For four decades, the Heritage Foundation was a stately think tank that sought to define conservative thinking for Republicans.
Now, in one of the more significant transformations in the capital's intellectual firmament, it has become an activist political operation trying to alter the course of conservative thinking. It now challenges establishment Republican leaders as much as it informs them, making waves in the process.Here is what the article says about the think tank's lobbying arm, Heritage Action:
Heritage Action says it has 61,000 donors but doesn't disclose sources of its funding. It raised $5.9 million in 2012, according to figures provided by the group, a significant uptick from 2011 but still a sliver of the $82 million its parent organization raised. A number of prominent conservatives sit on the Heritage Foundation board, including billionaires Steve Forbes and Richard Mellon Scaife.
Unlike Club for Growth, a small-government advocacy group that built its reputation by wading into GOP primaries to knock off incumbent Republicans it sees as insufficiently conservative, Heritage Action seeks primarily to influence legislation. The group has recruited 5,000 local activists, known as "sentinels," in 160 key congressional districts and claims an email list of 400,000 supporters. Hundreds of those activists dial in to weekly Monday night conference calls run from the fourth floor of the foundation's headquarters, where they are often warned about coming legislation frequently authored by House Republicans.
Aides rank each member of Congress based on his or her votes on key measures, alerting supporters about each important roll-call vote.The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings. It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US. It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet. Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.