William Simon President Questions Motives of "Liberal" Foundations Working To Advance Democracy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
William Simon President Questions Motives of "Liberal" Foundations Working To Advance Democracy
Citing efforts dating back to the 1960s, the president of the William E. Simon Foundation argues that major foundations--including Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller--have pursued "an obvious, politically liberal, ideological agenda" in the name of advancing the "public interest." 
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, James Piereson singles out demonstration projects in the 1960s that "led to the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, public television and radio, and federal support for public housing." He also points to support in the 1970s from "major liberal foundations" for influential advocacy and litigation groups, such as the National Organization for Women, the National Council of La Raza, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 
According to Pierson, "nearly all of these initiatives have called for more taxing, spending and regulation by the federal government. He adds, "they circumvent the traditional political process by taking decisions from elected officials and placing them in the hands of judges, regulators and bureaucrats. Finally, he says, "they encourage narrowly focused organizations around particular programs, issues and demographic groups."
He concludes: "Foundation officials today complain about stalemate, interest-group influence and ideological politics. But their predecessors played a large role in fostering voter distrust of government—because voters do not know who is in charge, and every program operated by the federal and state governments is protected by an advocacy group backed up by a litigation and public-relations strategy. This strategy played a large role in fracturing the national consensus. The efforts of current foundation leaders will not succeed in rebuilding it."...