Amy Moritz Ridenour

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Amy Moritz Ridenour is President and Chairman of The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR). This lobbying operation is essentially a two-person think-tank run by herself and her partner David. Before her marriage to David A Ridenour (now Vice President of the NCPPR), she was a prominent conservative activist under her maiden name Amy Moritz. For most of her adult life she has been closely involved with the neo-con group of the Republican party, and more recently with organising and enlisting black movements to support these interests.

Most of her lobbying activities have been directed at Congress and the mainstream media. She has been a syndicated newspaper columnist working through the Tribune News Service [1], and in 1993-1994 she was co-host of Scoop, a public affairs show seen weekly on the public affairs television network National Empowerment Television.

The NCPPR also produces and distributes "National Policy Analysis" documents. It also has a Californian subsidiary known as "Project 21" [2] which is "an African American Leadership network." This organization has its own chairman (Edmund Peterson), but it appears to act independently under the control of a member, Kevin Martin/ Martin provided writing services for the corporate tort-reform movement. ( CALA and ATRA) [3], and the organization also expanded later into general political lobbying. [4][5]

Sources of Funding and Support

Amy Ridenour is obviously a superb fund-raiser who has managed to turn what was essentially a two-person, privately controlled, think-tank into a major organization of social and political influence. The NCPPR appears to act as both as a money-laundry and as a funding channel for payments being funnelled to subsidiaries, and to some loosely affiliated individuals and groups who do most of the actual work. The NCPPR's income vastly outweighs the possible expenses (it has very few permanent staff other than the two principles) and conservatives like Richard Mellon Scaife appears to use the organisation as a funding channel for their neo-con projects. [6]

Scaife's Carthage and Sarah Scaife Foundations have given the National Center for Public Policy Research between $30,000 and $100,000 every year since 1985, as have the Olin Foundation, Bradley Foundation and other ultra-conservative support foundations. [7]. These foundation-grants to the NCPPR were later matched by commercial organisations such as Philip Morris [8], Exxon, and other corporations and industry groups, many of which contribute generously for specific projects. See Sourcewatch National Center for Public Policy Research

Affiliations and Associations

According to her biographical notes, Amy Moritz Ridenour has served as:

  • Vice-Chairman of the International Youth Year Commission of the U.S. (1985);
  • Deputy Director of the College Republican National Committee; (1981 on)
  • Regional Coordinator for the Reagan/Bush 1980 campaign;
  • Chairman of the Maryland Federation of College Republicans
  • Maryland Republican State Central Committee member.

Amy Ridenour is also runs or is associated with the: [9]

  • Board of Directors of Black America's PAC, a political action committee that works to help elect more African-Americans to Congress and other elected offices.
  • Chairman of several of the conservative movement's strategy meetings,
    • including the Stanton meeting (foreign affairs and defense issues), and the
    • Family Forum meeting (social policy issues)".

Tobacco Industry links

For the tobacco industry, her speciality has been in countering the regulatory activities of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). She has excellent agency and Congressional contacts through the Republican party, and has provided information on the regulatory agencies on a regular basis to Philip Morris. [10] The "Buffy" in this memo is PM Corporate Affairs executive Kathleen Linehan.

Ridenour is described in a 1995 Philip Morris memo as "a willing ally". At this time they were developing coalitions and recruiting allies to fight against an Congressional inquiry into the possible FDA regulation of tobacco which was proposed as a way to reduce teenage smoking: [11]. The PM executive says:

"I just got a call from Amy Moritz, President, National Center for Public Policy Research, offering to use any information we can provide re the current anti-tobacco onslaught, particularly the actions and antics of [Rep. Henry] Waxman. Tom Borelli and I have both been in touch with Amy on various issues and are awaiting proposals for use of an Internet Website as an accessible repository of PM-related information."

It points out that her think-tank, the NCPPR:

... publishes a weekly "Scoop" on regulatory issues that goes to think-tankers, Hill staff and like-minded persons around the country. It also sends out bulleted talking points on current issues to some 700 radio and TV talk show hosts around the country, presenting them, of course, from a free enterprise point of view.

Josh Slavitt and David Laufer and I [all PM executives] have been trying to connect, to discuss the devetopment of such talking points to enable the Center to put them out to users. In any case, Amy is a willing ally and can be reached at 202/543-1286, or fax 543-4779, Let me know if we can help further.

Shortly after this exchange she began to play an active role in the political campaign against the Clinton proposals to combat teenage smoking. [12] She also published a pamplet questioning the administration's health-care priorities -- that of running an anti-smoking campaign when hard-drugs were still a major problem. [13] This focus on questioning priorities (as if they were mutually exclusive) was a common tactic used by tobacco industry, and was proving effectively against the World Health Organisation at this time. Her newspaper columns also attempted to bolster the cigarette companies case. [14] [15]

By 1996 she was working actively as a Congressional lobbyist for Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute [16], helping them develop both at the strategy and tactical levels on Capitol Hill. She was also assisting them in the formation of coalitions (with other industries) which would act seemingly independently of the tobacco companies while actually working on their behalf. [17]

This work on behalf of the tobacco industry continued into the turn of the century, well past the signing of the Master Settlement Agreement. In 1999 she was on the industry list as a potential spokesperson during an (anti-) Department of Justice mobilisation campaign to block the Clinton White House from taking legal action against the industry. [18] She clearly became deeply involved in this campaign [19] which was known in the tobacco industry as "Project Firestorm." [20] Iin January 1999 she was writing: [21]

""President Clinton says the purpose of the lawsuit is to raise money, but the Constitution plainly states that "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. By suing tobacco companies, President Clinton is clearly trying to raise revenue while bypassing the legislative branch, which is reluctant to raise taxes to the higher level President Clinton prefers."

"If President Clinton's lawsuit is successful, tobacco companies will be forced to raise prices. This is essentially a tax by another name. President Clinton claims to be motivated by health concerns, but if he truly was, he wouldn't want the federal government to keep money taken from tobacco companies. Instead, he'd use any money he gets from tobacco to fund tax cuts for low and lower-middle income Americans. This policy would achieve the President's goal of raising cigarette prices without hurting lower income Americans. But the President isn't interested in this option. He'd rather keep the money."

She also wrote many letters to the editor of newspapers like the New York Times, and others to potentially-compliant Congressmen who might be persuaded to act on behalf of the industry. [22]

Climate denial

With the progressive collapse of any credibility attached to support of the tobacco industry, Amy Ridenour has increasingly turned towards supporting the corporate climate deniers. Her organization ran a major "command" and "information center" at the Kyoto Earth Summit which broadcast environmental backlash message about the global negotiations to limit global warming.

This center was billed as a technological hub for information on climate change and provided many contect, information and communications services to jouralists covering the conference. During the Kyoto negotiations, NCPPR began broadcasting a series of reports, including a daily e-mail description of conference events. These were run in association with Bonner Cohen of EPA Watch -- a former project of Philip Morris, which had been funded and conducted through the far-right American Policy Center under the ultimate control of [APCO & Associates]. This was all in association with Steve Milloy, who was working against Kyoto through The Advancement of Sound ScienceCoalition (TASSC).[Cohen was later TASSC's nominal 'President']

Ridenour also established Envirotruth which was "dedicated to injecting badly needed truth into the debate about our environment. For too long, some environmental groups have seized the world stage and the public's attention by distorting facts, bending the truth and even committing acts of terrorism against innocent citizens" it said. [23]


Associates

  • Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist - in the formation and control of the College Republican National Committee in 1981. There was a brief falling out in the early 1980s, but Norquist is still a close friend, and Abramoff later become a director of the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR). Moritz married her fellow College Republican David A. Ridenour, who helped in the establishment of the NCPPR.
  • Doug Bandow - a journalist with the Washington Times, who was also a syndicated newspaper columnist, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Bandow had been a Special Assistant to President Reagan and acted as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Reagan campaign, and then for the Office of the President-Elect during the transition period.
According to Business Week (in 2005), Bandow worked for Jack Abramoff, and was "typically paid $2,000 per column to address specific topics of interest to Abramoff’s clients. [He] wrote favorably about Abramoff’s Indian tribal clients — as well as another Abramoff client, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands — as far back as 1997." Bandow never disclosed the Abramoff payments in his op-eds or to the Cato Institute. .[24]
  • Philip Morris International, Corporate Affairs staff (the dirty-tricks division).

Formal Affiliations

Subsidiaries and Operations

  • John P. McGovern M.D. Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs [27]
This is also known simply as the Environmental and Regulatory Affairs which was originally named the Environmental Policy Task Force "to counter misinformation being spread to the public and policymakers by the environmental left".
    • Global Warming Information Center is a project of the John P. McGovern M.D. Center [28]
    • Earth Day Information Center. [29]
  • Project 21 - which is effectively a subsidiary of the NCPPR "...working with the African-American leadership group [Project 21] looks for and publicizes examples in which environmental and regulatory policies have a disproportionate negative impact upon minorities and lower-income Americans.
  • Center for Environmental Justice - [30]
  • Envirotruth [31]

Publications and On-line

  • SCOOP® Newsletter [32]
  • The Relief Report [33]
  • Budget Watch - Providing a truth dectector in the ongoing battle over federal spending. [34]
  • Legal Briefs - The newsletter that monitors the legal system that rules our lives. [35]


Related articles

Tobacco support [36] National Policy Analysis (NPA) papers by Ridenour include:

  • NPA #201, "80% of the Public Isn't Wrong: Big Law is Overpaid,"
  • NPA #198. "Ironies of the Tobacco Wars,"
  • NPA #195, "Lawyers' Fees in Tobacco Case Should be Capped."
  • NPA #186, "Maryland's Stack the Deck; Legal Approach is Not in Taxpayers' Best Interest,"
  • NPA #175 "Government Use of Contingency Fee Lawyers Works Against Public Interest,"
  • NPA #171, "Without Reform, Trial Lawyers, Not States or Individuals. Will be Biggest Winners from Tobacco

Settlement."

Other National Center papers on the tobacco issue include:

  • NPA #220 "A Taxing Proposition: Should the Working Poor Finance New Government Spending" bv Faye Anderson.
  • NPA #149 "Demon Tobacco" by Doug Bandow,
  • NPA #147, "Food and Drug Administration Takes on the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments." bv Nate Stewart.


Sources

  • Conservatives Without Conscience, by John Dean, Viking Press (See p141)

External links