Koch Brothers Attempt Hostile Takeover of Libertarian Cato Institute
The Cato Institute's economic policy might be deplorable, but the libertarian think tank has produced plenty of civil libertarian, anti-war, thought-provoking research over the years. That all might be about to change, if Charles and David Koch succeed in a lawsuit filed this week to gain majority control of the institute.
Allen McDuffee at the Washington Post's Think Tanked blog reported, "Cato was divided between four shareholders: the two Koch brothers, Cato president Ed Crane, and former Cato chairman William Niskanen, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in a court in Johnson County, Kansas."
Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez has already submitted his "presignation" in case the Kochs do take over; he explained in a blog:
As my colleague Jerry Taylor lays out over at Volokh Conspiracy, after years of benign neglect, the Kochs have suddenly decided to use their existing shares in the Institute to attempt to pack the board with loyalists, several of whom are straight-up GOP operatives. To give you an idea: They apparently nominated neocon blogger John “Hindrocket” Hindraker of PowerLine. There’s every indication that they (and their proxies on the board) think Cato would be more useful if it were integrated more tightly into the Koch portfolio of advocacy groups—Americans for Prosperity, etc.—for which it could serve as a source of intellectual ammunition in the ongoing struggle to defeat Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Indeed, they’ve said as much, more or less verbatim, to the chair of Cato’s board. I don’t think it’s the end of democracy if people want to throw money at that cause, but I doubt Cato’s the right place to do it, and I know it’s not what I signed up for.
Dave Weigel at Slate has more.