Saturday, April 29, 2017

Heritage Foundation Collapsing After DeMint Ousted

After the shocking news that Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint is being forced out of the influential think tank, things are starting to get ugly.

Now, Philip Wegmann of the Washington Examiner is reporting a major shakeup at Heritage.  Here is more:
Jim DeMint just got capped and the right wing is still reeling. Since news broke that the Heritage president was getting sacked, many DeMint loyalists have started cleaning out their desks, the entire staff remains officially in the dark, and one board member has already resigned in protest.

The board member who has resigned is Todd Herrick, and more may soon leave the 22-member board.

Here is more information about the Jim DeMint purge.

John Hart has a new piece for Forbes on the "political assassination" of DeMint.

Think Tank Watch prediction: DeMint will start his own competing think tank with staffers who leave with him and get initial funding from board members who resign in solidarity.

Stay tuned to Think Tank Watch for the latest updates on the Heritage Foundation chaos.  We will be posting several times each day on the latest developments.

Coup at Heritage Foundation Brings Down Leader

A coup engineered by powerful voices on the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees has led to a decision to fire Jim DeMint as the think tank's president, just 100 days into the new Trump Administration that Heritage has helped advise and staff.  Here is more from The New York Times:

The anticipated shake-up, which was confirmed by two people with knowledge of the fraught internal dynamics, comes at an inopportune time for the group, with several major pieces of conservative legislation on the agenda in Congress. The budget, a tax overhaul and health care are all issues that Heritage has tried to influence, with varying degrees of success.
Mr. DeMint’s abrupt ouster, described by people as a “coup” against him, was the result of a larger debate among conservative donors who fund the group. One of its board members is Rebekah Mercer, a reclusive donor who has helped propel the White House chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, in his effort to dismantle aspects of the political establishment.
Ms. Mercer was described by people with knowledge of the events as helping drive the effort toward a shake-up. Another person close to the discussions, who asked not to be identified, said that Mr. DeMint was not seen as sufficiently pro-Trump by some members of the board.
A likely candidate to take over, said one person with knowledge of the situation, is Edwin J. Feulner, a former president of Heritage who has worked closely with the Trump administration.
Under President Barack Obama’s administration, Heritage shifted to become more engaged in direct political combat. After decades of producing mountains of high-fiber white papers, the think tank became more defined by a political arm that sought to hold Republican lawmakers accountable rather than just supplying them with the raw materials for legislation.
But to some Heritage board members, this shift toward activism represented a disturbing drift from the organization’s core mission as a research institution, according to two senior aides to Republican lawmakers close to Heritage and a longtime conservative public relations strategist. To these board members, the research suffered.

Politico offers some additional details, saying that some board members of the think tank think that DeMint brought in too many Senate allies and made the think tank "too bombastic and political."

Politico also notes that DeMint had been in contract negotiations, which are expected to be cut short.  DeMint, whose contract expires at the end of 2017, makes around $1.1 million per year as head of the think tank.

Politico also notes that "a handful" of staffers close to DeMint, who came over from the Senate with him, are expected to leave the think tank in what some say is a "purge."

This news has been a surprise to many, including to those within the think tank who had no idea any of this was happening under the surface.

According to the Washington Examiner, the Heritage board will meet again on Tuesday to decide the final outcome of DeMint.  Here is more:
When the board asked DeMint to step down last weekend, the fiery conservative refused and has tried lobbying board members to keep his job. If he doesn't go quietly into the dark, the board can vote him out as soon as Tuesday when they convene in Washington, D.C.

Another Washington Examiner piece says that when some junior staffers heard on the news after reading Politico, they "broke down in tears."  They also report that DeMint lost his job "in large part for crossing" Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham.  Here is more on that:
While Needham helped bring DeMint to Heritage in 2013, their relationship began to fray during the presidential election. It reached a breaking point, two separate sources confirmed, after DeMint suggested making major changes to Heritage Action or abolishing it altogether.

WND says that Heritage "is going establishment again," and notes that the think tank's board "leans heavily toward big money establishment conservatism."

Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, says that DeMint transformed Heritage from "a white paper factory to an influential powerhouse."

Daniel Shuman notes that in his four years as Heritage president, DeMint earned 22.8 times the amount that a US senator did (not counting severance and benefits).

Friday, April 28, 2017

New America Scholar Named "2017 Tech Titan" by Washingtonian

The May edition of the Washingtonian has its 2017 list of "Tech Titans" - top technology talent in the Washington, DC area - and think tanker Kevin Bankston has made the list.

Mr. Bankston, a digital-rights lawyer, is the Director of the Open Technology Institute (OTI) at New America, a Washington think tank.  The Washingtonian notes that Mr. Bankston is studying policy ramifications in areas such as encryption, online surveillance, and net neutrality.

Here is Mr. Bankston's think tank biography, and here is a link to OTI.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

AEI Scholar Tried to Hide Trump Attacks to Snag White House Job

Here is more from The Washington Post:

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Andrew Bowen, like many scholars in Washington, predicted Hillary Clinton would surely win.
Bowen, then a global fellow in the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, wrote a weekly column in Arab News, an English-language outlet based in Saudi Arabia. In his columns before the election, Bowen frequently criticized Donald Trump, denouncing his temper and xenophobic remarks and calling him “a man not often suited to the responsibilities of the presidency.”
Like many others, Bowen was shocked on Nov. 8. But within days, his tone changed, calling for a “new beginning” under President Trump.
Now, months later, Arab News says that Bowen requested that it delete his earlier, pre-election columns, stating he needed “to be cleared” for a possible job with the Trump administration’s State Department.
Arab News initially refused to take down the articles, and fired back — publicly. In an unapologetic post on its website, Arab News announced Tuesday it would be discontinuing Bowen’s column, explaining Bowen’s request and blasting it as “unprofessional journalistically, particularly given that there were no factual errors or libelous comments that require a redaction or correction.”

Here is what Foreign Policy has to say about  this incident.  As Think Tank Watch previously noted, any attacks on Trump by think tankers have made it nearly impossible for them to get jobs in the Trump Administration.

Bowen was reportedly recommended for the State Department post by Brian Hook, co-founder of the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign policy advisors.

Andrew Bowen is now a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), focusing on the Middle East.  His biography says that he concurrently advises Greenmantle (an economic/geopolitical advisory firm) and writes a weekly column for Al Arabiya English.

He was previously a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center and Senior Fellow and Director of Middle East for the Center for the National Interest.

Think Tank Quickies (#267)

  • Will Jared Kushner get eaten by the think tank "Blob."
  • Foundations, which pay out at least 5% of their total assets each year to maintain their tax-exempt status, to drop think tank funding over "mission-related investments" (MRIs)?
  • Libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) urges Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
  • University of Maryland professor prohibiting students from citing Heritage and Cato?
  • Todd Park, former US Chief Technology Officer, joins Board of Directors at New America.
  • A metaphor for beautifully-researched think tank policy papers in the Trump era.
  • The billion-dollar game designer who joined a DC think tank.
  • New report: Innovation in think tanks.
  • Third Way and Cato Institute scholars talk marijuana.
  • Andrew Selee of Wilson Center selected as President of Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
  • Tony Abbott appointed as director of new think tank to promote western civilization.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

German Think Tanks Hit By Cyber Attacks Ahead of Elections

Think tanks both in the US and elsewhere continue to be big targets for cyber attackers trying to steal information or influence election outcomes.

Here is more from Reuters:
Two foundations tied to Germany’s ruling coalition parties were attacked by the same cyber spy group that targeted the campaign of French presidential favorite Emmanuel Macron, a leading cyber security expert said on Tuesday.
The group, dubbed "Pawn Storm" by security firm Trend Micro, used email phishing tricks and attempted to install malware at think tanks tied to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Feike Hacquebord said.
Hacquebord and other experts said the attacks, which took place in March and April, suggest Pawn Storm is seeking to influence the national elections in the two European Union powerhouses.
Pawn Storm set up a fake computer server located based in Germany at to mount email phishing attacks against the CDU party's Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and a server located in the Ukraine at to target the SPD's Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

As Think Tank Watch has widely documented, cyber attacks on think tanks are becoming more prevalent, and nearly every major think tank has faced multiple attacks.

Protestors Try to Shut Down Heritage Foundation

The typically calm world of think tanks received a bit of excitement yesterday after a mob of protestors stormed the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank with close ties to President Donald Trump.

Here is more from the Washington Examiner:
Around 200 protestors flooded into Heritage's Capitol Hill headquarters an hour before noon Tuesday, screaming that they were going to shut down the think tank. While opposition to Trump's budget was the headline of the demonstration, they didn't let that stifle their creativity. "Our solution to pollution is the people's revolution," they chanted before switching over to the more succinct, but no less vague, cadence of "water not walls."
Regardless of the mixed messaging, the bottom line was simple. They swarmed into Heritage because they didn't like the ideas the think tank produced. And instead of trying to help reach consensus with traditional protest, they tried intimidating the opposition.
The flash anarchy strategy appears to be organized by an organization called the People's Action Institute. And while that group certainly has great passion they demonstrated very little endurance. They were in and out in less than 20 minutes.
That was just long enough for the whole stunt to ironically backfire. Heritage ran a full court press on the protest. They posted a live stream of the protest, used the event to plug a policy paper, and their staffers offered a dozen snarky takes on Twitter. The Daily Signal (where I used to work) will no doubt flood the zone with coverage.

Here is what Brietbart had to say on the incident, including pictures from inside and outside the think tank.  Here are a few videos of the event from The Federalist.

Here are some statements from the Heritage Foundation about the incident.

Protests inside of think tanks are extremely rare, and the only recent parallel that Think Tank Watch remembers is from last year when violence erupted on "Think Tank Row" as Turkey's President was speaking at the Brookings Institution.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Putin's Think Tank Planned US Election Attack?

Here is what Reuters is reporting:

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

Russia, however, is denying the Reuters report that RISS drew up a plan to sway the US election.

The New York Times is reporting that RISS is known in Russia as a "semiretirement refuge" for former intelligence officers.

Leonid Bershidsky says that many are "seriously overestimating" the power of the think tank.  He notes that until 2009 it was part of the SVR, Russia's intelligence service.

According to the University of Pennsylvania, Russia has 122 think tanks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Think Tank Quickies (#266)

  • Former AEI President Christopher DeMuth (now a Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute) in defense of think tanks. 
  • CIA Director Mike Pompeo speaks at CSIS.
  • In 2016 Steve Bannon made $500,000+ from companies and think tanks linked to Republican donor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. 
  • Waterloo (Canada) think tanks pay the most for top scholars.
  • Hillary's billionaire friend (Haim Saban) a lover of think tanks.
  • Smith Richardson Foundation's annual Strategy and Policy Fellows grant helps support the think tank community by supporting a rising generation of policy thinkers. 
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos does Brookings. 
  • Think tanker (Alison Percich of WINEP) goes on Washington Post's Date Lab and scores.
  • Scholarly sting operation shines spotlight on "predatory" scientific journals; is bad science plaguing think tank research?
  • Third Way adding a dozen Democratic lawmakers as honorary co-chairs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Think Tanks vs. CIA

Do think tanks do better work than the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)?

Here is more from the Weekly Standard:
All the big issues surrounding the CIA—about the basic competencies of how it does its work operationally and analytically—are difficult for outsiders to assess, of course, even the more intrepid in the congressional intelligence committees and the executive branch. One operational success—the right "walk-in" or volunteer in just the right place—can paper over the doubts, which, in any case, tend to evanesce quickly behind the protective barrier of classified information. Were the CIA's routine Cold War operations, for the most part, so much busy work? Has the vast majority of Langley's classified analytical products been less insightful than the unclassified work of Washington's better think tanks? It didn't really matter if the agency could provide, now and then, eye-popping information against our number-one threat.

Think Tank Watch should note that think tanks, both in the US and overseas, are full of former people from the intelligence community.

Brookings even started its own mini-CIA a few years ago, and new CIA Director Mike Pompeo just spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Another big question: Do consultancies do better work than think tanks?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Consultancies Running Laps Around Think Tanks

Competition can crush their slower-moving brethren, and that is the existential problem that think tanks are now facing as hard-hitting consultancies and banks flood the ideas market.

Here is more from Dan Drezner in the Washington Post:
Anybody who works in Washington knows that think tanks play an important role in advising the government on policy. For most bureaucrats, anything past two weeks is long term. Because experts at think tanks have fewer real-time deadlines, they specialize in the strategic thinking that many Cabinet agencies cannot do. Over the years, think tanks have had a hand in conceiving the Reagan administration’s first-term governing strategy, the expansion of NATO and the post-2006 surge in Iraq.
One organization in particular has dramatically increased its influence over the past decade. Foreign policy professionals respect its work more than that of the Heritage Foundation or the Center for American Progress. Its reach is so great that it has advised numerous foreign governments on their environmental policies. British officials relied on it when considering reforms of the National Health Service. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic reform program had its origins in one of the group’s reports. Its alumni are littered throughout the federal government.
The policy shop in question is McKinsey, a global — and highly profitable — consulting firm.
In the foreign policy community, think tanks are widely viewed as the traditional brokers in the marketplace of ideas. But this is changing. Whether based in investment banks like Goldman Sachs, management consultancies like McKinsey or political risk firms like the Eurasia Group, private-sector institutions have started to act like policy knowledge brokers. Consultants have been key advisers to the government for decades, but recent trends have caused their star to rise at the same time that traditional think tanks face new challenges. The University of Pennsylvania’s annual think tank report has stressed “the fierce competition think tanks are facing from consulting firms” in recent years. As the Trump White House searches for actionable foreign policy ideas, and as Jared Kushner looks to the private sector to inform his White House Office of American Innovation, do not be surprised if they turn to McKinsey more than Brookings or the Council on Foreign Relations.

Drezner correctly notes that think tanks have taken a huge hit over the years because of various conflicts of interest and pay-to-play schemes.  It is now rare to find an unbiased, credible think tank.

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece about the "death" of think tanks.

Here is a "cheat sheet" of the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank rankings list, which includes a category for the "best for-profit think tanks" such as Mckinsey (more about them here) and Boston Consulting Group.

Feds Turning to Heritage Report to See if Job Will Survive Cuts

Just as Greeks used to go to the Oracle of Delphi to have their questions answered, federal employees are turning to a modern-day Pythia in a think tank report to have their most pressing question answered: "Will I have a job tomorrow?"

Due to promised cuts in the federal government by the Trump Administration, many people who work in the executive branch are nervously wondering whether or not they will have a job when they wake up.  To divine insights, they are reading a wonky report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close ties to the Trump Administration, that may provide some answers.

Here is more from The Washington Post:
Some people are tweaking their résumés or thinking about retirement. But most are waiting to see whether the news from the White House really is as bad as they fear and if so, whether Congress will come to the rescue. For now, they are reading the tea leaves on cable television. And they are poring over the recommendations of the conservative Heritage Foundation, which the administration is leaning on for guidance.
Heritage’s list contains several agencies targeted not just for downsizing but elimination, including one that provides financial assistance to rural businesses, the International Trade Administration, and the Legal Services Corporation.
To the president and his supporters who see a bloated bureaucracy with lots of duplication and rules that choke jobs, the budget cuts are a necessary first step to make government run more efficiently.

The above-mentioned Heritage report that everyone is poring over, "Blueprint for Reform: A Comprehensive Policy Agenda for a New Administration in 2017," can be found here.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on that report, which may be 2017's most influential think tank document, along with this one, also from Heritage.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Think Tank Quickies (#265)

  • Trump Administration alienating Asia-related think tanks and Asia experts at those think tanks, says David Steinberg.
  • RIP David Rockefeller (1915-2017), who served on the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as chairman of the board at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a think tank where he was the longest-serving member (joined in 1941).
  • Fat cats using think tanks to buy credibility?
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has dozens of friends in the think tank world, says Politico. 
  • Half a dozen Trump transition officials and administration advisers attended Heartland Institute's climate change conference. 
  • Brian Katulis, a Senior Fellow at CAP, met with the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia in February.
  • New RAND Corp. study on "zero-day" exploits says two dozen companies selling or renting exploits to the US and its allies.
  • Kesher Israel in DC is "filled" with political operatives and think tank employees who value thought-provoking sermons and classes.
  • Ben Nimmo studies RT for the Atlantic Council. 
  • Oath Keepers suggests Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) exploiting refugee crisis for its own gain.

White House Internal Think Tank a Fake Think Tank?

The Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG), an internal White House think tank started by Steve Bannon, never actually existed, according to the White House.

Here is more from Jonathan Easley of The Hill:
The White House is downplaying the importance of an internal policy shop that was once believed to be the brainchild and power center of chief strategist Stephen Bannon, saying the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) never even existed.
That appears to contradict media reports and the claims of at least one White House staffer who previously said that he was a member of the SIG. 
The group — described in scores of media reports as an internal think tank launched by Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Jared Kushner — would be irrelevant now even if it had formed, a White House aide said.
Any need there may have been for the internal policy shop, which critics have described as an attempt by Bannon to promote his own agenda, is moot now that President Trump has tapped Kushner to run the Office of American Innovation (OAI), which is charged with government modernization, according to multiple White House officials.

"I've never known [SIG] to exist,” said a White House aide. “There was a lot of speculation about this early, but it was never officially rolled out and if anything, the OAI is an evolution and realization of some of these initial ideas.”

A second White House official said the SIG was “always informal” and has since “morphed to the new group,” the OAI.

A third White House official echoed that sentiment but said it’s possible that Bannon could still use the SIG for his own projects.

Here is Think Tank Watch's previous piece on the Strategic Initiatives Group.  And here is our recent piece on the Office of American Innovation.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

NSC Being Staffed by Traditional Think Tankers

Fear not you think tankers who have dreamed of working in the Trump Administration.  Some White House offices and agencies are relying heavily on think tank scholars as they quickly work to beef up their skeleton staff.

Here is more from Josh Rogin of The Washington Post:
National security adviser H.R. McMaster is continuing to fill out his national security staff with conservative foreign policy experts from the establishment think-tank world, preferring them to the military intelligence types favored by his predecessor, retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn.
Two White House officials confirmed that McMaster has offered the post of senior director for South and Central Asia to Lisa Curtis, a well-known conservative expert and senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Curtis has accepted the offer and is going through the entry process now. Curtis has been a leading voice on the GOP side of the South Asia expert community for decades, having worked at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as an adviser to the State Department during the George W. Bush administration and as an analyst with the CIA.
Officials also confirmed that Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar and traditional GOP Russia hawk, will be senior director for Russia and Europe, a newly combined directorate that brings both regions under one chain of command. 

Here is more about Fiona Hill being tapped for the Trump Administration.

According to an internal list compiled by Think Tank Watch, there have been more than 50 think tank experts who have either worked on the Trump transition team or gone into the Trump Administration.

Trump Looking to Buy Hotel Across From CSIS

President Donald Trump may not actually be looking to buy up "Think Tank Row," but he is looking to buy a hotel across from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top defense and foreign relations think tank located in the heart of Washington, DC.

Here is more from The Washington Post:
President Trump’s company is actively seeking to open a second Washington hotel as part of a planned nationwide expansion, potentially creating another venue where he stands to benefit financially from customers doing business in the nation’s capital.
Representatives of the Trump Organization, now run by the president’s adult sons, have inquired in recent months about converting one of several boutique, medium-sized hotels in upscale neighborhoods in and near downtown and reopening it under the company’s new Scion brand.
Eric Danziger, chief executive of the Trump Organization’s hotel division, more recently toured the 199-room Beacon Hotel, at 1615 Rhode Island Ave. NW, with an interest in converting the property to a Scion, according to a real estate executive who was not authorized to discuss the Trump Organization’s interest and spoke on the condition of anonymity. No agreement was reached.

The Beacon Hotel is directly across from CSIS, whose address is 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW.  There is no word yet as to what the think tank would think of a new Trump neighbor.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Amid Tarnished Image Rubenstein Gives Brookings $20 Million Boost

Billionaire David Rubenstein has just injected $20 million into the Brookings Institution.  Here is more from a press release:
Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott announced today the establishment of the David M. Rubenstein Fellowships. As part of the Institution’s strategic plan for its second century, which includes a key goal of advancing diversity in its scholarly community, Brookings will appoint outstanding early-and mid-career scholars and experts from the United States and abroad. The work of the Rubenstein Fellows will significantly augment and diversify the independent policy research and analysis of Brookings’s more than 100 resident scholars. The first class of Rubenstein Fellows will take up their positions at Brookings by September 2017.
This new program is made possible by a generous multi-million dollar gift from David M. Rubenstein, co-chair of the Brookings Board of Trustees, and co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the Carlyle Group.
Following a rigorous and competitive application process, the Rubenstein Fellows will be appointed for two-year terms in one or more of Brookings’s five research programs.

Although the press release does not mention the exact amount of the donation, other entities have reported that Rubenstein gave $15 million for the new fellowship program and $5 million to the think tank's foreign policy department.

Inside Philanthropy writes about the new donation, saying that it is "hard to see think tanks overseen by corporate leaders and heavily funded by business as truly impartial."  It also notes that it is one of the biggest gifts made to a think tank in recent years.

Anyone interesting in applying for the fellowship can do so here (salary is commensurate with experience).

In 2014, billionaire Daniel D'Aniello (also from the Carlyle Group) gave the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) $20 million.

In 2013, the Heritage Foundation received a $26 million gift from the family of the late  Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

President Trump Negotiating Deal to Join Brookings After Presidency

Think Tank Watch has learned that President Donald Trump is in negotiations with top officials at the liberal Brookings Institution to pave the way for an eventual position at the think tank.

A senior Brookings official, who requested anonymity due to fear of upsetting Mr. Trump, tells Think Tank Watch that Trump would like to establish the first billion-dollar chair at a think tank.  His desire, according to the official, is to establish a new entity within Brookings called the "Center for the Art of Trump Negotiating Tactics."

Mr. Trump apparently is also trying to get Brookings to change its name to "Trump Institution," saying that Brookings has lost a lot of its prestige and goodwill after a series of scandals the past few years (see here).

The eventual goal, according to a top White House official, is for Trump to buy the adjacent American Enterprise Institute (AEI) building and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) building and turn in into one large think tank-themed hotel.

A Brookings spokesman would not comment on the specifics of negotiations, but said that he would welcome Mr. Trump joining Brookings as it "would seriously bolster its image" which has "been in steady decline in recent years."

Friday, March 31, 2017

Think Tank Quickies (#264)

  • National Policy Institute "think tank" loses tax exemption.
  • Walter Isaacson stepping down as president and CEO of Aspen Institute; will join history department of Tulane as a professor starting next January. 
  • China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI), housed within RAND, transitioning to independent USAF-sponsored entity in FY2017. 
  • Google's Eric Schmidt attended Cato Trade's inaugural Global Exchange Dinner Series.
  • Carter Center does Syria conflict mapping using Palantir technology.
  • Fact of the week: Robert Kagan of Brookings co-founded Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) with Bill Kristol and Dan Senor. 
  • When Heritage Foundation "mischief making" President Jim DeMint met with Sen. Mitch McConnell.
  • The Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) project at the College of William & Mary survey on top Canadian think tanks.
  • Edward Luce: Think tanks lacking original thinking.
  • Jay P. Greene on the death of the think tank.
  • How do Xi's reforms for think tanks specifically affect military think tanks?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wilson Center to Hold Event on Think Tanks

The Wilson Center, which is facing deep cuts in the Trump Administration budget, will be holding an event next month to tout the role that think tanks play in shaping public policy.

The speakers for the April 5 event include:
  • Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation
  • Bridget Lowell, Chief Communications Officer at the Urban Institute
  • James McGann, Director of the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Spencer Overton, President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Richard Weitz, Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece on how the Wilson Center could face huge staff cuts if the Trump budget passes.


  • Lee Edwards

    Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation
  • Bridget Lowell

    Chief Communications Officer, Urban Institute
  • James McGann

    Director, Think Tank and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania and Author of The Fifth Estate
  • Spencer Overton

    President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (United States)
  • Richard Weitz

    Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute
- See more at:


  • Lee Edwards

    Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation
  • Bridget Lowell

    Chief Communications Officer, Urban Institute
  • James McGann

    Director, Think Tank and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania and Author of The Fifth Estate
  • Spencer Overton

    President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (United States)
  • Richard Weitz

    Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute
- See more at:

Think Tank Expert Forced to Withdraw From Pentagon Think Tank

Here is what the Washington Post is reporting about Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS):

Patrick Cronin, a widely respected Asia analyst who had been selected to run a Pentagon-funded think tank, turned down the position under pressure because he had signed a letter last year opposing President Trump’s candidacy, according to U.S. officials and others familiar with the matter.
Cronin was chosen to oversee the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hono­lulu on Jan. 17, three days before Trump assumed the presidency. His forced withdrawal is unusual because the position is not a political appointment.
Cronin was selected to run the Asia-Pacific Center by a three-member panel that consisted of representatives from the U.S. military and the Pentagon’s civilian leadership.
Cronin, a Republican who has worked closely with national security adviser H.R. McMaster, was preparing for the move to Hawaii when an article in the Washington Times described him as a “liberal” and noted that he was among 122 Republican national security officials who had signed a letter opposing then-candidate Trump. 

This is the latest example of think tankers who signed "Never Trump" letters that are now being snubbed by the Trump Administration.

For those interested in working at the Hawaiian think tank, here is the website of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS). 

Here is more on the history of the think tank, which is located in Honolulu and is just steps away from the beach and ocean.

Fun fact: Hawaii has 12 think tanks (more think tanks than 19 other US states).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Did Trump Administration Cut and Paste Budget From Heritage Doc?

Think Tank Watch has several posts about the Heritage Foundation's deep influence on the Trump Administration and the Trump budget, and the Washington Post now has some new reporting:

Up against the clock and with many senior staff positions still vacant, President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget turned to one of the nation’s most conservative think tanks — the Heritage Foundation — for inspiration.
The result: The Trump budget proposal released last week bears a striking resemblance to the Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017,” complete with a list of deep spending cuts designed to scale back the size and scope of the federal government.
The Trump administration’s budget document and the Heritage blueprint single out very similar lists of dozens of programs for elimination, including those on international climate, legal aid for the poor, energy research, aid to Appalachia, and insurance for U.S. exporters. And they cite the same reasons, noting for example that rural air service subsidies were meant to be temporary 40 years ago and now keep largely empty planes in the air.
Both documents lean on the same philosophical arguments for a greater role for states and private business, and for a federal government that seeks to get its money’s worth from spending — arguments that have appealed to ultra-conservative multimillion-dollar donors such as the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Richard and Helen De Vos Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation and, more recently, the Mercer Family Foundation. Rebekah A. Mercer, who is close to Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, is a Heritage trustee.
“I don’t think there’s any question. Heritage was the Number 1 source,” Stephen Moore, a senior economic policy expert at Heritage who advised the Trump campaign. “That was partly because there wasn’t a lot of time. They decided ‘we will get rid of this, and get rid of that.’”
“When we were on the campaign, for Trump’s speeches we would pull stuff from Heritage budget documents and make the arguments that Heritage was making,” Moore said. “I think it’s very accurate to say that a lot of these ideas … even some of the arguments they make, some of the rhetoric is almost verbatim from Heritage.”

The article notes that Romina Boccia is the lead author of this year's budget blueprint put out by Heritage.  That blueprint, officially released today (March 28) can be found here.

It also notes that the Cato Institute and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have played a much smaller role in influencing the Trump Administration, and points out that Heritage has an annual budget of more than $80 million, which is equal to the budgets of Cato and AEI combined.

The article suggests that AEI had much more influence during the George W. Bush era, having sent 20 people into that administration.

Chinese Gov't Seeking Advice From Think Tanks on Trump

Here is what Reuters is reporting:
China's government has been seeking advice from its think-tanks and policy advisers on how to counter potential trade penalties from U.S. President Donald Trump, getting ready for the worst, even as they hope for business-like negotiations.
The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.

The article does not specifically mention which think tanks China is consulting, but there are 435 think tanks within the country to choose from.

In related Chinese think tank news, the New York Times is reporting that in a rare move, a Chinese think tank is criticizing  China's tepid pace of reform.  Here is more on the origin of that report:
The new report, a 217-page study titled “The Reform Obstruction Phenomenon,” was written by researchers from the Economic System and Management Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, which steers policy on industry, energy and many other sectors. The head of the commission, He Lifeng, and his deputy, Liu He, both have ties to Mr. Xi. But nothing in the report suggests that it had their blessing. The authors declined to be interviewed.

And in one more piece of China/think tank news, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), housed within the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is now saying that China is able to deploy warplanes on its artificial islands at any time.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Kushner Starts Competing White House Think Tank

In January the Steve Bannon wing of the Trump White House started an internal think tank called the Strategic Initiatives Group (SAG).  Not to be outdone, the Jared Kushner wing of the White House is starting its own internal think tank-like entity called the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI).  Here is more from The Washington Post:
President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.
The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.
Kushner is positioning the new office as “an offensive team” — an aggressive, nonideological ideas factory capable of attracting top talent from both inside and outside of government, and serving as a conduit with the business, philanthropic and academic communities.

While some traditional think tankers may ultimately be involved in the discussions that the new think tank has, Kushner is touting the fact that most of the people involved in the new entity have little-to-no political experience.

The creation of the Strategic Initiatives Group and the Office of American Innovation shows that the White House is not willing to rely much on think tanks for policy ideas, even though some, such as the Heritage Foundation, have played a key role up to this point.

Think Tank Quickies (#263)

  • Fake think tank scholar appearing on news shows?
  • 2017 ranking of free-market think tanks by social media impact, via Alejandro Chafuen.
  • Bill Clinton does Brookings (Clinton was roomates with Brookings head Strobe Talbott when they were both Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University).
  • Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) holds 10th anniversary party at Newseum with former VP Joe Biden, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, Michael Steele and many others.
  • Think tank scholars' new focus: Don't offend? 
  • Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will join the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) as a Diplomat in Residence and Senior Fellow. 
  • Mighty Earth using satellite imaging and supply-chain mapping info. from the Stockholm Environment Institute (environmental think tank) to identify deforestation in Brazil.
  • Norm Eisen, a Brookings scholar and Obama Administration ethics czar, has signed a contributor deal with CNN.
  • AEI holds annual Sea Island retreat; Politico notes that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) probably took a Cessna to and from the event. 
  • Paul Knappenburger and Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute invent a new climate-related term: "lukewarming."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Donald Trump Blames Heritage Foundation for Healthcare Defeat

It appears that President Donald Trump is not too happy with the Heritage Foundation - the think tank that provided him with myriad policy advice and helped him transition into the White House.

Here is Trump's tweet:

Here is Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint's statement on the defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  Here is the think tank's own repeal and replace plan.

As Think Tank Watch recently pointed out, Heritage Action, the lobbing arm of the Heritage Foundation, had been working to defeat the Republican healthcare bill.

Now that the Republican healthcare plan has failed, Heritage Foundation is working to influence the next big challenge in Congress: tax reform.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Heritage Foundation Working to Tweak Tax Bill

The influential conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, which has close ties to congressional Republicans and the Trump White House, is working intensely to make tweaks to the tax reform bill.  Here is more from Politico:

Ryan, Brady, and a couple of White House officials broke bread with Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and other key Heritage players on Wednesday to discuss tax reform, Pro’s Transition 2017 team reports. (Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania were there, too.) The dinner shows that Heritage wants to make sure it can still be a key player on tax reform, and that it wants to help push Republicans away from the House GOP’s border adjustment framework. But: “Former Republican leadership aides and lobbyists don't think Heritage will ultimately have much influence or juice over tax reform, since the group is widely viewed on the Hill as disruptors who tend to complicate legislation rather than create a clear pathway for it, particularly in recent years,” Nancy Cook, Maggie Severns and Kelsey Tamborrino write.

The Heritage Foundation has also been lobbying to defeat the Republican healthcare bill, and has deeply influenced the Trump Administration's budget proposal.

Dozens of scholars from the think tank have either worked on the Trump transition team, advised the White House, or have actually gone on to work in the Trump Administration.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Did Manfort Work With CSIS Scholars to Help Putin?

The Associated Press (AP) reported this week that Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire "to greatly benefit the Putin government."

What most people did not pick up on is the fact that Manafort promised to work with think tanks and academic institutions to help Russia.  Here is more:

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin's government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.
Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.
Manafort told Deripaska in 2005 that he was pushing policies as part of his work in Ukraine "at the highest levels of the U.S. government — the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department," according to the documents. He also said he had hired a "leading international law firm with close ties to President Bush to support our client's interests," but he did not identify the firm. Manafort also said he was employing unidentified legal experts for the effort at leading universities and think tanks, including Duke University, New York University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In September, Think Tank Watch reported on Manafort's apparent shady dealings with a European think tank.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Manfort said that he was working with various think tanks to help bolster the Trump team's policy shop.

Think Tank Quickies (#262)

  • Daniel D'Aniello named Co-Chairman of AEI; Ryan Streeter becomes AEI's first Director of Domestic Policy Studies.
  • Charles Kupchan (who worked in the Obama Administration) and Ely Ratner (who worked for VP Joe Biden) join CFR as Senior Fellows; Jay Winik joins CFR as Historian-in-Residence.
  • In 2016 CFR established Lipman Chair to focus on emerging technologies and national security.
  • Clarke Murphy, CEO of global executive search firm Russell Reynolds, joins Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Board of Trustees, along with Zhang Yichen, Chair/CEO of CITIC Capital Holdings Limited.
  • Dr. Maha Yahya named CEIP's new Director for Middle East Center; journalist Jeffrey Goldberg named Visiting Distinguished Fellow at CEIP. 
  • Former Treasury offcial Nathan Sheets joins PIIE as Visiting Fellow; others to recently join the think tank include Sherman Robinson, Jeromin Zettelmeyer (German government) and Patrick Honohan (Central Bank of Ireland).
  • Law firm partner Clete Johnson joins CSIS as Non-Resident Senior Fellow; former DoD official Alice Hunt Friend joins CSIS; Adam Sieminski (former EIA official) joins think tank; and former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski joins the think tank.
  • CSIS establishes high-level advisory council to the Lillan and Robert D. Stuart Jr. Center in Euro-Atlantic and Northern European Studies; launches Alliances and American Leadership Project.
  • Atlantic Council announces management changes; announces launch of Stockholm office; former British Ambassador to the US Sir Peter Westmacott joins the think tank; Peru's former Finance Minister and Ambassador to US joins the think tank.
  • Former Obama official Cecilia Munoz to lead the New America National Network; Elana Broitman named Director of New America NYC. 
  • New America Fellow Lauren Redniss wins MacArthur Foundatoin "Genius" Grant.
  • Dalai Lama leads a prayer for Orlando, urges compassion at USIP visit.
  • RAND Corp. chosen to operate new research center for US Department of Homeland Security.
  • The late Thomas Schelling was a longtime RAND Corp. consultant.
  • RAND Corp. launches Arabic-language website.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Influencers Use Think Tank Titles to Hide Lobbying

Many experts who are affiliated with think tanks often write op-eds, testify before Congress, and produce research while obfuscating the fact that they simultaneously work for or have deep connections to lobbying shops, consulting firms, investment companies, and corporations.

One example was recently outlined in Politico, which notes that former Sen. Phil Gramm, a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), recently wrote an op-ed bashing the border adjustment tax (BAT), but failed to mention he is employed by a private equity firm that likely opposes the BAT.

Here is more from Politico:
Gramm’s op-ed doesn’t mention his position at [the private equity firm] Lone Star, noting instead his affiliation with the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. Gramm said no one helped him write the article and he didn’t clear it in advance with his firm, but he did discuss it with a colleague at AEI.
The Koch brothers are major supporters of the think tank and leading opponents of the border adjustment tax. A think tank spokeswoman said its donors don’t influence its research. Gramm said he doesn’t take a salary from AEI.

The think tank world is awash in people who work for (or are affiliated with) think tanks but just use the title for legitimacy while quietly lobbying for (or on behalf of) other entities.

Think Tank Watch knows dozens of examples of influential people who use their think tank titles to promote an idea that supports the work of another job they hold.

Last year the New York Times (NYT) published a series that describes this as well as some of the other chicanery that goes on in the think tank world.

NYT said that it has identified dozens of its own examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy.  "Many of those think tanks readily confer 'nonresident scholar' status on lobbyists, former government officials and others who earn their primary living working for private clients, with few restrictions on such outside work."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Heritage Lobbying Arm Opposes GOP Health Bill

The lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation, a think tank which has extremely ties to the Trump Administration, is opposing the healthcare bill that Republicans have proposed.  Here is more from Politico:

Two influential conservative advocacy organizations — Heritage Action and Club for Growth — remain opposed to the GOP Obamacare repeal bill, offering some measure of cover for wary Republicans who have yet to sign on.
Heritage Action — the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, the think tank that had helped shape some of the Trump administration's health policies — again warned Tuesday that the American Health Care Act doesn’t go far enough to repeal Obamacare. That followed a similar warning from Club for Growth, a free-market advocacy organization, on Monday night.
“Barring additional changes, the AHCA keeps the architecture of ObamaCare (Title I regs) in place,” Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham posted on Twitter, minutes after President Donald Trump wrapped up a meeting with the House Republican conference. Heritage wants those insurance regulations eliminated.
“Heritage Action will be keyvoting against,” Needham added, meaning that lawmakers would be scored unfavorably if they vote for the AHCA.

As Politico recently wrote, the Heritage Foundation's cozy relationship with the Trump team will definitely get put to the test in the next few days.  Also, here is Politico Playbook's recent analysis of the Heritage Foundation.

Think Tank Watch is wondering if some on the Trump team would actually try to claw back the White House press credentials given to Heritage if the bill goes down in defeat...

Update: State-level policy think tanks are also issuing strong warnings on the healthcare bill.

Heritage Foundation has White House Press Access

It pays to be a think tank with extremely close ties to the Trump Administration, as it allows access to the inner workings of the White House.  Here is more from The Washington Post:

In an age of partisan media, the lines between “partisan” and “media” can sometimes blur.
Case in point: The pool reporter covering Vice President Pence on Thursday — that is, the reporter who supplied details about Pence’s daily activities as proxy for the rest of the press corps — was an employee of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank.
In other words, the news that reporters received about the vice president came from a journalist employed by an organization with a vested interest in the direction of White House and federal policy.
The development is unusual; the reporter, Fred Lucas, is the first member of his organization to take on pool reporting duties, which are typically handled on a rotating basis by mainstream news organizations. Lucas also covered Pence as the pooler two weeks ago.
Lucas writes for the Daily Signal, a news and commentary site started nearly three years ago by Heritage, one of Washington’s leading policy shops. The Signal covers issues that are a focus of Heritage’s conservative agenda, such as an Obamacare repeal, tax policy and illegal immigration.
The Signal’s editor, Rob Bluey, vigorously defended his organization’s presence in the pool, saying there’s “a hard firewall” between Heritage’s policy and lobbying operations and the Daily Signal’s newsroom.
Heritage’s leadership, including its president, former senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), has “never ordered us to cover any story” in the Daily Signal’s existence, Bluey said. “I wouldn’t work here, and the talented journalists we’ve attracted to work here wouldn’t be here, if we were receiving direct orders from Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation.”

The article goes on to note that the Daily Signal's inclusion in the pool "could set a precedent for other advocacy organizations, such as the Center for American Progress (CAP), that have expanded into newsgathering."

Here is Think Tank Watch's piece on the 2014 launch of the Daily Signal.  Here is a Washington Post piece on the Daily Signal.

Think Tank Quickies (#261)

  • Here's how to get hired by an elite think tank created by Google. 
  • Carmel Martin, an EVP at Center for American Progress (CAP) buys new $2.6 million house in Cleveland Park with lawyer husband Robert Welp.
  • Alyssa Sims of New America publishes piece ("What is a Think Tank?  First, We Should Ask Who Is a Think Tank?") on the lack of diversity at her think tank and others.
  • Stimson Center Senior Associate Johan Bergenas is joinng Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc. as a Senior Director for Government Affairs.
  • Heritage Foundation's Alyene Senger has just started as a policy analyst for health care for the Senate's Republican Policy Committee. 
  • Caleb Howe of RedState has invented a new think tank position: "Senior Fellow of Wearing American flag shirts." 
  • More on the Berggruen Institute, an "unusual think tank with an endowment of $1 billion"; it has just given out its first $1 million Berggruen Prize for philosophy and is starting work on a "secular monastery" to house around 50 thinkers on 400 acres of land in LA. 
  • Heritage Foundation has strong presence at CPAC; AEI also at CPAC.
  • Andy Smarick named Morgridge Fellow in Education Studies at AEI.
  • Back in the old days, Ezra Klein's blog bore the slogan, "Momma said wonk you out."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dem Think Tank Organizes Own CPAC for Liberals

The liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) is organizing a major conference in May with the goal of organizing Democrats in order to develop policy goals that will eventually bring Democrats back into power.  Here is more from Politico:

Instead of CPAC, it’ll be the Ideas Conference. Instead of taking place at National Harbor, it’ll be in the main room at the St. Regis Hotel, a few blocks from the White House. Instead of featuring President Donald Trump, it’ll be the first real cattle call of the Democrats nosing around 2020 presidential runs.
And it’ll be the Center for American Progress’ biggest move yet to establish itself as both the nexus of the Democratic Party’s future — and a player trying to shape what that future will be.
They’re modeling the event roughly on the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union’s annual gathering that’s become a prime stop for Republican leaders, and that notably gave Donald Trump his first major political platform as he was entering the fray.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are all confirmed to attend, and more are expected to be added to the event, scheduled for May 16.
Speakers have been encouraged to come with substantive proposals on the economy, climate change, national security, civil rights, reproductive rights and immigration rather than just political attacks on Trump. Sprinkled through the day will be panel discussions and conversations that will bring in activists and leaders of new organizations.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on CAP's pivot after Donald Trump won the presidency, and here is another piece on the future of the think tank in the Trump presidency.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Politico's Analysis of the Heritage Foundation

Here is Politico Playbook analysis of the Heritage Foundation's standing in Washington:
Ever since Heritage created its political arm Heritage Action, GOP lawmakers have been frustrated with the once-important conservative think tank. Most Republicans on Capitol Hill have written it off as one of the groups that raises money off of opposing GOP leadership.

Here is a a recent Politico piece on the Heritage Foundation, as well as a Think Tank Watch piece on the think tank's influence on the federal budget.