Walmart, Boeing, Lockheed Fund Center for American Progress
by John Sexton 25 May 2013, 11:27 AM PDT
Andrew Stuttaford at National Review highlights an interesting report on The Center for American Progress (CAP), the progressive think tank most closely associated with President Obama's administration. Among other things, they publish the progressive blog Think Progress.
CAP is partly funded by a "business alliance" which offers perks to large corporate donors for a given level of annual donation. Unlike most think tanks, CAP does not issue annual reports disclosing any of these big business donors, but an investigation published by the Nation found that CAP's business alliance contains many familiar names:
CAP’s donors included Comcast, Walmart, General Motors, Pacific Gas and Electric, General Electric, Boeing and Lockheed. Though it doesn’t appear on the lists, the University of Phoenix was also a donor.
You have to savor the irony that CAP has volunteered to join the military-industrial complex. In fact, the Nation piece points out the ties are more than just financial:
Scott Lilly, a Hill veteran who joined CAP in 2004 as a senior fellow covering national security, simultaneously served as a registered lobbyist for Lockheed between 2005 and 2011. Rudy deLeon, CAP’s senior vice president for national security and international policy, was a Boeing executive and directed the company’s lobbying operations between 2001 and 2006, before joining the think tank the following year.
Perks given out to big corporations for funding CAP include "roundtable discussions with CAP experts, business, Hill and national leaders." CAP also promises "VIP events with leaders from government, business and academia." In short, members of the business alliance gain special access to power.
To be fair, the Nation piece points out that this is really par for the course among think tanks in Washington. All of them market themselves to big business. Nevertheless, the list of big corporations and military contractors demonstrates that big corporations are not always (maybe not often) politically conservative.