The Heritage Foundation is in turmoil. The Federalist lays out the battle lines.
There are two narratives being spun about the current turmoil at the Heritage Foundation.
The narrative Politico offers: … Heritage is in disarray as a result of DeMint’s decisions since taking over several years ago. DeMint destroyed the organization’s brand as an esteemed think tank, prioritized politics over research.
That’s the public narrative.
The narrative offered independently is quite different … the exact opposite of what has thus far been peddled in the media. It all starts with Ed Feulner’s creation of Heritage Action in 2010 and his decision to let Mike Needham, a brash former Rudy Giuliani operative, control the new operation. Contrary to the media narrative floated last week that DeMint needlessly politicized Heritage and turned it into a brass-knuckle political combat group instead of a policy-focused think tank, sources say Needham bears much of the blame for politicizing Heritage.
The push to boot DeMint comes as Heritage has re-established itself as the most powerful and influential think tank on the conservative side of the political spectrum.
“The Heritage Foundation might be the biggest winner of 2016,” the Washington Examiner noted after Trump was elected last November. “While others turned their nose up at Trump, they were the ones reading the electorate.”
Rather than allowing political operatives to take over Heritage’s operations, as the anti-DeMint narrative goes, DeMint actually stood firm against desires the political staff at the 501(c)(4), developed a relationship with Trump’s team, and as a result ended up turning Heritage into the de facto policy arm of the new Republican administration. What more could a conservative think tank’s donors ask for than the freedom to research and recommend conservative policy and the ability and influence to see it adopted by a new president?
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