Richard Mellon Scaife

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Richard Mellon Scaife

Richard Mellon Scaife is a billionaire contributor to the Republican Party and right-wing think tanks, one of the most influential men behind the right wing today. Scaife has helped establish their biggest institutions and supported some of their most radical ideas through donations from his Scaife foundations.


"With $1.2 billion, Scaife, a principal heir to the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune, is No. 283 on the 2005 Forbes 400."[1]


Scaife is a major funding source of right-wing causes through the Scaife Foundations. He controls the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, and the Alleghany Foundation. Until 2001, he also controlled the Scaife Family Foundation, which is now controlled by his son and daughter.[1]

Right-wing organizations funded

People for the American Way estimates that the Scaife Foundations have channeled in excess of $340 million to right-wing groups over the last thirty years, more than any other individual.[citation needed]

Among the right-wing organizations substantially funded by Scaife are the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, Judicial Watch, and Cato Institute.[citation needed]

(See also "Affiliations" section below.)

Media ownership

Scaife owns and publishes the magazine American Spectator and newspaper the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which is home of global warming skeptic Bill Steigerwald (columnist).

Scaife owned the Sacramento Union from 1977 to 1989.

Scaife v. journalism

Scaife has been criticized by sections in the media for attempting to corrupt the practice of journalism and dilute it with a very specific agenda.[2][3]


Support for attacks

Scaife has a long history of supporting attacks on organizations and institutions which refuse to kowtow to right-wing interests.

Westmoreland libel suit against CBS

In 1985, Scaife reportedly financed most of retired Gen. William Westmoreland's libel suit against CBS over a documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy". This documentary claimed that Westmoreland deliberately underestimated enemy troop strength in Vietnam (Morning Call, (Allentown, PA), March 1, 1985, Westmoreland Suit backed by Mellon Heir, Associated Press).

Arkansas Project against Clinton

Scaife was a primary source of money used to fund attacks against Bill Clinton during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky eras of his presidency. A Scaife-funded working group within his American Spectator publication called the "Arkansas Project," had the specific aim of locating or creating dirt on the Clintons in order to smear them, in hopes of removing Clinton from office.

Buying up books to influence bestseller lists

Scaife has been known to purchase mass quantities of conservative books (especially those published by Regnery Press) to push them up the bestseller lists.[citation needed]


(are these affiliations proper, or groups that Scaife, through his foundations, has funded?)

Affiliations with local organizations

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Mellon Scaife in the Wikipedia.
  2. "O'Reilly really dislikes Media Matters," Media Matters for America, October 28, 2005.
  3. Judy, "'Fox Effect' Blamed for Mess Judy Miller Made at NYTimes," News Hounds, October 25, 2005.
  4. Trustees, Brandywine Conservancy, accessed October 3, 2011.

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

External articles


  • Karen Rothmyer (1981-07). Citizen Scaife. Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved on 2010-01-11. “Press-shy publisher Richard Mellon Scaife has used his immense wealth to shape today's political climate. A close look at the prime funder of the media-savvy New Right”

Wikipedia also has an article on Richard Mellon Scaife. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.