Heritage Foundation

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Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a New Right think tank. Its stated 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."[1] It is widely considered one of the world's most influential public policy research institutes. The Foundation wields considerable influence in Washington, and enjoyed particular prominence during the Reagan administration. Its initial funding was provided by Joseph Coors, of the Coors beer empire, and Richard Mellon Scaife, heir of the Mellon industrial and banking fortune. The Foundation maintains strong ties with the London Institute of Economic Affairs and the Mont Pelerin Society.


The Heritage Foundation concerns itself with many issues in about 20 different subject areas, everything from missile defense to public administration.[2] It regularly publishes comprehensive articles, papers, and journals expressing its strong neo-conservative opinions in these subject areas. While the Foundation has contributed many ideas to contemporary public policy, it is best known for the ideas put forth by its foreign policy analysts in the 1980s and early 1990s to provide military and other support to anti-communist resistance movements around the world. The Foundation pushed for this strategy, known as the Reagan doctrine, in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua and other nations around the world.

The Foundation worked closely with leading anti-communist movements, including the Nicaraguan contras and Jonas Savimbi's Unita movement in Angola to bring military, economic and political pressure on Soviet-aligned regimes.[3] Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Foundation's support for the Nicaraguan contras and Angola's Savimbi[4] proved extremely influential with the United States government, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and other governmental agencies.[5] The Heritage Foundation presented its case for armed support for these movements, and United States support soon followed. The Foundation ultimately succeeded in its efforts, with the United States winning both covert and overt "wars of liberation" against Soviet-aligned states around the world. Critics argued that this endeavor led to undue bloodshed in the Third World and damaged American relations with the former Soviet Union.[citation needed] Supporters have argued that the cost imposed on Moscow by such efforts was huge, leading to the beginning of the end for the imperial Soviet empire.[citation needed] Whatever the truth, it was the first prominent example of The Heritage Foundation's ability to spark global debate and fundamentally alter the course of American policy.

But Heritage Foundation foreign policy analysts did not just champion the Reagan Doctrine in Washington. Some were key actors in these conflicts, visiting the front lines to provide political and military guidance to Savimbi and the contra leadership. They also provided bold and inflammatory predictions that these conflicts were tugging on the very soul of global communism and that these Soviet-supported regimes and the Soviet Union itself were on the brink of collapse. This prediction, of course, looks surprisingly accurate in retrospect, but ignores the many other contributing factors to the collapse of communism.[3] The Foundation also leaped to the defense of Ronald Reagan's description of the former Soviet Union as an "evil empire," a description that generated wide global rebuke as potentially inviting nuclear conflict and, at the very least, further poisoning East-West relations. But with strong support by Heritage and other influential conservatives, Reagan stood by the statement, refusing to retract it until the Soviet Union began to crumble.

In an attempt to build on its foreign policy influence, the Foundation also engages in domestic and social policy issues, but its effort in these two areas has never quite matched the influence it wielded (in the late 1980s and early 1990s) in altering the debate over American foreign policy. Yet the Foundation continues to weigh in on these topics with varying levels of success. One of its undeniable successes has been serving as a forum for many of the nation's leading neo-conservative activists and intellectuals.

The following comments by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey, published in the summer 1994 issue of the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review, exemplify the Heritage philosophy:

"Liberation is at hand.... A paradigm-shattering revolution has just taken place. In the signal events of the 1980s - from the collapse of communism to the Reagan economic boom to the rise of the computer - the idea of economic freedom has been overwhelmingly vindicated. The intellectual foundation of statism has turned to dust. This revolution has been so sudden and sweeping that few in Washington have yet grasped its full meaning.... But when the true significance of the 1980s freedom revolution sinks in, politics, culture - indeed, the entire human outlook - will change.... Once this shift takes place - by 1996, I predict - we will be able to advance a true Hayekian agenda, including.... radical spending cuts, the end of the public school monopoly, a free market health-care system, and the elimination of the family-destroying welfare dole. Unlike 1944, history is now on the side of freedom."[6]

The informational web site www.policyexperts.org is a "service of The Heritage Foundation," listing many of the world's leading conservative-leaning public policy experts. Additionally, for many years, its scholarly, quarterly publication, Policy Review, was widely viewed as one of the world's leading conservative public policy journals.

The Heritage Foundation has been home to some of the nation's most influential neo-conservative voices, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Foundation has since lost some of its luster, as some of its leading voices have graduated to other influential government and non-government careers. Still, the Foundation remains a conservative voice in Washington and around the world.

Policy stances

Supporting nuclear power

An April 2009 memo by Heritage fellow Jack Spencer criticized the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, drafted by Representatives Ed Markey and Henry Waxman, for containing "virtually no mention of nuclear power." Spencer wrote, "If reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions, creating jobs, and promoting domestic energy sources were truly the objective, then nuclear energy should be central to the legislation." He went on to suggest how federal energy legislation should encourage nuclear power, including by instituting "a fast-track program for granting construction/operation permits for certain new plants" and allowing "nuclear waste producers to finance and manage their own spent nuclear fuel however they see fit so long as public health and safety is protected." [7]

Against the European Union

In March of 2012, Heritage fellows Nile Gardiner and Ted Bromund released an "issue brief" entitled "Five conservative principles that should guide US policy on Europe" where they claim that "a politically unified Europe is not in the interest of the United States."[8] In the brief they argue that the U.S. government should not back further integration in the European Union, especially in the areas of defense and foreign policy.[8] In an interview with the EUobserver, Bromund stated that US officials should not have any direct dealings with EU officials, only with member states[9] He even went as far as to dismiss High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, as "a non-entity who is not worthy of respect."[9]

Fighting Immigration Reform

As a response to the earned citizenship provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform bill under debate in the U.S. Senate as of May 2013, Robert Rector, a Heritage research fellow, and Jason Richwine, policy analyst, released a special report on immigration entitled "The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer". The co-authors estimated that the cost of offering a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants (part of a plan by a bipartisan group of senators to overhaul the immigration system), would create a “lifetime fiscal deficit” for the government of $6.3 trillion. This cost estimate is based on several big assumptions (that the majority of immigrants formerly in the country illegally will eventually use government programs for low-income Americans, for example) and was rejected by many conservatives.[10] The report was highly criticized by both the left and the right, with prominent conservatives speaking out against it.[10] Haley Barbour, a Republican leader and former governor of Mississippi, called the report a "political document" and stated, "This gigantic cost figure that the Heritage Foundation puts out is actually the cost over 50 years. If you put the 50-year cost of anything in front of the public, it is going to be a huge number."[10] Even anti-tax activist Grover Norquist denounced the study, claiming the cost estimate was "wildly overblown."[10] Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform spoke out against the report, aruging that the underlying analysis only focused on costs while ignoring all the benefits of the immigration bill.[11]

The study was further discredited when the Washington Post brought to light that co-author, Jason Richwine, had argued in his Harvard doctoral thesis, "IQ and Immigration Policy," that Hispanic immigrants have lower IQ's than white Americans and that the U.S. would ameliorate problems by only selecting high-IQ immigrants.[12] Amid the controversy, Richwine, resigned from the Heritage Foundation.[13] In the wake of Richwine's resignation and continued scrutiny from Republicans and conservative groups, Heritage has gone into full "damage-control" and is considering "hiring a high-profile public relations firm to help deal with the fallout of the report."[14]

Despite criticism, former Sen. Jim DeMint (R – S.C.) is standing by the controversial study saying, "There’s no doubt that these numbers are real.”[15]

Political Connections

Campaign Contributions

  • Thomas A. Saunders, III (Chairman of the Board of Trustees)
    • $26,700 Republican National Committee [16]
    • $4,700 Republican Party of Virginia, Inc[16]
    • $2,400 Bachman for Congress 2010[17]
    • $1,100 Crawford for Congress 2010[17]
    • $1,100 Bucshon for Congress 2010[17]
    • $50,000 Founders Joint Candidate Committee[17]
  • Phillip Truluck (Executive Vice President and Trustee)
    • $500 Bachmann for Congress 2010 [18]
    • $500 McCain-Palin Victory [19]


The Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation. In its annual report it states that "we rely on the financial contributions of the general public: individuals, foundations and corporations. We accept no government funds and perform no contract work."[20]

Between 2001 and 2010, the Foundation received $3.38 million from the conservative Bradley Foundation.[21]

With a long history of receiving large donations from overseas, Heritage continued to rake in a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars from Taiwan and South Korea each year through the 1990s, according to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.[22] In the autumn of 1988, the South Korean National Assembly uncovered a document revealing that Korean intelligence gave $2.2 million to the Heritage Foundation on the sly during the early 1980s.[23][24][25] Heritage officials "categorically deny" the accusation. Heritage's latest annual report does acknowledge a $400,000 grant from the Korean conglomerate Samsung. Another donor, the Korea Foundation -- which conduits money from the South Korean government -- gave Heritage almost $1 million from 1993 to 1996.[22]

There was also a connection between Heritage and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (founder of the "Moonies" as well as of the Washington Times). This first appeared in a 1975 congressional investigation on the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) activities in the US. The report noted, "In 1975, Ed Feulner ... was introduced to KCIA station chief Kim Yung Hwan by Neil Salonen and Dan Feffernan of the Freedom Leadership foundation". Salonen was head of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church in the United States. The Freedom Leadership Foundation (FLF), a political arm of Moon's Unification network, was linked to the World Anti-Communist League. In the early 1980s, the KCIA began making donations to Heritage Foundation. In turn, Heritage established an Asian Studies Center.[23][24]

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $72,170,983
  • Total Expenses: $80,033,828
  • Net Assets: $142,231,547


  • Total Revenue: $78,253,864
  • Total Expenses: $80,378,250
  • Net Assets: $164,819,678


  • Total Revenue: $69,230,717
  • Total Expenses: $69,042,685
  • Net Assets: $156,194,570


  • Total Revenue: $70,877,006
  • Total Expenses: $64,645,625
  • Net Assets: $133,216,138


  • Total Revenue: $65,765,247
  • Total Expenses: $47,229,280
  • Net Assets: $170,719,110


  • Revenue: over $25 million from individual contributors and $13.1 million from foundations
  • Expenses: $40.5 million

While corporations provided only $1.5 million -- 4% -- of Heritage’s contributions in 2006, they nonetheless have significant interest in the foundation's policy output. These include defense contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin, finance and insurance companies such as Allstate Insurance, Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, and American International Group (AIG), auto company Honda, tobacco company Altria Group (Philip Morris), drug and medical companies Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, oil companies ChevronTexaco and Exxon Mobil, software giant Microsoft, and -- chipping in over $100,000 each -- Alticor (Amway), Pfizer, PhRMA, and United Parcel Service (UPS).[31]

Historical Funding

Between 1985 and 2003, Media Transparency reports that the following contributors provided $57,497,537 (unadjusted for inflation) to the Heritage Foundation:

Right Web says of the Heritage Foundation:

"The foundation received $2. 2 million from the Federation of Korean Industries in the early 1980s. Initially it was believed this donation came from the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (which would make the Heritage Foundation a foreign agent of Korea), but the Federation later stated that the donation came at the encouragement of the KCIA."
"The Heritage Foundation's income has increased every year since 1981. The progression has been: 1981--$7. 1 million; 1982-$8. 6 million; 1983--$10. 6 million; 1984--$10. 7 million; 1985-$11. 6 million; 1986--$14. 0 million; 1987--$14. 3 million; and 1988--$14. 6 million. In 1988, foundations provided 38 percent of Heritage's income, individuals provided 34 percent, and corporations gave 17 percent; the remainder came from investments and sales of materials."[32]


As of April 2013:[33]

Board of Trustees

Executive Officers

  • Jim DeMint (former U.S. Sen. from SC), President
  • Phillip N. Truluck, Executive Vice President and Trustee
  • Edwin J. Feulner, Founder, long-time President and Trustee


  • Thomas A. Saunders III, Chairman
  • Richard M. Scaife, Vice Chairman (Publisher and Owner, Tribune-Review Publishing Co., Inc.)
  • J. Frederic Rench, Secretary (Board Member, Free Congress Foundation)
  • Meg Allen (Director, DRAMLA S.A)
  • Douglas F. Allison
  • Larry P. Arnn, Ph.D. (President, Hillsdale College)
  • The Hon. Belden H. Bell
  • Midge Decter
  • Edwin J. Feulner
  • Steve Forbes (President and Chief Executive Officer, Forbes Inc.)
  • Todd W. Herrick
  • Jerry Hume (Chairman of the Board, Basic American Inc.)
  • Kay Coles James
  • The Hon. J. William Middendorf II (Chairman, Middendorf and Company)
  • Abby Moffat
  • Nersi Nazari, Ph.D. (Founder & President, Pacific General Ventures)
  • Robert Pennington
  • Anthony J. Saliba (Executive Managing Director, ConvergEx Group)
  • William E. Simon, Jr. (Executive Director of William E. Simon & Sons LLC)
  • Brian Tracy (Founder, Brian Tracy International)
  • Phillip N. Truluck (Heritage Trustee since 2001; Executive Vice President, Heritage Foundation)
  • Barb Van Andel-Gaby (CEO, Peter Island Resort)
  • Marion Wells

Honorary Trustees


Senior Management

  • David S. Addington, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer
  • Stuart M. Butler Distinguished Fellow and Director, Center for Policy Innovation
  • James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, and Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies
  • Becky Norton Dunlop, Vice President, External Relations
  • John Fogarty, Vice President, Development
  • Michael Franc, Vice President, Government Relations
  • Mike Gonzalez, Vice President, Communications
  • Kim R. Holmes Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies
  • Geoffrey J. Lysaught, Vice President, Strategy and Finance
  • Derrick Morgan, Vice President, Domestic & Economic Policy
  • Robert Russell, Jr., Counselor to the President
  • Matthew Spalding, Vice President, American Studies and Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics
  • Michael Spiller, Vice President, Information Technology
  • Phillip N. Truluck, Executive Vice President and Trustee
  • John Von Kannon, Vice President and Senior Counselor
  • Genevieve Wood, Vice President, Marketing

Selected Fellows, "Experts," and Other Staff

  • Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society
  • Robert B. Bluey, Director, Digital Media, and Director, Center for Media and Public Policy
  • Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations
  • Peter Brookes, Senior Fellow, National Security Affairs
  • Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies
  • Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education
  • Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D., Distinguished Fellow and Director, Center for Policy Innovation
  • Elaine Chao, Distinguished Fellow
  • Dean Cheng, Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center
  • Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies
  • Helle C. Dale, Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy
  • Danielle Doane, Director, Government Studies and David L. Coffey Fellow in Government Studies
  • Lee Edwards, Ph.D., Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics
  • J.D. Foster, Ph.D., Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy
  • James L. Gattuso, Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy
  • Todd F. Gaziano, Director, Center for Legal & Judicial Studies
  • Steven Groves, Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow
  • Edmund F. Haislmaier, Senior Research Fellow, Health Policy Studies
  • Rea S. Hederman, Jr., Director, Center for Data Analysis and Lazof Family Fellow
  • David C. John, Senior Research Fellow in Retirement Security and Financial Institutions
  • Diane Katz, Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy
  • Christine Kim, Policy Analyst
  • Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia
  • Patrick Louis Knudsen, Grover M. Hermann Senior Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs
  • David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change
  • Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center
  • Ken McIntyre, Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi Fellow in Media and Public Policy Studies and Special Projects Editor
  • Jennifer A. Marshall, Director, Domestic Policy Studies
  • Ambassador Terry Miller, Director, Center for International Trade and Economics and the Mark A. Kolokotrones Fellow in Economic Freedom
  • Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Senior Fellow
  • David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis
  • Nina Owcharenko, Director, Center for Health Policy Studies and Preston A. Wells, Jr. Fellow
  • James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs
  • James M. Roberts, Research Fellow For Economic Freedom and Growth
  • Paul Rosenzweig, Visiting Fellow
  • Brett D. Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs Visiting Fellow
  • James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics
  • Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. Vice President, American Studies and Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics
  • Jack Spencer, Senior Research Fellow, Nuclear Energy Policy
  • Baker Spring, F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy
  • Charles "Cully" Stimson, Manager, National Security Law Program and Senior Legal Fellow
  • Bridgett Wagner, Director, Coalition Relations

Former Heritage Foundation Personnel

Contact Details

Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington DC 20002-4999
Phone: 202.546.4400
Fax: 202.546.8328
Email: info AT heritage.org
Web: http://www.heritage.org/

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

Recent Articles by the Heritage Foundation


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Case Studies

External Links

For further information, see relevant Neocon Europe page Heritage Foundation

External Articles

Search the Documents Archives of the Tobacco Industry
Legacy Tobacco Documents Library:


  1. "About Heritage", organizational website, accessed October 2012
  2. Heritage Foundation, Issues, organizational website, accessed April 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Johns, The Lessons of Afghanistan: Bipartisan Support for Freedom Fighters Pays Off, Policy Review, Heritage Foundation publication, March 1987, p. 32.
  4. Michael Johns, Angola at the Crossroads, Executive Memorandum #219, Heritage Foundation publication, November 18, 1988.
  5. Jonas Savimbi, The Coming Winds of Democracy in Angula, Lecture #217, Heritage Foundation publication, October 1, 1989.
  6. Rep. Dick Armey, Serfdom USA: How Far Have We Traveled Down Hayek's 'Road'?, Policy Review, Heritage Foundation publication, Summer 1994, p. 14.
  7. Jack Spencer, "Where Is Nuclear Energy in the Markey-Waxman Energy Bill?," Heritage.org, April 7, 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. and Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D.,Five conservative principles that should guide US policy on Europe, The Heritage Foundation, March 1, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 Benjamin Fox, US think tank: 'Let the eurozone fail', EUobserver, November 5, 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Julia Preston, "Estimate of Immigration Overhaul’s Cost Gets Mixed Reviews on Right", New York Times, May 6, 2013
  11. Americans for Tax Reform, "Immigration Analysis Should Include Costs and Benefits", organizational website, accessed May 2013
  12. Dylan Matthews, "Heritage study co-author opposed letting in immigrants with low IQs", Washington Post, May 8, 2013
  13. Allison MacDonald, "Heritage Foundation immigration study backfires", MSNBC, May 14 2013
  14. Anna Palmer and Kenneth P. Vogel, "Heritage Foundation does damage control", Politico, May 9, 2013
  15. Michael Falcone, "The Floodgates Open", ABC News, May 14, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 city-data.com Political Contributions: New York, NY 2006
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 city-data.com Political Contributions: Locust Valley, NY 2010
  18. city-data.com Political Contributions: Bethesda, MD 2010
  19. city-data.com Political Contributions: Washington, DC 2008
  20. Heritage Foundation, 2004 Annual Report, organizational annual financial report, March 2005, archived by the WayBack Machine October 26, 2005.
  21. Daniel Bice, Bill Glauber, Ben Poston, From local roots, Bradley Foundation builds conservative empire, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 28, 2011.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Norman Solomon, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, The Media's Favorite Think Tank: How the Heritage Foundation Turns Money into Media, Extra!, July 1, 1996.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Russ Bellant, The Coors Connection, Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1991, pp. 3-6.
  24. 24.0 24.1 David Corn and Jefferson Morley, Beltway Bandits (sub. req'd.), The Nation, January 23, 1989, p. 80.
  25. Christopher Georges, "Conservative Heritage Foundation Finds Recipe for Influence: Ideas Plus Marketing Equal Clout," Wall Street Journal, August 10 1995, p. 10.
  26. Heritage Foundation, 2011 Form 990, organizational IRS filing, September 27, 2012.
  27. Heritage Foundation, 2010 Form 990, organizational IRS filing, August 8, 2011.
  28. Heritage Foundation, 2009 Form 990, organizational IRS filing, September 14, 2010.
  29. Heritage Foundation, 2008 Form 990, organizational IRS filing, October 21, 2009.
  30. Heritage Foundation, 2007 Form 990, organizational IRS filing, May 12, 2008.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Heritage Foundation, 2006 Annual Report, organizational annual report, 2006, archived by the WayBack Machine March 8, 2010, p. 29.
  32. Institute for Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation, Right Web, organizational website, accessed June 2004.
  33. Heritage Foundation, About, organizational website, accessed April 2013.