Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
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. 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."
"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.
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.
- 1 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 2 Controversies
- 3 Immigration: Covering All the Bases
- 4 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 5 Financiers of Neo-conservatism
- 6 War on Terrorism: "Axis of Evil"
- 7 Ties to Big Tobacco
- 8 History
- 9 Funding
- 10 Other Affiliations
- 11 Personnel
- 12 Contact Information
- 13 Resources and Articles
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
"The organization has attacked . . . immigrant support programs as obstacles to full social integration and to the benefits of the market system." However, the Institute is in favor of reforming the U.S. immigration system and has written of the economic benefits of migration.
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).
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 ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org 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."
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."
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, and has received funding from R.J. Reynolds. In 1991, Lorillard, Inc. budgeted a $4,000 contribution to the Manhattan Institute and the same amount in 1996. Philip Morris budgeted $25,000 for the Institute in 1995.
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."
The Manhattan Institute was founded by Antony Fisher. Jane Mayer documents this in her book Dark Money when she writes, "Fisher would go on to found another 150 or so free-market think tanks around the world, including the Manhattan Institute in New York, to which both Scaife and other conservative philanthropists would become major contributors. The Sarah Scaife Foundation in fact for many years was the Manhattan Institute's single largest contributor. The donations paid off, from Scaife's viewpoint, when they helped launch the careers of the conservative social critic Murray and the supply-side economics guru George Gilder, whose arguments against welfare programs and taxes had huge impacts on ordinary Americans."
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."
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.
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."
"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.
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.
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.
The following organizations had given donations to the Manhattan Institute as of 2005:
- Armstrong Foundation
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Brady Education Foundation, Inc.
- Castle Rock Foundation
- Earhart Foundation
- F.M. Kirby Foundation
- Gilder Foundation
- Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation
- Hickory Foundation
- Jaquelin Hume Foundation
- John Templeton Foundation
- John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
- JM Foundation
- Koch Family Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Foundation)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
- Randolph Foundation
- Roe Foundation
- Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation
- Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife, Carthage)
- Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation
- Smith Richardson Foundation
- Walton Family Foundation
- William E. Simon Foundation
- William H. Donner Foundation
Board of Trustees
As of July 2016:
- Paul E. Singer, Chairman of the Board, Elliott Management Corporation
- Michael J. Fedak, Vice Chairman
- Charles H. Brunie, (Chairman emeritus), Brunie Associates
- Lawrence J. Mone, President
- Andrew Cader, New York City
- Ann J. Charters, New York City
- Anthony P. Coles, DLA Piper
- Ravenel Curry, Eagle Capital Management, LLC
- Timothy G. Dalton, Jr., Dalton, Greiner, Hartman, Maher & Co.
- Sean M. Fieler, Analyst, Equinox Management Partners, L.P.
- Kenneth M. Garschina, Principal, Mason Capital Management
- Kenneth B. Gilman, New York City
- Harvey Golub, Chairman, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC
- Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman & CEO, C.V. STARR & Co., Inc.
- Fleur Harlan, New York City
- Roger Kimball, The New Criterion
- William Kristol, Editor & Founder, The Weekly Standard
- Daniel Loeb, Third Point, LLC
- David Malpass, Encima Global, LLC
- Rebekah Mercer
- Jay H. Newman, Elliott Management Corporation
- Rodney Nichols, New York City
- Nick Ohnell, Ohnell Family Foundation
- Robert Rosenkranz, Chairman, Delphi Financial Group, Inc.
- Nathan E. Saint-Amand, M.D., New York City
- Thomas W. Smith, Prescott Investors
- Donald G. Tober, Chairman of the Board, Sugar Foods Corporation
- Bruce G. Wilcox, Chairman, Management Committee, Cumberland Associates, LLC
- Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO, The Partnership for New York City
- Richard Gilder, (Chairman emeritus), Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co. LLC
- Roger Hertog, (Chairman emeritus), New York City
- Dietrich Weismann, (Chairman emeritus), Weismann Associates, LLC
- Clifford S. Asness, AQR Capital Management, LLC
- Brian Miller
Key staff as of July 2016:
- Lawrence J. Mone, President
- Vanessa Mendoza, Executive Vice President
- Brian Anderson, Editor, City Journal
- Michael Barreiro, Vice President of Operations
- Leigh Harrington, Vice President, Communications & Marketing
- Howard Husock, Vice President, Research & Publications
- Troy Senik, Vice President, Policy & Programs
Former Senior Staff
- Michael Allegretti, Vice President of Programs
- James Copland, Director, Center for Legal Policy
- Molly M. Harsh, Director of Programs, Adam Smith Society
- Timothy Hoefer, Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Paul Howard, Director, Center for Medical Progress
- Jessica Perry, Director of Development
Fellows and Scholars
As of July 2016:
- Brian C. Anderson, Editor, City Journal
- Michael Knox Beran, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor, City Journal
- Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow, Center for Energy Policy and the Environment
- Oren Cass, Senior Fellow
- Dr. Tom Coburn, Advisor, Project FDA
- James R. Copland, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Legal Policy
- Theodore Dalrymple, Dietrich Weismann Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Daniel DiSalvo, Senior Fellow
- Max Eden, Senior Fellow
- Stephen D. Eide, Senior Fellow
- Richard A. Epstein, Visiting Scholar
- Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Advisor & Former Chairman, Project FDA
- Yevgeniy Feyman, Adjunct Fellow
- Ted Frank, Adjunct Fellow,
- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow and Director, Economics21
- Nicole Gelinas, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Edward Glaeser, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Isaac Gorodetski, Director, State and Local Policy
- Victor Davis Hanson, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Stephanie Hessler, Adjunct Fellow
- Paul Howard, Senior Fellow and Director, Health Policy
- Peter W. Huber, Senior Fellow
- Howard Husock, Vice President, Research & Publications and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Kay S. Hymowitz, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- George L. Kelling, Senior Fellow
- Heather Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Myron Magnet, Editor-at-large, City Journal
- Steven Malanga, Senior Fellow and Senior Editor, City Journal
- Jim Manzi, Senior Fellow
- Josh B. McGee, Senior Fellow
- Edmund J. McMahon, Senior Fellow
- Jared Meyer, Senior Fellow
- Judith Miller, Adjunct Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Mark Mills, Senior Fellow
- Lawrence J. Mone, President
- Aaron M. Renn, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Jason L. Riley, Senior Fellow
- Charles Upton Sahm, Director, Education Policy
- Peter D. Salins, Senior Fellow
- Fred Siegel, Senior Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Guy Sorman, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Sol Stern, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- John Tierney, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Jacob Vigdor, Adjunct Fellow
- Adam White, Adjunct Fellow and Contributing Editor, City Journal
- Scott Winship, Walter B. Wriston Fellow
- Marcus A. Winters, Senior Fellow
See also: Manhattan Institute senior scholars
Former Fellows and Scholars
- Rick Baker, Adjunct Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (St. Petersburg, Florida)
- Claire Berlinski, Contributing Editor, City Journal (Istanbul, Turkey)
- Lester Brickman, Visiting Scholar, Center for Legal Policy (New York City)
- Richard C. Dreyfuss, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (Pennsylvania)
- Richard Greenwald, Adjunct Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (Newark, NJ)
- Stefan Kanfer, Contributing Editor, City Journal
- 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)
- John H. McWhorter, Contributing Editor, City Journal (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)
- Harry Stein, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
- William J. Stern, Contributing Editor, City Journal (New York City)
- Marcus Winters, Senior Fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership (New York City)
- Luigi Zingales, Contributing Editor, City Journal (Chicago, IL)
52 Vanderbilt Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212 599-7000
FAX: 212 599-3494
Manhattan Institute Websites
Resources and Articles
Related SourceWatch Articles
- American Legislative Exchange Council
- State Policy Network
- John J. DiIulio Jr.
- Judith Miller
- Pete Hegseth
- Vets for Freedom Action Fund
- Matt Taibbi, "Looting the Pension Funds," Rolling Stone, September 26, 2013.
- Stephanie Mencimer, "Another Reporter Falls for the Manhattan Institute," The Tortellini, February 6, 2007.
- Darvin Dowdy, "Tamar Jacoby - At It Again...," Street Level Blog/Townhall.com, May 17, 2007.
- "Welcome to the PR Machine," Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look Blogspot, June 7, 2007.
- Frank R. Lichtenberg, "Yes, New Drugs Save Lives," Washington Post, July 11, 2007.
- Patrick Sullivan, "Bloomberg Record on Education Attacked by Manhattan Institute Scholar," NYC Public School Parents Blogspot, July 24, 2007.
- Jay Matthews, "English, Math Time Up in 'No Child' Era. 44% of Schools Polled Reduce Other Topics," Washington Post, July 25, 2007.
- Lawrence Mone, Letter to the Editor: "A Think Tank's Scholarship," Washington Post, August 8, 2007.
- News Release: Vice President's Remarks on Iraq and the War on Terror at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, The Grand Hyatt New York, New York, New York, Office of the Vice President, January 19, 2006.
- Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, "The Boys Left Behind. The gender graduation gap," National Review Online, April 19, 2006.
- "Met police chief defiant over job," BBC Online, June 21, 2006.
- Michael Barbaro and Stephanie Strom, "Wal-Mart Finds an Ally in Conservatives," New York Times, September 8, 2006. re WalMart Stores
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- Heather Mac Donald, "Heather Mac Donald responds to Marty Lederman on Abu Ghraib and U.S. interrogation policies," City Journal, January 13, 2005.
- Alex Chadwick, "Defending Bush's Treatment of Enemy Combatants," NPR, January 24, 2005.
- Howard Kurtz, "Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract," Washington Post, January 26, 2005.
- Eric Boehlert, "Third columnist caught with hand in the Bush till. Michael McManus, conservative author of the syndicated column 'Ethics & Religion,' received $10,000 to promote a marriage initiative," Salon, January 27, 2005.
- "McManus and Gallagher have more in common than Bush administration contracts," Media Matters for America, January 28, 2005.
- "BG Medicine Participates as a Member of the '21st Century FDA Task Force'," BG Medicine, March 7, 2005.
- Philip Weiss, "George Soros’s Right-Wing Twin," New York Magazine, August 1, 2005: "Multibillionaire commodities king Bruce Kovner is the patron saint of the neoconservatives, the new Lincoln Center’s crucial Medici, owner of a vast Fifth Avenue mansion—and the most powerful New Yorker you’ve never heard of."
- Press Release: "Earned Legalization and Increased Border Security is Key to Immigration Reform According to Republican Voters: New Poll," Manhattan Institute, October 17, 2005.
- Craig Nelson, "MI: turning corporate cash into influence. Phony Poll-oney: The latest attempt to mislead from Ed Goeas and that clever Tamar Jacoby," projectusa, October 18, 2005.
- Nicholas Confessore, "Giuliani Guide Is Bloomberg Gadfly," New York Times, October 25, 2005.
- Tim Wise, "Of Broken Clocks and Conservatives," ZMag, March 2, 2004.
- Joel Stashenko, "Think tank: Reform doomed without teacher contract changes," Associated Press (Boston Globe), July 13, 2004.
- "The City That Conservatives Built," Gotham Gazette Campaign and Convention Blog, August 24, 2004.
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- George F. Will, "Can We Make Iraq Democratic?" City Journal, Winter 2004.
- Ralph Z. Hallow, "Not All Conservatives on Board on Iraq," The Washington Times (GlobalExchange.org), February 12, 2003. Note: MI had not voiced dissent.
- Condoleezza Rice, Wriston Lecture: "A Balance of Power That Favors Freedom," Manhattan Institute, October 1, 2002.
- Julia Vitullo-Martin, "Comissioner Bernard Kerik and the three priorities," Gotham Gazette, March 1, 2001.
- Robert Lederman, "Giuliani, the Manhattan Institute, and Eugenics: The Ugly Truth Behind 'Quality of Life'," The Konformist, March 29, 2000.
- Norman Solomon, "Launching Conservative Books Into the Media Stratosphere," AlterNet, April 26, 2000.
- Robert Lederman, "GW Bush, Jesus and the Manhattan Institute," Hartford Web Publishing, August 8, 2000.
- Robert Lederman, "Chase Manhattan Banks' Right-wing Relationship," The Konformist, September 12, 2000.
- Tom Redburn, "Conservative Thinkers Are Insiders; It's Now Their City Hall, and Manhattan Institute Is Uneasy," New York Times, December 31, 1993.
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- Manhattan Institute, Neocon Europe.
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- "Examples of Mainly Corporate Funded Think Tanks: Manhattan Institute," World-Information.org.
- Charity Navigator Rating: Manhattan Institute, CharityNavigator.org.
- "Spectrum Policy: Property or Commons?" Sponsors: Manhattan Institute, Stanford University, undated; accessed August 16, 2007.
- "Right Wing Organizations: Manhattan Institute, People for the American Way.
- Kurt Nimmo, "What She Really Said. Condoleezza Rice at the Waldorf Astoria," CounterPunch, October 10, 2002.
- Michelle Celarier, "Hedgies cut ties with think tank," New York Post, June 10, 2013.
- Jeff Jacoby, "The fight is on the right," New York Times, June 20, 2007.
- People for the American Way, "Manhattan Institute for Policy Research", Right Wing Watch organizational website, accessed June 2013.
- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "The Economic Benefits of Immigration", organizational article, February 18, 2013.
- [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Workshops, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]
- 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.
- Joshua Brustein, "Think Tanks," Gotham Gazette, March 29, 2003.
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- Jan Mayer, [Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right], 2016.
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- Media Transparency, Recipient Profile: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc., organizational website, last accessed August 16, 2007.
- Daniel Bice, Bill Glauber, Ben Poston. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. November 28, 2011.
- Media Transparency, Recipient Grants: Manhattan Institute, organizational profile, data updated August 16, 2007, archived by the WayBack Machine May 4, 2008.
- Research and Evaluation - Grant: Manhattan Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, August 5, 2004.
- Grant Recipients: Manhattan Institute from the Randolph Foundation, Media Transparency: $128,375 - 6 grants between 1999 and 2005.
- Grant Recipients: Manhattan Institute from the Carthage Foundation, Media Transparency: $693,000 - 15 grants between 1985 and 2002.
- Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, ITFIAF, organizational website.
- State Policy Network, Directory: Manhattan Institute, organizational website, accessed 2012.
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Board of Trustees", organizational website, accessed July 2016
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Staff Directory", organizational website, accessed July 2016
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, "Manhattan Institute Experts", organizational website, accessed July 2016
- 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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