Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AEI President's Powerful Friends

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has been on a roll recently, hosting high-level figures (Dalai Lama, Bill Gates) and scoring big bucks from friends and donors, among other things.

To add to that, Politico just wrote a piece about the so-called "Young Guns" of Congress (Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan) as they jockey to prepare for potential changes to the power structure of the House.

The article notes tha AEI President Arthur Brooks "has become a key figure in [Eric] Cantor's policy world."  Cantor, who is currently the House Majority Leader, is the likely successor to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) if he leaves Congress.

That would elevate Cantor to the most powerful House position and bring AEI even more influence in the halls of Congress.

Here is what Roll Call recently had to say about Brooks's relationships on Capitol Hill:
Brooks and his AEI colleagues make frequent trips to Capitol Hill for meetings, presentations and congressional hearings. He said he has forged relationships with influential House GOP lawmakers who “get” his message. Brooks referred to many of them by their first names: Eric, as in Majority Leader Cantor, for example, or Paul, as in Budget Chairman Ryan.

That familiarity might not extend itself in the reverse, however — at least not yet. In conversations with CQ Roll Call, many prominent House Republicans and their aides said the name “Arthur Brooks” was familiar but didn’t evoke any strong feelings other than that he and the AEI continued to do good work.

On March 5, 2013, Rep. Cantor spoke at AEI at an event titled "Making Life Work."  In 2012, Rep. Cantor gave an introduction at an AEI event launch of Brook's book "The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise."

Rep. Ryan seems to like AEI's views.  For example, he recently quoted Charles Murray of AEI.

To be sure, AEI is not the only think tank that Cantor associates himself with.  For example, early this year, he spoke about the value of school choice at the Brookings Institution.

Arthur Brooks has been President of AEI since January 1, 2009.

AEI was just ranked as the 24th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 11th best think tank in the US.