“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.

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.