lindsay included included:

The right-wing board members recurited by Lindsay sought to change the Shimer College mission statement, including replacing references of “active citizenship” and “informed, responsible action” for references to “ordered political liberty such as we enjoy in American democracy.” These changes, among others, led to a revolt by Shimer students and teachers. These stakeholders eventually voted out Lindsay and restored a less politicized and ideologcially driven leadership.[4]

Clarion Fund and Anti-Islam Documentary

In the buildup to the 2008 Presidential Election, leaked tax documents obtained by Salon indicated the Seid provided the Clarion Fund (now known as the Clarion Project) with a $17 million donation. The funding was used to bankroll a documentary film project titled "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West." The film was intended to help Republicans portray Democrats as weak on stopping Islamic terrorism.[10] Featured in the film are interviews with Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, and Alan Dershowitz. According to Salon, documentation from Clarion indicates that Seid bankrolled the operation - but not directly, more likely through Donors Capital Fund which is run by Koch Network attendee Whitney Ball. Seid later denied any involvement in supporting the film.[4]

Political Donations

Sied has donated to numerous right-wing political candidates and advocacy groups.

In 2011 alone, Seid donated $2.1 million to American Majority, a group founded by the sons of Rep. Jim Ryun (R-KS) specifically for the purpose of training right-wing politicians to run for office.[11]

According to Open Secrets, Seid contributed to the following recipients between 1989 and 2008:[12]

External Resources

Related PR Watch Articles


  1. Corporation Wiki, Trippe Manufacturing Company, accessed October 8, 2018.
  2. Corporation Wiki, Barre Seid, accessed October 8, 2018.
  3. Inside Philanthropy, Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation, accessed October 8, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 DeSmogBlog, Barre Seid, accessed October 12, 2018.
  5. Brendan DeMelle, Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine, DeSmogBlog, February 14, 2012.
  6. Connor Gibson, WATCH: Climate Denial & Barre Seid: the name The Heartland Institute can’t say, Greenpeace, September 24, 2013.
  7. Conservative Transparency, Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation, accessed October 15, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Deanna Isaacs, The Conservative Menace, Chicago Reader, February 25, 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Deanna Isaacs, Who's Buying Shimer?, Chicago Reader, February 25, 2010.
  10. Justin Elliott, Mystery of who funded right-wing “radical Islam” campaign deepens, Salon, November 16, 2010.
  11. Mary Bottari, Weaponized Philanthropy: Document Trove Details Bradley Foundation's Efforts to Build Right-Wing "Infrastructure" Nationwide, PR Watch, May 7, 2017.
  12. Open Secrets, Barre Seid Donor Search Results, accessed October 17, 2018.