Conservative Spotlight: Capital Research Center

CAPITAL RESEARCH CENTER There are rogue courts that impose their will on the American people regardless of the Constitution or the law. There are runaway government bureaucrats who spend their days trying to drive more American businesses overseas or into bankruptcy. And there are statist politicians who fund and encourage both. Governmental abuses have spawned a bumper crop of watchdog groups at the federal and state levels that monitor what all these public officials are up to. But the left has private sector strongholds as well: Big Media, Hollywood, schools, universities, and non-profit philanthropic and activist foundations, for example. The Capital Research Center (CRC) is the watchdog over the foundation world. “The big foundations are as bad as ever,” said Terry Scanlon, chairman and president of CRC. For example, the huge Ford Foundation funds far-left projects all over the world. Billionaire George Soros is active in financing left-wing causes. “He brings in these Princeton professors who advise him on where to give his money,” said Scanlon. There are not many large conservative foundations, which in any case are dwarfed by the left-leaning ones. “Bradley, Scaife, Olin,” Scanlon said, listing some of the major conservative foundations. He added that the Olin Foundation, designed not to be perpetual but to give away all its funds, is slated to disappear in two or three years. Why are big foundations, often founded by wealthy conservative businessmen such as Henry Ford or J. Howard Pew so leftist? “They hire liberals to work in these foundations,” said Scanlon. Even the family of former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle has a liberal running its foundation, he said. “They wanted a good foundation executive,” said Scanlon. “Liberals predominate in this work.” With 12 full-time staff members, CRC puts out reports and publications that expose what big foundations, environmentalist groups, political arms of labor unions, and similar groups are up to. In the past year, CRC’s work on Jesse Jackson’s machine “got a lot of attention,” said Scanlon. Not only does Jackson have $50,000-a-plate lunches on Wall Street for companies who don’t want to be accused of racism, but it turns out that NASCAR car racing has been paying Jackson off. “The way it started, as I understand it, is that they didn’t have any black drivers. So Jackson started threatening them,” said Scanlon. “And so NASCAR started giving them ‘diversity grants.’” Jackson’s most important groups are Rainbow/PUSH and the Citizenship Education Fund. Together, they have formed the Rainbow Sports pressure group. “Jesse Jackson has a history of inserting himself into sports-related controversies,” wrote Peter Flaherty in CRC’s April 2003 “Organization Trends.” “Mainly he has focused his attacks on the low numbers of blacks in coaching and management positions on professional sports teams and college football, blaming the situation on ‘a culture driven by white supremacists.’” With a fan base mostly of rural and often Southern whites which may explain the low minority participation rates, NASCAR has started funneling money to Jackson’s racial-grievance machine. “They’re still giving money. They gave two months ago,” said Scanlon. “The sports industry is being targeted because the protestors realize where the deep pockets are,” said Bob Huberty, executive vice president and director of research at CRC. Another example: the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund) sued the World Wresting Federation for having a similar logo—even though the logos were completely different except for the initials of “WWF.” The fund wants $90 million, as reported in the May 2003 CRC “Foundation Watch” newsletter. A new project to keep tabs on environmental groups “is going gangbusters,” said Scanlon. “It gets a lot of usage. We track funding, federal grants, sometimes boards of directors.” Greenwatch, to be found at, is an example of the advantages of the Internet. “The Internet and the technological revolution,” replied Huberty when asked what had changed most for CRC in recent years. “There is so much more information available, quickly.” But, said Huberty, “We want the federal government to make it easier to figure out to whom federal grants go.” Scanlon said that for the first time next year, the feds will have a number to identify every group in order to determine which federal agencies are giving it money. Huberty noted that the foundation world will not improve ideologically until conservatives focus efforts on it. “It used to be, most newspaper columnists were liberals,” he said. “That is no longer so much the case.” CRC may be reached at 1513 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 (202-483-6900; fax: 202-483-6902; e-mail:; website: