The think tanks are competing for donations with a new set of players such as Priorities USA Action, a Democratic super PAC, and the conservative grass-roots Americans for Prosperity, which says it raised more than $110 million this year.
“Now [think tanks] have to promote their ideas and explicitly tell the members ‘if you don’t pay attention to those ideas were not going to rate you very favorably,’” said former Republican Rep. David M. McIntosh of Indiana. “[DeMint] will have a great understanding of the potential that Heritage has to really make a difference with the changes in the law.”
While Heritage and CAP are the only think tanks that now field registered lobbyists and have advocacy arms, nearly all of the major research institutes in Washington have a team advocating their policies on Capitol Hill. As of September, CAP Action Fund spent nearly $200,000 on lobbying Congress and Heritage Action spent $120,000, Senate reports show.