April 20, 2005

Heritage Foundation corrupt?!?

I was alerted to this story through Think Progress and Liberal Oasis. The Washington Post reports,
For years, the Heritage Foundation sharply criticized the autocratic rule of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, denouncing his anti-Semitism, his jailing of political opponents and his "anti-free market currency controls."

Then, late in the summer of 2001, the conservative nonprofit Washington think tank began to change its assessment: Heritage financed an Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2001, trip to Malaysia for three House members and their spouses. Heritage put on briefings for the congressional delegation titled "Malaysia: Standing Up for Democracy" and "U.S. and Malaysia: Ways to Cooperate in Order to Influence Peace and Stability in Southeast Asia."

Heritage's new, pro-Malaysian outlook emerged at the same time a Hong Kong consulting firm co-founded by Edwin J. Feulner, Heritage's president, began representing Malaysian business interests.

I'm curious to know what the Dartmouth Reviewers and College Republicans who have worked at the Heritage Foundation think about this. Just business as usual?


  1. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I think this link pretty well does a damn good job refuting the assertions of corruption:


  2. I'm not so sure it does. First of all, the post you link to relies on an ostensible (and I'm sure quite legitimate) shift in Heritage Foundation policy towards Malaysia after September 11, 2001, for the crux of its rebuttal:

    "After 2001, all that changed. While Heritage had actively encouraged U.S. engagement with Malaysia in the area of economics, the think tank began aggressively pushing engagement with Malaysia to combat terrorism. "

    But two claims in this quotation are suspect. One is the chronology: Heritage financed the trip for Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2001, before 9/11. And to say that Heritage "encouraged U.S. engagement with Malaysia in the area of economics" before 9/11 is not entirely accurate: as Think Progress cites, a 11/16/98 essay by Heritage scholar John T. Dori" reads:

    Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed instituted anti-free market currency controls and jailed U.S. friend and pro-market reformer Anwar Ibrahim, his former deputy prime minister and minister of finance. To protest these actions, President Bill Clinton should have sought a change in venue for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. The next-best option would have been to boycott the meeting.

    Second of all, I didn't even mention Tom DeLay in my post but this entire story, well, complicates his situation even more, to put it conservatively. There is a lot here to be investigated in depth, and I hope you at least agree it should be investigated.

  3. Anonymous6:53 PM

    I'd agree to the investigation, provided it's fair.

    I think one of the interesting things is that as more attention is heaped on Delay, I think more evidence against similar Congressmen, on both sides of the aisle, will come to light. Remember the controversy about Delay paying members of his family for campaign work? Heard much about it lately? After it was discovered that lots of Congressmen and Senators do it, from both sides, that one went away real quick. I think a similar thing will happen with some of these other improprieties...

    However, I will say this - as long as Delay remains a controversy, it shifts the focus from something the GOP has continually won on - the issues - to something I'm not sure they'll be able to win on - we're not crooks and ethical violators. However, the Dems know that they face an uphill battle on the issues, so they'll keep focusing on one Congreeman from Texas.

    - Brian

  4. Adam Geiger10:53 PM

    Well if the GOP would repeal it's "Protect Delay" rule the Ethics Committee could operate and this whole matter would be resolved. Don't just blame the Dems for dragging this scandal out.