Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

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The Manhattan Institute (MI) is a right-wing 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank founded in 1978 by William J. Casey, who later became President Ronald Reagan's CIA director.[1] It is an associate member of the State Policy Network.

According to the Manhattan Institute, it is "focused on promoting free-market principles" and has a mission to "develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility."[2]

"The Manhattan Institute concerns itself with such things as 'welfare reform' (dismantling social programs), 'faith-based initiatives' (blurring the distinction between church and state), and 'education reform' (destroying public education)," Kurt Nimmo wrote October 10, 2002, in CounterPunch.[3]

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The Manhattan Institute has received funding from the Koch brothers. The Claude R. Lambe Foundation, one of the Koch Family Foundations, reported giving $2,075,000 to the Manhattan Institute between 2001 and 2012, the last year for which data is available. The Charles G. Koch Foundation gave $100,000 to the Institute in 2012.


Cutting Ties over Pension Plans

Cliff Asness, Henry Kravis, and Thomas McWilliams said they would cut ties with the Manhattan Institute in 2013 over the organization's calls to abolish defined benefit public pension plans. According to the New York Post, "The moves come after the American Federation of Teachers in April (2013) called out 33 top money managers for backing efforts to eliminate public pensions -- while soliciting their investment dollars."[4]

Asness, who is the founder of AQR, said he would not renew his term on Manhattan's board of trustees when it expires in 2014, and McWilliams, who is a managing partner at Court Square, resigned from the Institute's board.[4]

Meanwhile, one hedge-fund manager and Institute board member, Dan Loeb, refused to back down or give in to calls from the AFT to resolve his apparent conflict of interest -- that is, his position at Third Point, which wants access to pension fund investments, and his position at Manhattan, which supports privatization of pension funds and government services.[4]

Immigration: Covering All the Bases

In 2007, the New York Times reported, "In the think-tank world, a leading advocate of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is Tamar Jacoby..., an expert at the conservative Manhattan Institute. One of the most implacable voices against any such 'amnesty' is Heather Mac Donald -- also of the Manhattan Institute."[5]

While many of the Institute's fellows do not hold an anti-immigration stance, they do oppose "government programs intended to accommodate immigrant concerns, such as bi-lingual education."[6]

"The organization has attacked . . . immigrant support programs as obstacles to full social integration and to the benefits of the market system."[6] However, the Institute is in favor of reforming the U.S. immigration system and has written of the economic benefits of migration.[7]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Manhattan Institute's Senior Fellow and Director of its Center for Medical Progress, Paul Howard, spoke at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference in a Workshop titled "Rationing By Any Other Name: Medicare's Independent Payment Advisory Board." He co-led the panel with the Pacific Research Institute's Director of Health Care Studies, John Graham (the Pacific Research Institute is also a State Policy Network member).[8]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Financiers of Neo-conservatism

The "financing of neo-conservatism doesn't come from D.C.", Mark Gerson is quoted as saying in the April 27, 2003, New York Observer. "Instead, said Mr. Gerson, it comes from New York moneymen like Bruce Kovner, chairman of the Caxton Corporation, and Roger Hertog, the vice chairman of Alliance Capital Management. Last year, both financiers helped fund a new newspaper, The New York Sun, now fighting its anti-liberal battle with its New York Times –counterprogrammed slogan, 'A Different Point of View.' Both Mr. Kovner and Mr. Hertog also chipped in to join neoliberal Martin Peretz as co-owners of The New Republic. Mr. Kovner and Mr. Hertog, as enlightened neoconservative businessmen-intellectuals, are also on the board [of trustees] of the Manhattan Institute, where Mr. Gerson and William Kristol are also trustees, as well as the Washington, D.C.–based American Enterprise Institute."[9]

War on Terrorism: "Axis of Evil"

In 2001, David Frum left the Manhattan Institute "to join the Bush administration as a speechwriter. It was there that he coined the term "axis of evil" to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. This became the signature phrase of President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech and shorthand for Bush's war on terrorism."[10]

Ties to Big Tobacco

Tobacco industry documents reveal relationships between the Manhattan Institute and tobacco companies. The Institute sought funding from tobacco companies, including Brown & Williamson,[11] and has received funding from R.J. Reynolds.[12] In 1991, Lorillard, Inc. budgeted a $4,000 contribution to the Manhattan Institute[13] and the same amount in 1996.[14] Philip Morris budgeted $25,000 for the Institute in 1995.[15]

A 1997 R.J. Reynolds memo reveals RJR's intent to use the Manhattan Institute as a third party to help the company reduce the public's perception of danger from exposure to secondhand smoke:

"Devise ways to educate the public about epidemiology and put risk in perspective. For example, work with Steven J. Milloy, Michael Fumento, CEI Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute and others to put together a 1/2-hour or 1-hour TV show explaining epi[demiology] and risk. Create an epi/risk website to educate the general public, maybe working with the Harvard School of Public Health. Do the same for journalists."[16]


The Institute describes its policy agenda over its 25-year history as having spanned "taxes, welfare, crime, the legal system, urban life, race, education, and many other topics. We have won new respect for market-oriented policies and helped make reform a reality."[17]

In its publication Buying a Movement, People for the American Way describes the Manhattan Institute's agenda as advocating for "privatization of sanitation services and infrastructure maintenance, deregulation in the area of environmental and consumer protection, school vouchers and cuts in governmental spending on social welfare programs; it is a preferred source of information'" for then-New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.[18]

The organization describes its communication strategy as being based around the strengths of its "senior fellows": "Their provocative books, reviews, interviews, speeches, articles, and op-ed pieces have been the main vehicle for communicating our message."[17]

"Books are central to our approach. We make every effort to ensure that our authors are published by respected trade publishers and that their books receive as much review attention and publicity as possible. Nothing allows us to make a sustained, comprehensive argument more effectively," the website states.[17]

Charles Murray -- an author whom CounterPunch calls "a far right ideologue who wrote The Bell Curve in 1984, a book that essentially argues black people are genetically and intellectually inferior to white people" -- was based at the Manhattan Institute while writing the book Losing Ground.[1]


Between 2001 and 2010, the Manhattan Institute received more than $3 million from the conservative Bradley Foundation[19].

Between 1985 and 2005, the Institute received $20,579,883 (unadjusted for inflation) in a total of 294 grants from a small group of right-wing foundations.[20]

The following organizations had given donations to the Manhattan Institute as of 2005:[20]

Other Affiliations


Board of Trustees

As of June 2014:[26]


Key staff as of June 2014:[27]

Fellows and Scholars

As of June 2013:[28]

  • Brian C. Anderson, Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Rick Baker, Adjunct Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (St. Petersburg, Florida)
  • Michael Knox Beran, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Claire Berlinski, Contributing Editor, City Journal (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor, City Journal (Cailfornia)
  • Lester Brickman, Visiting Scholar, Center for Legal Policy (New York City)
  • Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow, Center for Energy Policy and the Environment (New York City)
  • James R. Copland, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Legal Policy (New York City)
  • Theodore Dalrymple, Contributing Editor, City Journal
  • Daniel DiSalvo, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (New York City)
  • Richard C. Dreyfuss, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (Pennsylvania)
  • Stephen D. Eide, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (New York City)
  • Richard A. Epstein, Visiting Scholar, Manhattan Institute (New York City)
  • Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Chairman, Project FDA (New York City)
  • Ted Frank, Adjunct Fellow, Center for Legal Policy (New York City)
  • Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute (Washington, D.C.)
  • Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Edward Glaeser, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (Boston)
  • Richard Greenwald, Adjunct Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (Newark, NJ)
  • Victor Davis Hanson, Contributing Editor, City Journal (California)
  • Stephanie Hessler, Adjunct Fellow, Manhattan Institute (New York City)
  • Paul Howard, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Medical Progress (New York City)
  • Peter W. Huber, Senior Fellow, Center for Medical Progress , Center for Energy Policy and the Environment, Center for Legal Policy (Hanover, NH)
  • Howard Husock, Vice President, Policy Research, Manhattan Institute (New York City)
  • Kay S. Hymowitz, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Stefan Kanfer, Contributing Editor, City Journal
  • George L. Kelling, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (New York City)
  • Andrew Klavan, Contributing Editor, City Journal (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Joel Kotkin, Contributing Editor, City Journal (California)
  • John Leo, Senior Fellow, Center for the American University (New York City)
  • Herbert London, Senior Fellow, Center for the American University (New York City)
  • Heather Mac Donald, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Myron Magnet, Editor-at-large, City Journal (New York City)
  • Steven Malanga, Senior Fellow and Senior Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • James Manzi, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute (Boston, MA)
  • Edmund J. McMahon, Senior Fellow and Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy (Albany/New York City)
  • John H. McWhorter, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Judith Miller, Adjunct Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Mark Mills, Senior Fellow, (New York City)
  • James Piereson, Senior Fellow, Director, Center for the American University (New York City)
  • Avik Roy, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute (New York City)
  • Fred Siegel, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Guy Sorman, Contributing Editor, City Journal
  • Harry Stein, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Sol Stern, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • William J. Stern, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
  • Jacob Vigdor, Adjunct Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (North Carolina)
  • Marcus Winters, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (New York City)
  • Luigi Zingales, Contributing Editor, City Journal (Chicago, IL)

See also: Manhattan Institute senior scholars

Contact Information

Manhattan Institute
52 Vanderbilt Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212 599-7000
FAX: 212 599-3494
E-mail: mi AT

Manhattan Institute Websites

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles











External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Spectrum Policy: Property or Commons?" Sponsors: Manhattan Institute, Stanford University, undated; accessed August 16, 2007.
  2. "Right Wing Organizations: Manhattan Institute, People for the American Way.
  3. Kurt Nimmo, "What She Really Said. Condoleezza Rice at the Waldorf Astoria," CounterPunch, October 10, 2002.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Michelle Celarier, "Hedgies cut ties with think tank," New York Post, June 10, 2013.
  5. Jeff Jacoby, "The fight is on the right," New York Times, June 20, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 People for the American Way, "Manhattan Institute for Policy Research", Right Wing Watch organizational website, accessed June 2013.
  7. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "The Economic Benefits of Immigration", organizational article, February 18, 2013.
  8. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Workshops, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
  9. Joe Hagan, "President Bush's Neoconservatives Were Spawned Right Here in N.Y.C., New Home of the Right-Wing Gloat," The New York Observer, April 27, 2003.
  10. Joshua Brustein, "Think Tanks," Gotham Gazette, March 29, 2003.
  11. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: Hammett W., Manhattan Institute, Letter to Prichard R., B&W, August 20, 1986.
  12. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: RJ Reynolds, "Corporate Contribution to the Manhattan Institute", Letter to Haver DG, August 19, 1998.
  13. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: Stevens AJ, Lorillard, "Budget", October 19, 1990.
  14. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: Stevens AJ, Lorillard, "Budget - Dues and Donations", October 25, 1995.
  15. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: Phillip Morris, "Public Policy Grants", October 18, 2001.
  16. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: Moskowitz SW, "Here's a summary of the ideas we discussed yesterday at the first legal/legislative/science brainstorming session", January 15, 1997.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Manhattan Institute, About, organizational website.
  18. Media Transparency, Recipient Profile: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc., organizational website, last accessed August 16, 2007.
  19. Daniel Bice, Bill Glauber, Ben Poston. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. November 28, 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Media Transparency, Recipient Grants: Manhattan Institute, organizational profile, data updated August 16, 2007, archived by the WayBack Machine May 4, 2008.
  21. Research and Evaluation - Grant: Manhattan Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, August 5, 2004.
  22. Grant Recipients: Manhattan Institute from the Randolph Foundation, Media Transparency: $128,375 - 6 grants between 1999 and 2005.
  23. Grant Recipients: Manhattan Institute from the Carthage Foundation, Media Transparency: $693,000 - 15 grants between 1985 and 2002.
  24. Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, ITFIAF, organizational website.
  25. State Policy Network, Directory: Manhattan Institute, organizational website, accessed 2012.
  26. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Board of Trustees", organizational website, accessed June 3, 2014
  27. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Staff Directory", organizational website, accessed June 3, 2014
  28. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Experts", organizational website, accessed June 2013
  29. Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel), "Judy Finally Gets Her Wingnut Welfare!!" The Next Hurrah Blog, July 22, 2007: Miller is "a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute's City Journal".

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