The Heritage Foundation|
The Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973 with the financial support of Joseph Coors and states its mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." Once again, we see the catch phrase "traditional American values", which translates to "white, heterosexual, Christian male" values.
Widely considered as probably the most influential "think tank" in the world, its influence in the US is even greater. The Heritage Foundation itself does not lobby Congress and so has been able to maintain its tax exempt status as a non-profit organization. While the Foundation has many thousands of donors, the biggest chunk of their financial support comes from a group of core benefactors. In 1995, for example, "a total of 31 checks accounted for $8.5 million; another 123 donors supplied $2.6 million more." That's more than one third of money they bring in during an average year. They also take money from foreign governments: South Korean intelligence revealed that the Foundation covertly received $2.2 million from Korean intelligence in the early 1980s.
Those early days saw the biggest "heyday" of the Heritage Foundation. With their (sometimes illegal) financial as well as personal assistance (ie, logistics, supplies, etc.), the Heritage Foundation became involved in armed conflicts in Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and El Salvador. Anywhere the "threat of communism" reared its head, the Heritage Foundation could be found. Many high ranking office holders in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were/are staff members at the Heritage Foundation.
George W. Bush is continuing the legacy, with at least five key appointments in his first term going to Heritage Foundation former employees, including Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. The Heritage Foundation sent the Bush transition team a list of 1200 to 1300 names and resumes of people they had "endorsed" as acceptable candidates for jobs in the administration and were said to be quite pleased at how many actually received an appointment.
These employees apparently then use their influence to protect the Heritage Foundation from negative publicity. When a speaker at a conference of corporate anti-discrimination officers was set to single out the Heritage Foundation as an enemy of affirmative action, the speaker was suddenly dropped from the venue. According to Alfred Ross, the speaker now without an audience, he was dropped at the request of a Bush administration official. Perhaps the most dangerous connection is the long-standing friendship between the HF's foundation, Edward Fuelner and Bush's political czar, Karl Rove. The two are said to speak several times a week.
The Heritage Foundation, like the Republican party nowadays, is concerned with protecting corporate bottom lines, not workers or taxpayers or the "little guy". Strongly anti-union and anti-government control, the Heritage Foundation has published papers on everything from trade relations with India to the case for plant closures. It's also sticking its fingers into social issues from healthcare reform and patient's rights to welfare reform to promoting marriage while discouraging divorce. The environment is not immune to the influence of this vast megalith either: the Heritage Foundation supports deregulating and the easing of environmental controls in many industries.
Groups like the Heritage Foundation skirt the spirit of the law to follow the letter of the law, thereby creating loopholes through which they can effectively lobby without technically lobbying. Like the Christian Coalition, the power this particular groups wields may be waning as Bush turns more and more to the American Enterprise Institute. But they can't be written off yet. They still have power disproportionate to the numbers they represent. How do we stop these kinds of groups from having the influence that they do? For that, please check The Solution section.
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|Click on any of the links below to read more articles about the Heritage Foundation.|
||Profile of the Heritage Foundation|
|Synopsis: This profile reveals how the Heritage Foundation used the fear surrounding the attacks on 9/11 to make recommendations for key defense budget, like a missile defense system. This site also lists the connections to the political big-wigs the Heritage Foundation has.|
|Synopsis: An excellent analysis of the Heritage Foundation, following all the many tentacles it has placed in other organizations and their connections to anti-democratic movements.|
||The Money Trail|
|Synopsis: Media Transparency shows where the money behind the media comes from. This article discusses the top money-gathering think-tanks, all of which are conservative in nature.|
||PFAW: The Heritage Foundation|
|Synopsis: People for the American Way's profile of the Heritage Foundation which includes a list of former HF staff members who are part of the current administration.|
||The Heritage Foundation Soars|
|Synopsis: Another excellent article (although a bit outdated since it was written during the first year of Bush's first reign) on just how pervasive the Heritage Foundation is in influencing our government.|
|Synopsis: An article detailing some of the more damaging policies that the Heritage Foundation has supported, promoted and helped put in place.|
All text © 2004-13 Shelly Strauss except where quotes with references are provided.|
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