Foundation for Economic Education

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The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is a right-wing 501(c)3 educational foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia. FEE is an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).[1]

Founded in 1946, FEE was the first modern think tank established in the United States specifically to promote, research and promulgate free market and libertarian ideas. It continues to do so through its monthly magazine, The Freeman, as well as through pamphlets, lectures, and academic sponsorship. It also publishes reprints of classic libertarian texts, and arranges seminars for American public figures. "Additionally, FEE supports and connects our alumni through the FEE Alumni Network, provides professional development opportunities through internships and networking, and recognizes our most extraordinary alumni leaders with the annual Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award."[2]

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The Foundation for Economic Education is listed as a partner organization of the Charles Koch Institute.[3]

FEE has received funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation:

  • $31,000 in 2014
  • $7,000 in 2010
  • $15,767 in 2009
  • $8,000 in 2000
  • $5,000 in 1999

FEE has also received funding from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, "two funds that have been closely tied to the Kochs but which obscure the percentage of their grants coming from Koch money.[4]

State Policy Network

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of April 2023, SPN's membership totals 163. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2022 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $152 million.[5] Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[6]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[7]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[8]


FEE was founded in 1946 by Leonard Read, general manager of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, for whom "the free-enterprise philosophy had already become almost a religion".[9] FEE's initial officers included Read as president, Henry Hazlitt as vice-president, and B.F. Goodrich chairman David Goodrich as chairman.

Many libertarians have credited Read's effort as one of the bases for the international post-War libertarian movement. For instance, Friedrich Hayek was apparently inspired partly by FEE when he formed the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947.

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $5,295,358
  • Total Expenses: $3,792,746
  • Net Assets: $7,920,010


  • Total Revenue: $4,774,708
  • Total Expenses: $3,823,955
  • Net Assets: $6,984,585


  • Total Revenue: $3,244,787
  • Total Expenses: $3,042,977
  • Net Assets: $5,719,688


Foundation for Economic Education is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:


FEE's Board of Directors and officers as of the organization's 2014 tax filing:[10]

  • Roger Ream, Chair
  • Harry Langenberg, Vice Chair
  • Peter Boettke
  • Stephen Hennessey
  • Chris Talley
  • Ingrid Gregg
  • Michael Yashko
  • Don Smith
  • Kris Allen Mauren
  • Sarah Atkins
  • John Westerfield
  • Jay Bowen III


  • Wayne Olson, Executive Director
  • Richard Lorenc, Chief Operating Officer
  • Larry Reed, President
  • Ingrid Gregg, Secretary
  • Michael Yashko, Treasurer


FEE's current staff is listed on the organization's website.

Former Staff As of 2011 the following were listed as staff: [13]

  • Lawrence Reed, President, since 2008
  • Carl Oberg, Executive Director
  • Linda Newton, Director of Human Resource & Finance
  • Sheldon Richman, Editor, The Freeman &
  • Michael Nolan, Managing Editor, The Freeman &
  • Tsvetelin Tsonevski, Director of Academic Affairs
  • Anna Cuthrell, Director of Programs
  • Chuck Grimmett, Director of Web Media

Former Officers

Initial Officers

Initial Staff




Employer Identification Number (EIN): 13-6006960

Foundation for Economic Education
1819 Peach Tree Road NE, Suite 300
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Phone: (404).554.9980
Twitter: @feeonline


Related SourceWatch articles

External articles


  1. State Policy Network, Directory, organization website, accessed January 11, 2017.
  2. Foundation for Economic Education, About, organizational website, accessed January 11, 2017.
  3. Charles Koch Institute, Partner Organizations, organizational website, accessed January 11, 2017.
  4. Progress Florida and Center for Media and Democracy, The James Madison Institute and the Foundation for Government Accountability: Lawmaking under the Influence of Very Special Interests, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  5. David Armiak, State Policy Network and Affiliates Raises $152 Million Annually to Push Right-Wing Policies, ExposedbyCMD, September 30, 2022.
  6. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  7. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  8. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  9. Early history, FEE.ORG.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Foundation for Economic Education, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, December 15, 2015.
  11. Foundation for Economic Education, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, February 6, 2015.
  12. Foundation for Economic Education, 2012 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, December 6, 2013.
  13. Foundation for Economic Education Website About Staff page Accessed June 2012.