Wednesday, August 25, 2010 list

  • AEI describes itself as dedicated to “limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability and open debate.” Christopher DeMuth, a former White House aide to Richard Nixon and head of Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Regulatory Relief, serves as AEI’s president. AEI’s chairman is self-made commodities billionaire Bruce Kovner, and AEI’s board of trustees is heavily loaded with current and former corporate CEOs. Scholars and fellows include Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice president, and other prominent Republicans including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Fred Thompson, and Richard Perle, one of the most vocal supporters of the Iraq war. AEI does not disclose donors but says that in 2003 it received 36 percent of its funding from individuals, 35 percent from foundations and 23 percent from corporations.

    tags: pro-business republican factchecked

    • AEI’s standards for factual accuracy are high, though its reports have a distinctly partisan tilt.
    • Campaign Finance; Civil Rights; Congress; Courts & Law; Crime; Domestic Policy; Economy & Jobs; Education; Energy & Environment; Government Spending; Health & Healthcare Insurance; Immigration; Medicare/Medicaid; National Security; Social Security; Taxes; Trade & Foreign Policy; Welfare & Income; Women's Issues
  • tags: factchecked politics research thinktank government conservative

  • tags: factchecked

    • The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. Founded in 1943, AEI is home to some of America's most accomplished public policy experts--from economics, law, political science, defense and foreign policy studies, ethics, theology, health care, and other fields. The Institute sponsors research and conferences and publishes books, monographs, and periodicals. Its website,, posts its publications, videos and transcripts of its conferences, biographies of its scholars and fellows, and schedules of upcoming events.
    • The Institute's community of scholars is committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. AEI pursues these unchanging ideals through independent thinking, open debate, reasoned argument, and the highest standards of research and exposition. AEI's purpose is to serve leaders and the public through research and education on the most important issues of the day in the areas of economics, culture, politics, foreign affairs, and national defense. Without regard for political ideology, party, or prevailing fashion, AEI dedicates its work to improving society and government, toward the goal of a more prosperous, safer, and more democratic nation and world. AEI's work is addressed to government officials and legislators, teachers and students, business executives, professionals, journalists, and all citizens interested in a serious understanding of government policy, the economy, and important social and political developments.
    • AEI research is conducted through six primary research divisions: Economic Policy Studies, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, Health Policy Studies, Legal and Constitutional Studies, Political and Public Opinion Studies, and Social and Cultural Studies. It also works through several specialized programs such as the Brady Program on Culture and Freedom, the AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies, the National Research Initiative (which sponsors research by university-based scholars), the AEI Press, and The American magazine.
    • Approximately 175 people work at AEI's headquarters in Washington, D.C.--its research faculty of resident and visiting scholars and fellows; research and administrative assistants; editorial, publication, conference, and dining room staffs; and a management team responsible for internal operations and external relations, fund-raising, and disseminating and marketing the Institute's output. In addition, about 50 adjunct scholars and fellows, mainly at research universities around the United States, conduct research for AEI and participate in its conferences. AEI operates a large student internship program for college undergraduates throughout the year and offers a select number of graduate and post-graduate fellowships.
    • AEI's operations are financed by donations from corporations, foundations, and individuals and by investment earnings from an internal endowment. The Institute does not perform contract research and, with rare exceptions, does not accept government grants. Its research agenda is determined by its president in consultation with its trustees, scholars and fellows, and academic advisers; the substance and conclusions of its research and publications are determined by the individuals conducting the research.
    • AEI's Board of Trustees governs the Institute's management and finances. The Board selects AEI's president; establishes its policies, procedures, and operating strategies; adopts its annual budget; reviews and advises on its research agenda and research and administrative appointments; and protects its intellectual independence and financial integrity. The Board meets four times annually; Board committees--an Executive Committee, Audit Committee, Development Committee, Finance Committee, Investments Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee--meet at intervals between Board meetings and provide reports and recommendations to the full Board.
    • AEI's president is responsible for setting the Institute's research agenda, selecting its research faculty and administrative staff, approving its publications, managing its operations, ensuring the integrity and quality of its work, and representing the Institute to all of its various audiences. A team of officers, managers, and staff assists the president in these responsibilities.
    • AEI's Council of Academic Advisers advises the president and the Board of Trustees regarding the Institute's research appointments and research agenda and the quality of its publications and other output, and selects the recipient of its highest annual honor, the Irving Kristol Award.
    • AEI's scholars and fellows are responsible for conducting research and writing on subjects of their individual knowledge and interest, disseminating the results of their research through publications and presentations at AEI and elsewhere, organizing and participating in AEI conferences, counseling and collaborating with AEI colleagues on subjects of mutual interest, and identifying and commissioning research and writing by individuals at other research institutions.
    • In all of these endeavors, AEI trustees, scholars and fellows, and officers and staff are responsible for maintaining the highest standards of integrity, intellectual rigor, and excellence--and for sustaining AEI's founding commitment to open inquiry, lucid exposition, vigorous debate, and continuous improvement in the institutions of American liberty.
    • AEI operates at the intersection of scholarship and politics, aiming to elevate political debate and improve the substance of government policy. Many of the subjects of AEI research and publications are controversial, and many are the focus of rough political contention and intense interest-group advocacy. Many AEI scholars and fellows are or have been directly engaged in practical politics and policy-making as government officials, advisers, or members of official commissions. For these reasons, AEI maintains policies and procedures for assuring the integrity and reputation of its work. The most important of these are set forth below.
    • As a tax-exempt educational organization governed by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, AEI is generally prohibited from attempting to influence legislation in the U.S. Congress or other legislative bodies. Legal requirements aside, AEI has important reasons of its own for abstaining from any form of policy advocacy as an institution. Policy research of the kind AEI specializes in--emphasizing empirical analysis, intellectual depth and originality, unflinching criticism, and concrete proposals for reform--is an inherently individual activity, best pursued by a single scholar (or a pair or small group of scholars) rather than by a committee or hierarchy. Moreover, AEI scholars or authors may disagree on particular policies or on the conclusions to be drawn from a set of research findings. Attempting to forge an Institute-wide consensus or corporate position would interfere with the intellectual independence of individual scholars and with the sharpness, clarity, and interest of AEI publications. For these reasons, AEI takes no institutional positions on policy issues (whether or not they are currently before legislative, executive, or judicial bodies) or on any other issues.
    • AEI scholars and fellows frequently do take positions on policy and other issues, including explicit advocacy for or against legislation currently being considered by the Congress. When they do, they are speaking for themselves and not for AEI or its trustees or other scholars or employees. It is customary for AEI scholars and fellows to include an explicit disclaimer to this effect when they present formal testimony to a congressional committee or other government body. Many also include such a disclaimer in books, articles, speeches, and other presentations addressed to the general public, especially when they are addressing subjects of active controversy and disagreement--but the disclaimer is often well understood in these contexts and the appropriateness of stating it explicitly varies from case to case.
    • AEI's abstaining from institutional positions on policy issues does not, of course, apply to policy issues affecting its own institutional interests.
    • AEI's 501(c)(3) tax status also forbids it from participating in any campaign for elected public office. This means that AEI may not take an institutional position for or against any political candidate and may not permit its resources, including the on-the-job time of its salaried employees, to be used in an electoral campaign. As in the case of policy advocacy, AEI's own purposes lead it to broader policies against partisanship in any of its activities. AEI research and publications, participation in its conferences, and the policy advice of its research staff and other employees, are available to government officials, legislators, political candidates, and others regardless of party affiliation. When the policy positions of AEI scholars and fellows coincide with those of a particular political party or electoral candidate, this is without any purpose of advancing the partisan interests of the party or candidate. During election campaigns, AEI employees who endorse particular candidates, or who become engaged in campaigns as candidates, advisers, volunteers, or employees, must do so as individuals and on their own time and resources, and must arrange for part-time or full-time leaves-of-absence if necessary. During each national election year, AEI's president provides each employee with a memorandum setting forth these requirements in detail.
    • AEI scholars, fellows, officers, and other employees may engage in professional activities beyond their work at AEI. The special case of electoral campaigns is addressed in the previous section. Other outside activities include membership on boards of directors of for-profit corporations, boards of trustees of not-for-profit organizations, and advisory panels to private or government entities; employment by or consulting for corporations and other private or government entities; speaking before academic, business, and professional audiences and on television and radio programs; publishing books with outside commercial and academic presses and articles with outside journals, magazines, newspapers, and websites; and performing commissioned research and writing for other academic institutions.
    • Activities such as these are not discouraged; indeed, many of them directly advance or are complementary to AEI's work and purposes, and others provide practical experience and first-hand knowledge that illuminate and improve AEI's academic endeavors. An appropriate balance must, however, be maintained between AEI commitments and outside commitments--a balance that differs from case to case depending on the interests of individual employees, the nature of their work at AEI, and the nature of their outside activities. In general, full-time AEI scholars, fellows, and officers are expected to devote no more than one day per week on average to outside activities, and to arrange leaves of absence for periods of more intense or extended outside commitments. All AEI employees, regardless of their positions and time commitments at AEI and elsewhere, are expected to refrain from outside activities that might compromise the quality or timeliness of their AEI work, their commitments to their AEI colleagues, or AEI's commitment to or reputation for intellectual integrity, objectivity, and excellence.
    • Conflicts of interest exist when individuals have personal interests that conflict with those of organizations to which they owe a duty of loyalty, or when individuals have interests in or duties of loyalty to two or more organizations whose interests conflict. Conflicts of interest are a serious problem in politics and government: public policies are invariably advanced and defended as furthering the broad public interest, yet are often motivated by narrow economic or other interests. At the same time, conflicts of interest are natural and pervasive in all walks of life and cannot be avoided entirely. Large, direct conflicts of interest can be eliminated by refraining from one of the conflicting activities--but many conflicts are partial, minor, innocent, or merely apparent, and could be eliminated only at the unreasonable cost of abstaining from activities that are inherently productive and fulfilling.
    • Four customary methods for dealing with conflicts of interest are diversification, disclosure, reputation, and intrinsic quality. Each has strengths and weaknesses and none eliminates the role of judgment in individual cases, but taken together they can be highly complementary. AEI employs all four methods.
    • iversification. A diversity of interests can render any individual conflict of interest small or de minimis. AEI has many hundreds of corporate, foundation, and individual donors, none of them accounting for more than a small fraction of the Institute's budget, and it invests its endowment and other funds in highly diversified financial instruments. AEI's research program is itself highly diversified, covering a wide range of economic, trade, social welfare, and defense and foreign policy issues involving many competing interests.
    • Disclosure. AEI scholars and fellows are required to disclose in their published work any affiliations they may have with organizations with a direct interest in the subject of that work. AEI discloses the source of project-specific donations to research on subjects in which the donors have a material interest. AEI scholars, fellows, and officers provide annual reports to AEI's president listing all of their outside activities; the president then provides a summary report to the Nominating and Governance Committee of the AEI Board of Trustees, which includes at least one long-time trustee and one new trustee. The president may bring particular issues to the attention of this committee or to an internal committee of senior scholars and fellows for their review and counsel. The Nominating and Governance Committee also reviews the commercial, professional, and civic engagements of individuals being considered for election to the Board of Trustees. Whenever AEI engages in a substantial commercial transaction with a firm with which a trustee is affiliated, that trustee may not be involved in AEI's decision on the transaction, and its nature and rationale are presented to the other trustees for their approval.
    • Reputation. Honesty and integrity--and the value of maintaining one's reputation for honesty and integrity--are critical means of dealing with conflicts of interest. When individuals are being considered for appointment to AEI's research faculty, management and staff positions, or advisory bodies, or for election to its Board of Trustees, their personal honesty and integrity are as important as their aptitude, knowledge, experience, and skills for the position in question. AEI's reputation for honesty and integrity is guarded zealously, and AEI's prominence in policy debate provides a strong incentive to continue to guard this reputation. The Institute would never accept a donation that was conditioned on predetermined research conclusions or recommendations or that otherwise compromised the intellectual independence of its scholars. AEI's long association with a set of philosophical principles--such as limited government, competitive markets, and individual freedom and responsibility--and its thousands of publications applying these principles to specific policy and political problems provide ready measures for judging the integrity of each new publication.
    • Intrinsic quality. AEI is committed to the proposition that arguments concerning government policies and economic and social arrangements should be evaluated on their own terms and intrinsic merits. This is not an "ethics policy"--it is a precept of all of the Institute's activities and ambitions for improving public dialogue. But it carries an important ethical implication: in striving to produce work that is lucid, precise, informative, and wise, AEI hopes that the honesty and integrity of its work, also, can be judged on its face.
    • AEI welcomes comments on the policies and procedures described here. They should be sent to Arthur C. Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute, 1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, or
  • says that its mission is "to educate people about the shortcomings of e-mail chain letters as a means to distribute information and to empower all users of the Internet to make informed, logical decisions about the information they distribute." The organization is supported by advertising income and donations from users. Visitors can search for particular e-mail chain letters, browse them by category, or get information on the most recent viral e-mails.

    tags: factchecked

    • is an excellent source of information on the origins and accuracy of the vast array of e-mail chain letters that circulate continually.
    • Hoaxes & Urban Legends
  • Brookings is the oldest of the Washington-based “think tanks,” tracing its origins back to 1916 and founder Robert Somers Brookings, a wealthy St. Louis businessman. It has very strong academic credentials.  Reports from the institute and its scholars can be viewed by research programs, policy centers and research projects. The list of scholars and staff tilts to the Democratic side but also includes a sprinkling of Republicans. The president of Brookings is Strobe Talbott, a former journalist and ambassador-at-large in the Clinton administration. The board of trustees includes prominent Democrats including Richard C. Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and former Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers, who was secretary of the treasury under President Clinton. But the board also includes Kenneth M. Duberstein, a Republican lobbyist who was President Reagan’s chief of staff in 1988-89, and corporate officials whose donations favor Republicans, such as Michael H. Jordan, CEO of EDS Corp. Brookings says it is funded by “foundations, corporations, and individuals, and to a lesser extent by endowment income.”

    tags: factchecked

    • Brookings has a well-earned reputation for scholarly excellence. Its reports are, for the most part, clearly written and free from partisan slant. They can be fine guides to understanding how government programs work, or don't work.
    • Liberal
    • Campaign Finance; Civil Rights; Congress; Courts & Law; Crime; Domestic Policy; Economy & Jobs; Education; Energy & Environment; Government Spending; Guns; Health & Healthcare Insurance; Immigration; Medicare/Medicaid; National Security; Social Security; Taxes; Trade & Foreign Policy; Welfare & Income; Women's Issues
  • Cato Institute describes its work as broadening public-policy debate on “individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.” For the last decade, Cato has supported Social Security reform through private accounts and championed deregulation of the drug industry. Cato was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, a chartered financial analyst and former vice president of Alliance Capital Management Group. Cato’s board is composed of business leaders and conservative economists, including David H. Koch, one of the largest donors to conservative causes, but it also includes former Democratic donor Richard J. Dennis, a longtime advocate of decriminalization of marijuana. Most of Cato's funding comes from private foundations and individuals, with only a small amount from corporations. Cato argues for free markets and against taxes and government regulation. To that extent its philosophy is consistent with Republican ideology, but it also strongly rejects government infringement on individual rights and opposes broad provisions of the Patriot Act as “incompatible with civil liberties.” Extremely skeptical of foreign military intervention, Cato’s scholars also disagreed with the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. Cato’s publications and reports can be explored by research area, which include defense and national security, constitutional issues, and a variety of domestic issues. The institute hosts a separate site focusing on Social Security.

    tags: factchecked

    • Cato's research is thorough and well-documented, and advances a libertarian agenda.
    • Libertarian
    • Abortion; Campaign Finance; Civil Rights; Congress; Courts & Law; Crime; Domestic Policy; Economy & Jobs; Education; Energy & Environment; Government Spending; Guns; Health & Healthcare Insurance; Immigration; Medicare/Medicaid; National Security; Social Security; Taxes; Trade & Foreign Policy; Welfare & Income; Women's Issues
  • The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that publishes investigative journalism projects on issues of public concern. The center’s mission, according to its Web site, is to “make institutional power more transparent and accountable.”Its reports, as well as databases it compiles, are available on its site and disseminated to other journalists, as well as policymakers and scholars. The center has tackled projects in such areas as the environment, public health, lobbying and campaign finance. Investigative reports have included: “The Climate Change Lobby,” about the universe of interests seeking to shape the debate on climate change; “Tobacco Underground,” about the illicit trafficking of that substance; “The Transportation Lobby,” about the obstacles to fashioning a coherent transportation policy; and “Who’s Behind the Financial Meltdown,” about the banks behind the subprime lenders. The center encourages whistleblowers to send it information. Every four years, during a presidential election, the center publishes “The Buying of the President,” an examination of the role of money in the campaign.A board of directors, made up mainly of prominent journalists and journalism educators, oversees the center. Its staff includes journalists, Freedom of Information Act experts, researchers and data experts. The center is funded by foundations, including the Carnegie Corporation, the Rauch Foundation, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Park Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, according to its 2008 annual report. It doesn’t accept money from labor unions, governments or anonymous donors, but individuals also contribute.

    tags: factchecked

    • The Center for Public Integrity conducts time-consuming, detail-oriented investigative work that requires the kind of resources that many journalists at mainstream media organizations don’t have.
    • Campaign Finance; Congress; Consumer Safety; Domestic Policy; Energy & Environment; Government Spending; Health & Healthcare Insurance; Lobbying
  • The Center for Responsive Politics tracks political donations and their influence on public policy. It keeps an exhaustive database of all federally disclosed donations received by presidential and congressional candidates. Visitors may find, for example, how much the tobacco industry or the pharmaceutical industry has donated in a given election and to whom. The organization accepts no money from political parties or corporations. Funding comes from the Ford, Carnegie, Joyce and Sunlight foundations and the Pew Charitable Trusts, along with individual contributions. The records maintained on the Web site are searchable by donor, recipient, state, industry, locality, year and election cycle. Visitors can find campaign finance profiles for all elected officials, which include top contributors and campaign expenditures, as well as personal financial disclosures for all election cycles in which the official participated. Visitors may also enter a ZIP code or state to see how much people who live there have donated and to whom.

    tags: factchecked

    • Journalists and partisans on both sides of the campaign-finance debate rely on this well-designed Web site to track money raised and spent by candidates, parties and independent political groups.
    • Neutral
    • Campaign Finance; Congress
    • CBPP generally argues for more spending for social programs (or fewer cuts) and against cutting taxes or raising military spending. The facts it cites in support of its arguments are generally solid and well-documented, though sometimes one-sided.
    • Liberal
    • Government Spending; Health & Healthcare Insurance; Medicare/Medicaid; Social Security; Taxes; Welfare & Income

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
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