Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Billionaire's Daughter Throwing Big Money at Think Tanks

In the think tank world, it pays to be friends with billionaires.  The latest example comes from The Washington Post:
Mitt Romney had just lost the 2012 presidential election, and a group of wealthy donors assembled in New York's University Club was trying to figure out what had gone wrong.  Suddenly, a young woman stood up before the largely male crowd and delivered an unsparing critique of the Republican's technology and canvassing operations.
Thomas Saunders III, chairman of the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees, was impressed.  "Who is that?" he asked the man next to him.
Soon, there would be few in conservative policy and political circles who did not know the name Rebekah Mercer.
Galvanized in part by the Republicans' 2012 White House loss, the middle daughter of billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer has rattled the status quo by directing her family's resources into an array of investments on the right.  In the past six years, the Mercers have poured tens of millions into Republican super PACs, Washington think tanks, state policy shops, a film-production company, a data analytics operation and one of the country's most provocative online conservative news outlets.

The article goes on to note that Rebekah Mercer jointed the board of the Goldwater Institute and her family foundation gave nearly $1 million to the think tank between 2011 and 2014.  The family foundation have nearly $35 million to conservative think tanks and policy groups between 2009 and 2014.  And she is now on the board of trustees of the Heritage Foundation.

The Hill also notes that Mercer has been a big supporter of the libertarian Cato Institute.

Think Tank Watch recently wrote about a new trend of billionaires starting their own think tanks.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on the favorite think tank of billionaires.