Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Heritage Foundation President & EVP Stepping Down

Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James along with the conservative think tank's EVP Kim Holmes announced their resignation on March 22.

A press release says that James will be staying on a president for up to six months until a replacement is found, after which she will become a Heritage distinguished visiting fellow.  She will also remain on the think tanks' board of trustees.

Here is the reason James said they were stepping down:

“When we came on board as the executive leadership team three years ago, we set several goals and told Heritage’s board of trustees that we would serve for three to five years to see them through,” said James. “We accomplished everything we set out to do. Now it’s time to let someone else take the reins.”

Mrs. James became president of Heritage on Jan. 1, 2018 and has been a trustee of Heritage's board since 2005.  Holmes, whose resignation is effective April 16, joined Heritage in 1985, left for a stint in the George W. Bush White House, and later returned to Heritage.

Here is what Reuters added:

James took the helm of the think tank after former President Jim DeMint was fired in 2018 after the organization’s leadership determined he had veered too far from its conservative principals and too close to then-President Donald Trump’s White House.

The foundation shapes policy in Republican administrations and congressional districts, and many members of the Trump White House were affiliates.

After Trump lost the 2020 election, former Vice President Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security officials Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Morgan joined the think tank as visiting fellows.

In a March opinion article for the foundation, Pence warned of “significant voting irregularities” in the 2020 election, despite dozens of lawsuits alleging these irregularities being tossed by judges nationwide for lack of proof.


The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board praised Mrs. James and took a swipe at former Heritage president Jim DeMint, who it said "downplayed ideas in favor of transforming Heritage into a political action committee."

Here is a Real Clear Politics piece which mentions some possible replacements for James, and here is a piece from former Heritage lawyer Andrew Kloster with lots of juicy gossip.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece from 2017 about reaction to to the announcement that Kay Coles James would become president of Heritage.

James will be one of a number of think tank leaders resigning this year at major US think tanks.

Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973, calls itself the US's most broadly supported think tank, with more than 500,000 members.