“Billionaire Oil Guys” Lose Bid To Take Over Cato

It looks like the Koch Brothers’ efforts to take over the libertarian think-tank the Cato Institute and oust long-time president Ed Crane has been thwarted. According to David Weigel, who is close to these folks, Crane called a meeting of the Cato board and used an obscure bylaw to expand it and then pack it with loyalists.

In a subsequent interview, Crane told Weigel this:

I want to save Cato. I’ll step down if it ends this thing. It can’t be a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. Who the hell is going to take a think tank seriously that’s controlled by billionaire oil guys? It’s just nuts!

I feel the same way about Americans for Prosperity. Why, if you have a grassroots group, activist group — and I’m a free market guy, I’m for AFP — but why do you make an oil billionaire the chairman?

I guess if you are the Koch Brothers, you do these things because you can. But maybe not this time.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.