Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Think Tank Quickies (#169)

  • Michael Franc, former staffer to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and former VP of government relations, is new Director of Washington, DC Programs at Hoover Institution.
  • Brookings scholar bashes Atlantic Council for having too many think tank panels with men.
  • More pics of the world's coolest think tank.
  • Prestigious Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) commissions paper based on a blog comments from Marginal Revolution.
  • SIPRI: US is a major driver of global expansion in arms trade.
  • Google chief Eric Schmidt speaks at AEI.
  • Democracy Alliance (DA) shifted 2004 elections away from donor giving to sustained investments in think tanks.
  • Sens. Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse sent letter to 100 energy companies and think tanks asking them to reveal all the scientists they were funding.
  • India extends support to Afghan think tanks for strategic thinking, planning.
  • John de Boer: What are think tanks good for?

Silicon Valley to Open Think Tank in DC

The technology companies of Silicon Valley have ramped up their donations to think tanks in recent years, but today, they are pivoting to a different strategy: opening their very own think tank.

Here is more from Politico:
Silicon Valley bigwigs Sean Parker and Ron Conway are throwing their weight behind a new organization in Washington that will craft centrist proposals to stimulate the economy and press Congress to enact them, according to plans provided to POLITICO.
The Economic Innovation Group is set to launch Tuesday after about 18 months of behind-the-scenes preparation. Principals declined to say how much money is behind it, but people involved say the inclusion of names like Parker and Conway — the first president of Facebook and a legendary startup investor, respectively — give the effort credibility.

The first conversations about the group began at the end of 2012, said co-founder Steve Glickman, and organizers met with Parker at the beginning of 2013. The rest, the founders say, grew “organically.”
The co-founders of the group are Glickman, a California Democrat and former National Economic Council aide in the Obama administration; and John Lettieri, a South Carolina Republican and onetime staffer for former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel.
Other co-founders are: Rebecca Lynn, co-founder of Canvas Venture Fund; Joseph Sanberg, co-founder of Aspiration.com and Pt Capital; Dana Settle, co-founder of Greycroft Partners; and Ted Ullyot, investor and first General Counsel of Facebook.

The new think tank, Economic Innovation Group (EIG), says that several politicians have been involved in the startup of the new policy shop, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Gred Walden (R-OR).

EIG says that "implementation" of their desired policies is what sets them apart from other think tanks in Washington, DC.  Sean Parker expects a few wins in 20 or 30 years.

According to Politico, the think tank plans to release its first white paper on economic issues next month.  That paper is reportedly co-written by Kevin Hassett (of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute) and Jared Bernstein (of the liberal-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Think Tank Watch noticed, however, that they have already released a draft paper titled "Beneath The Recovery: Obstacles to Growth and Opportunity in the New Economy."

Here is a press release about the think tank and a blog post by the co-founders about why they have launched the think tank.  Here is what TechCrunch says about the new bipartisan think tank.

The think tank's website can be found here.  It includes a list of its leadership.  The think tank is based in Chinatown, at 711 D Street, NW in Washington, DC.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cato Institute Gets New President & CEO

The libertarian Cato Institute announced today that Peter Goettler, a former Managing Director of Barclays Capital, will become the think tank's new President and CEO effective April 1.  He was approved in a unanimous vote by Cato's Board of Directors on March 28.

Goettler has served on Cato Institute's Board of Directors since last year and he has been a supporter of the think tank for 15 years.  He is also on the board of a large network of libertarian think tanks called Atlas Network.

Current CEO John Allison, who was former Chairman and CEO of BB&T, is retiring after just two and a half years at the helm.  But Allison will continue to serve on Cato's Board of Directors, in addition to acting as Chairman of the Executive Advisory Council for the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives.

Here is more from Cato about Allison's tenure:
Under Allison’s leadership, Cato’s financial support has grown by 64 percent, from total revenues of $22.1 million in FY2013 to total revenues of $36.3 million (projected) in FY2015. Allison also played a significant role in launching two new policy centers at Cato: the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, which studies alternatives to today’s financial regulatory regime; and the Center for the Study of Science, which studies the effects of government funding on scientific research.

Here is a bit more about Goettler's background from Bloomberg.  And here is what David Weigel of Bloomberg Politics is saying about the leadership change at Cato.  Weigel notes that Allison was "affable" and "brought Cato to normalcy" during the past couple of years.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on how John Allison came to power at Cato.

It is interesting how Cato is replacing the outgoing head - a former banker - with another former banker.  Perhaps it is because revenues have grown so much of the past two years?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CSIS Holding "Cyber DiploHack 2015" Hackathon

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is hosting its first ever cyber policy hackathon called Cyber DiploHack 2015 on March 26 and 27.  Here is more from CSIS:
Six teams drawn from universities in the United States and Europe will participate in an intensive, scenario-based policy hackathon to develop new approaches to cyber security and cyber capacity building. With facilitation from CSIS and outside experts, teams will apply creative ideation processes commonly used in technology design to solve a cybersecurity policy challenge. Cyber DiploHack will utilize cutting-edge technology to enhance collaboration between international teams, facilitators, and judges.
Created with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Dutch Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Cyber DiploHack 2015 will identify ways to bring principles into practice for cooperation and capacity building in cyberspace. Resulting concepts and ideas will serve as input for the Global Conference on Cyberspace (www.gccs2015.com), organized April 16-17 in The Hague.

More about the hackathon, including the agenda, can be found here.  And some pics of the hackathon (and preparations for it) can be found here and here and here.

Hackathons are not new to think tanks.  For example, earlier this year, the Israeli think tank Reut Institute held an anti-BDS hackathon.

CSIS was recently ranked as the world's top defense and national security think tank by the 2015 University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Think Tank Quickies (#168)

  • A bogus UC Berkely think tank?
  • CIGI: Follow the money that funds think tanks.
  • Watch PIIE President Adam Posen spar with with AFL-CIO President; Dani Rodrik blasts Posen and PIIE for "FTA fetish."
  • Stephen Moore's schedule: "Like speed-dating at a think tank - albeit with better menus and an open bar."
  • Brookings presents at SXSW; says it produces between 50 and 100 pieces of original content every week and has more than 100 scholars in DC and more than 200 around the world.
  • Justin Wolfers: Think tanks can't even convince conservative economists that tax cuts pay for themselves.
  • CFR: What do bicycles and the TPP have in common?
  • CIA Director John Brennan interviewed by Charlie Rose at CFR.
  • Cato defends itself against members of US Congress.
  • CFR Cuba scholar Julia Sweig takes new position at University of Texas at Austin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hillary Clinton Tests Possible VP Choice at CAP

Likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was a "featured guest" at the Center for American Progress (CAP) on March 23, boosting her liberal credentials before making an expected presidential announcement in the coming weeks.

But more interestingly, one of the panelists at the same CAP event was Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, a leading candidate to be Clinton's vice presidential nominee.

Some have noted that Clinton and Castro were "in sync" and "on the same page" during the event, leading to lots of speculation about a potential Clinton-Castro ticket.

John Podesta, the founder of CAP and Clinton's expected campaign chairman, was reportedly "looking on from the front row."

The liberal think tank is going to be Clinton's go-to policy shop for ideas and talent as she ramps up her campaign.

Friday, March 20, 2015

2016 Republicans' Love Affairs With Heritage Head Jim DeMint

The 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls are all looking for love, but one thing is certain: They almost all seem to have a love affair with Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint.

Bloomberg Politics has just compiled a list of the possible candidates and who they follow on Twitter. Out of the 17 potential candidates that Bloomberg selected, 15 are following DeMint, making the think tank head the most followed Twitter account among all the 2016 hopefuls.

According to Bloomberg, the only two who do not follow DeMint are Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Think Tank Quickies (#167)

  • Brookings outlines ISIS activities on Twitter.
  • Wilson Center: 5 Things to Watch in Israel's Elections; think tank decodes the Nemtsov assassination?
  • Wilson Center's Kennan Institute announces new fellowship program; Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivers major address at Wilson Center.
  • Ed Gresser, Executive Director of think tank Progressive Economy, tapped for newly created position at USTR: Director of Policy Planning in the Office of Trade Policy and Economics.
  • New World Resources Institute (WRI) map is saving trees.
  • Cool picture: A new think tank in town.
  • Can the Pentagon's think tank explain Vladimir Putin's absence?
  • How think tanks work to shape health policy.
  • Differences in how think tanks count illegal immigrants.
  • Think tanks Niskanen Center and Political Parity using "Moneyball-like" databases to influence K St. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New CGD Think Tank Rankings: Cato & Brookings on Top

The Center for Global Development (CGD) has just released updated think tank rankings for 2015 which show the libertarian Cato Institute as the top international development think tank (based on budget-adjusted scores), followed by the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and CGD.

In terms of absolute scores, Brookings is the top international development think tank, followed by Cato.

Here is more from CGD:
In 2013, our CGD colleagues Julia Clark and David Roodman designed a low-cost quantitative approach to rank US and international development think tanks by the strength of their public profile. Think tanks trade in ideas and ideas need to be noticed to be adopted. Thus, think tanks’ ability to garner public attention is likely to be a good marker of their influence and potential for impact.  We applied the Clark-Roodman methodology to create an updated ranking of think tanks for 2014 using social media fans, website traffic, news media, and scholarly citations as well as operating expenses as a measure of size. The Index looks at public profile both in absolute terms and adjusted by the size of institutions’ budgets and ranks think tanks in two groups: US think tanks and international development think tanks (both US and non-US).

As CGD notes, Cato held on to the #1 spot that it also received in the 2013 rankings.

Not surprisingly, CGD notes that without exception, think tanks have gained Twitter followers and Facebook fans since 2013.  Here is more on what CGD says about think tanks trends in social media:
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace increased their Twitter followers sevenfold (from 20,191 to 148,200). CSIS increased its followers tenfold from fewer than 10,000 followers in 2013 to more than 100,000. Other think tanks have had better success increasing their followings on Facebook. For instance, The Institute for Development Studies (UK) had about 6,000 Facebook likes in 2013 and now has almost 35,000.

Here is what CGD says about think tanks gaining traction in the news media:
In 2014, media mentions of all 36 think tanks in our comparison have gone up, with several think tanks more than doubling their citations in the news media. Among US think tanks, the Brookings Institution retained its top spot with over 23,000 media mentions, followed by the Pew Research Center, with over 15,000 and the Heritage Foundation with just over 10,000. Among think tanks with international development programs, the Center for Strategic and International Studies ranks second after Brookings, while the Cato Institute comes in third. The Urban Institute and RAND Corporation registered particularly impressive growth in the number of their citations, more than doubling media mentions compared to 2012. 

Here is what the CGD report found on think tank spending in 2014:
The biggest spender was the RAND Corporation with over $275 million in operating in expenses, while the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies spent the least, at little over $1.3 million. The International Food Policy Research Institute had the highest jump in spending among US think tanks, with an 83 percent increase in two years. At the other end of the spectrum, the Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation spent close to 60 percent less in 2014 than it did in 2011. The North-South Institute’s budget decreased by over 30 percent; it closed its doors in September 2014.

More of the latest think tank profile rankings can be found here.  The full rankings can be found here.

CGD was just ranked as the 27th best think tank in the US by the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Think Tank Watch Turns 3

Thanks Politico for giving a shout-out on Think Tank Watch's 3-year anniversary.  If you have any hot think tank news or tips, always feel free to email us at info (at) thinktankwatch.com

Monday, March 16, 2015

Top Lobby Shop on How to Lobby a Think Tank

Ever wondered how powerful lobbying firms use think tanks to their benefit?  A document that Think Tank Watch has discovered will let you in on some details.

Podesta Group, one of the US's top lobbying firms by revenue ($25 million in 2014) has recently posted a guide on how to lobby a think tank.

The author, Will Bohlen, Senior Global Communications Specialist for Podesta Group and former spokesman for the think tank German Marshall Fund (GMF), says that think tanks occupy an "in-between space" in Washington, "neither government agency nor business nor media outlet - and yet they play in all three spaces," making them all the more important.  Here is more:
An organization with advocacy goals in Washington or other major hubs like New York, London and Brussels can benefit in both the short term and long term by effectively identifying, working with and even partnering with think tanks to support the convening of high-level conversations with policymakers, fund academic research and cultivate allies.

Mr. Bohlen notes that the Podesta Group works with think tanks on behalf of clients to advance their interests, and cites a corporate client who wanted to position itself as a thought leader in the Mexican telecom space and as a top contender for a government contract.  He notes that the lobby shop introduced the client to a Washington think tank with "a strong Latin America program and facilitated an agreement for that think tank to conduct a high-level conference on telecommunications reform" in Mexico City.

The piece goes on to give four key points on how to leverage think tanks to ones advantage.

We should also point out that the Podesta Group (formerly Podesta Associates) was co-founded by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta.  John Podesta is the founder of the influential, liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP).

So, are think tanks more of a lobbying tool these days rather than policy shops that come up with brilliant ideas?  The question has been around for a long time, as seen from this example relating to Microsoft's use of think tanks.
hink tanks occupy an in-between space in Washington — neither government agency nor business nor media outlet — and yet they play in all three spaces.
hink tanks occupy an in-between space in Washington — neither government agency nor business nor media outlet — and yet they play in all three spaces.

Friday, March 13, 2015

CSIS Releases Donors List for FY 2014

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has just released its donors list to the public.  The list, for donors who gave in fiscal year 2014, is divided into four categories: foundations, corporations, governments, and individuals.

Those listed are only those who have donated $5,000 or more.

Notably, CSIS gets major foreign government support, according to the disclosure, and receives more than $500,000 each from the governments of Japan, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The US government also gave the think tank more than $500,000.  More than a dozen other foreign governments gave CSIS less than $500,000.

Here is a donations FAQ from CSIS.

CSIS was recently ranked as the world's top defense and national security think tank by the 2015 University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Think Tank Quickies (#166)

  • Atlantic Council launches new strategy initiative on America's role in the world; Secretary of State John Kerry to speak at the think tank's "Road to Paris Climate Series."
  • New CFR InfoGuide explores the two Talibans.
  • Cool think tank event of the week: CSIS event on Confucius.
  • CSIS to host Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on March 17.
  • UK's Prospect Magazine has recently nominated 50 people for its 2015 top thinkers list, and some think tankers made the cut, including Bruce Katz and Tyler Cowen.
  • Leon Wieseltier, long-time literary editor of The New Republic, joins Brookings as Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy.
  • Heritage Foundation releases first annual Index of US Military Strength.
  • AEI at CPAC 2015; AEI polls public opinion of the police.
  • Carnegie Moscow Center announces new online project.
  • CAP and SiX host state legislators for event on economic opportunity agenda for states; Michael Sozan (formerly with Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado) becomes CAP's VP of Government Affairs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

French Ambassador Loves Partying With Think Tankers

Listen up all think tankers.  The French Ambassadors residence in Washington, DC has reopened after a long renovation.  The even better news: The Ambassador, GĂ©rard Araud, loves to party with think tankers.  Here is more from The Washington Post:
You’re more likely to score an invitation for supporting French culture or history — say, American Friends of the Louvre — or women’s empowerment and gender equity. Another in: “I am a bit of a foreign affairs geek,” Araud says, which means more parties with think-tank types, businessmen and fellow diplomats. Mostly, he wants to mix it up and get beyond what he calls Washington’s “gilded circle.”

So brush up on your French and let the parties begin...

(Update: Cato Institute scholar Justin Logan has astutely pointed out to Think Tank Watch that the Washington Post article we have quoted has a picture of none other than Steve Clemons, the founder of the American Strategy Program at the think tank New America Foundation.  Please keep us informed of any other think tanker sightings.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Overabundance of Think Tanks and Think Tank Reports

This is from a new piece in The Atlantic by Lee Drutman (of New America Foundation) and Steven Teles (of Johns Hopkins University):
Washington is also now awash in privately funded policy research. According to R. Kent Weaver and Andrew Rich, the number of Washington-based think tanks more than tripled between 1970 and 1996, from 100 to 306. James G. McGann at the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program counted 1,828 think tanks in the United States in 2013. But fewer and fewer think tanks can claim the mantle of truly neutral expertise anymore. Instead, most are funded by industry, labor, or wealthy partisan donors whose official stance as “nonpartisan,” necessary for tax status, is a transparent veil for their advocacy-first work product. One does not go to the Heritage Foundation or the Center for American Progress for their neutral expertise. While such think tanks may produce much substantive analysis, their analysis is intended for (and consumed by) adherents of only one political party.

The piece also notes that in 2012, there were about 1.9 million articles published in 28,000 scholarly peer-reviewed academic journals, creating even more competition with think tank work.

As Think Tank Watch has reported, it seems that few people are actually reading think tank reports anymore, and an analysis done by Think Tank Watch using Google Trends shows that interest in think tanks has been in a steep decline.

Think Tank Sex Expert Taking China By Storm

Meet the sex expert from one of China's top think tanks (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, or CASS) who is making waves around the world. 
Li Yinhe, China’s leading advocate of freewheeling sexuality, has been shocking this outwardly prudish nation for three decades.
An American-trained sociologist, she promotes one-night stands, sings the praises of sadomasochist sex and has called on the government to decriminalize pornography. She is also a hero to gay and lesbian Chinese, having for years pushed a same-sex marriage bill in China’s legislature despite little chance of passage.
But in December, Professor Li, 63, who recently retired from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reluctantly moved the nation to the threshold of a new frontier: transgender love.
After a blogger accused her of being a closeted lesbian, Professor Li shot back with a blog post announcing that her partner of 17 years, although born a woman, is a transgender man.

The entire New York Times article can be found here. And here is more about CASS.

Think Tank Quickies (#165)

  • How think tanks work, by Jeremy Sammut (h/t Alejandro Chafuen)
  • Nice drawing of a think tank, by Moose Allain.
  • Do think tanks undermine autonomously produced social scientific knowledge?
  • Brookings scholar tells boss he's wrong; boss (Martin Indyk) becomes EVP of Brookings.
  • David Shambaugh of Brookings in WSJ: The coming Chinese crackup; Shambaugh ranked top Chinese scholar by think tank CASS.
  • The role of digital health think tanks.
  • PIIE President: There is no one PIIE view on currency and TPP.
  • For profit think tanks and implications for funders, via Enrique Mendizabal.
  • Use of think tanks: To demonstrate infinite capacity of metropolitans for regurgitating redundant ideas at lunchtime.
  • Brookings: How Americans define rich.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New CBO Director Has Libertarian Think Tank Ties

It's official. Newly appointed Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Keith Hall hails from think tank land.

More specifically, he worked at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a libertarian think tank in Fairfax, Virginia.  The Weekly Standard has called the think tank "relatively low profile."

Here is his Mercatus Center biography, which says he worked at the think tank from April 2012 to September 2014.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on other think tankers who were considered for the CBO post.

"Obscure" Think Tank Put in Spotlight by NYT

Here is more from the New York Times piece entitled "Challenge to Health Overhaul Puts Obscure Think Tank in Spotlight":
In the orbit of Washington think tanks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is an obscure name with a modest budget that belies its political connections to conservative titans like the Koch brothers.
But the institute, a libertarian research group, enjoyed a coming-out of sorts on Wednesday, as the lawsuit that it organized and bankrolled — challenging the Affordable Care Act — was heard by the Supreme Court. The case has the potential to end federal insurance subsidies for some 7.5 million people in 34 states.
Until now, the 31-year-old think tank was probably best known as a strident critic of what it calls “global warming alarmism.” It has also been a ceaseless advocate for small government and free markets and has played what the conservative entrepreneur Steve Forbes called “a critical role in preventing the worst of the left’s utopian nightmares from becoming reality.”
But beyond its research reports and policy papers, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has a litigious side, and it has teamed up with state attorneys general to challenge an array of Obama administration regulations on financial, air-quality and other issues.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute sees itself not as a think tank, but as a “do tank,” committed to changing federal policies rather than just analyzing them, said William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the group.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reportedly declined to say how much it is spending on the Supreme Court case, but told the NYT that it is coming from its general budget.

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece on the Cato scholar who may single-handedly bring down Obamacare.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cato Scholar to Single-Handedly Destroy Obamacare?

The Supreme Court is taking up another challenge to President Obama's healthcare law this week, and a single think tank scholar could be the one who destroys Obamacare.  Here is more from the Washington Post:
A day before the public hearing, an op-ed piece titled “Another ObamaCare Glitch” by Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler and Michael F. Cannon, a health policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, appeared in the Wall Street Journal. They wrote that the IRS had no legal authority to give tax subsidies to people enrolling in a federal exchange. This argument became the foundation for the legal challenge to the law that is now coming before the Supreme Court.

More from that WPost article can be read here.

The think tank scholar mentioned above, Michael Cannon, is the Cato Institute's Director of Health Policy Studies.

Vox recently wrote a piece about him entitled "Meet Michael Cannon, the Man Who Could Bring Down Obamacare."

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece entitled "Conservative Think Tanks to Kill Obamacare?"

And here is a New York Times piece describing a presentation that lawyer Thomas Christina gave at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that helped bring about the Supreme Court challenge.

Head of World's #1 Think Tank Ties the Knot

Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution, just got married to Barbara Lazear Ascher, former attorney, freelance writer, and author of four books.  [Not to be outdone, Mr. Talbott has written 12 books.]

The New York Times notes that the bride was a widow and the groom a widower.

Here is more about Strobe Talbott from his Brookings site.  Here is the site of Barbara Lazear Ascher.

In other personal news related to Mr. Talbott, his son, Devin Talbott, has been making some big money moves.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Under-40 Think Tankers Make Power List

The Washington Life magazine is out with its 2015 list entitled "Young & the Guest List," an annual compilation of under-40 power players in and around Washington, DC.

Think Tank Watch has gone through the entire list and put together all the think tankers.  They include:
  • Elbridge Colby, Fellow, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
  • Justin Logan, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute
  • Nicolas Loris, Economy Fellow, Heritage Foundation
  • Danielle Moodie-Mills, Advisor on LGBT Policy and Racial Justice, Center for American Progress (CAP)
  • Karim Sadjapour, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Emily Tisch Sussman, Director of Campaigns, Center for American Progress (CAP)

The full list can be viewed here.

GOP Hopefuls Flocking to AEI Confab at Swanky Resort

The influential conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is hosting its annual "World Forum" this week in the swanky Sea Island resort in Georgia, and Republican presidential hopefuls are going there to pitch wealthy donors.  Among those attending include:
  • Jeb Bush
  • Ted Cruz
  • Bobby Jindal
  • Scott Walker
  • Lindsey Graham
  • Chris Christie
  • Rick Santorum

Here is more from Bloomberg:
The goal for many of the prospective candidates will be to impress the uncommitted donors and bundlers in the audience, including TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, whose super-PAC, Ending Spending, spent roughly $13 million in the 2012 election; Newscorp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch; Alliance Resource Partners CEO Joseph Craft, who donated $2.7 million to Republican and conservative committees in 2014; Equinox Partners President Sean Fieler; and former Amway CEO Dick Devos and his wife, Windquest Group Chairman Betsy Devos, who donated $850,000 to Republican groups last year.
A who's who of conservative thought, the World Forum will also feature such notable speakers as former Vice President Dick Cheney, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. As with past World Forum gatherings, a select few Democrats have been offered speaking slots. This year, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and Maryland Representative John Delaney round out the only official Democratic speakers at the Republican-dominated event.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post about how one lawmaker got himself in trouble by attending AEI's World Forum.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the think tank's World Forum. 

The New York Times notes that Sea Island is just one of the stops on the GOP donor primary trail.  It also mentions an event sponsored by The Committee to Unleash American Prosperity, a group of "supply side theorists" spearheaded by Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Steve Forbes.  Mr. Moore is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cool Think Tank Event of the Week: How Food Execs Think

The Hudson Institute gets the award this week for the coolest think tank event.  It is titled: "How Food Executives Think: From Profit Margins to New Products."  The panel includes speakers from Nestle and PepsiCo.  The event just ended, but you should be able to watch it online.

The event is the first seminar in a series entitled: "Articulating the Food Industry Context: Potential Frameworks for Profiting Health."  It is being led by Hank Cardello, Senior Fellow and Director of the Obesity Solutions Initiative at Hudson.  The Healthy Weight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are co-hosting the seminars.

Think Tank Quickies (#164)

  • Brookings study: Sex, contraception, or abortion?
  • Urban Institute study on "survival sex": Does trading sex define who you are?
  • AEI President Arthur Brooks gives advice on love; tells how he pursued his wife in Spain.
  • Comic: Life of a think tank economist, via Justin Wolfers.
  • Fascinating take on Netanyahu's speech from think tank tank expert, via Marc Lynch of CNAS.
  • Newt Gingrich CPAC remarks about foreign governments trying to influence US think tanks.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gets copy of David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind at Cato booth at CPAC.
  • If you are not a think tank expert you likely know close to nothing?
  • European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR): the "Ruxit" is real.
  • New Third Way study: voters trust Republicans more than Democrats to protect them from terrorism; only hope is Hillary Clinton.