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Cato Institute

Cato Institute
Founder(s) Edward H. Crane, Charles G. Koch, Murray Rothbard
Established 1974[1]
Mission To originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.[2]
Focus public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence
President (and CEO) Peter N. Goettler[3]
Chairman Robert A. Levy[3]
Executive Vice-President David Boaz[4]
Faculty 46
Adjunct faculty 70
Staff 100
Budget Revenue: $29,145,000
Expenses: $25,290,000
(FYE March 2014)[5]
Slogan "Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace"
Formerly called Charles Koch Foundation; Cato Foundation
Location 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C., United States

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch,[6] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries.[nb 1] In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[6][7] Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8] According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 16 in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide" and number 8 in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".[9] Cato also topped the 2014 list of the budget-adjusted ranking of international development think tanks.[10]

Cato Institute building in Washington, D.C.


  • History 1
  • Activities 2
    • Publications 2.1
    • Web projects 2.2
    • Conferences 2.3
  • Ideological relationships 3
    • Conservatism 3.1
    • Selected positions of Cato scholars 3.2
    • Objectivism 3.3
  • Cato positions on political issues and policies 4
    • On foreign policy 4.1
    • On domestic issues 4.2
      • Criticism of corporate welfare 4.2.1
      • On copyright issues 4.2.2
    • On environmental policy 4.3
    • Other commentaries of presidential administrations 4.4
      • George W. Bush administration 4.4.1
      • 2008 Election campaign commentaries 4.4.2
      • Barack Obama administration 4.4.3
  • Funding and structure 5
    • Shareholder dispute 5.1
    • Foundation support 5.2
    • Corporate support 5.3
      • Criticism of corporate support to Cato 5.3.1
    • Funding details 5.4
  • Associates in the news 6
  • Nobel laureates at Cato 7
  • Milton Friedman Prize 8
  • Board of directors 9
  • Notable Cato experts 10
    • Policy scholars 10.1
    • Adjunct scholars 10.2
    • Fellows 10.3
  • See also 11
  • Notes 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The institute was founded in December 1974 in Wichita, Kansas as the Charles Koch Foundation and initially funded by Charles Koch.[nb 2][11] The other members of the first board of directors included co-founder Murray Rothbard, libertarian scholar Earl Ravenal, and businessmen Sam H. Husbands Jr. and David H. Padden.[6][12] At the suggestion of Rothbard,[12] the institute changed its name in 1976 to Cato Institute after Cato's Letters, a series of British essays penned in the early 18th century by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.[13][14]

Cato relocated first to San Francisco, California in 1977, then to Washington, D.C. in 1981, settling initially in a historic house on Capitol Hill.[15](p446) The Institute moved to its current location on Massachusetts Avenue in 1993. Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of think tanks by James G. McGann, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in "producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research".[16]


Various Cato programs were favorably ranked in a survey published by the University of Pennsylvania in 2012.[9]


The Cato Institute publishes numerous policy studies, briefing papers, periodicals, and books. Peer-reviewed academic journals include the Cato Journal[17][18][19] and Regulation.[20][21][22] Other periodicals include Cato's Letter,[23] Cato Supreme Court Review,[24] and Cato Policy Report.[25] Cato published Inquiry Magazine from 1977 to 1982 (before transferring it to the Libertarian Review Foundation)[26] and Literature of Liberty from 1978 to 1979 (before transferring it to the Institute for Humane Studies).[27]

Notable books from Cato and Cato scholars include:

Web projects

In addition to maintaining its own website in English and Spanish,[28] Cato maintains websites focused on particular topics:

  • "Downsizing the Federal Government" contains essays on the size of the US Federal Government and recommendations for decreasing various programs.[29]
  • "libertarianism.
  • Cato Unbound, a web-only publication that features a monthly open debate between four people. The conversation begins with one lead essay, followed by three response essays by separate people. After that, all four participants can write as many responses and counter-responses as they want for the duration of that month.
  • The "" contains reports and stories from Cato's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project and the National Police Misconduct News Feed.[30]
  • "Overlawyered" is a law blog on the subject of tort reform run by author Walter Olson.
  • is an interactive data web project that catalogs increases in prosperity driven by the free market.

Social media sponsored by Cato includes "Daily Podcasts" (through iTunes and RSS feeds), plus pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.[31]


Speakers at Cato have included Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato.[32][33][34] In 2009 Czech Republic President Václav Klaus spoke at a conference.[35]

Ideological relationships


The Cato Institute officially resists being labeled as part of the conservative movement because "'conservative' smacks of an unwillingness to change, of a desire to preserve the status quo".[36]

Cato scholars 2005 proposal to partially privatize Social Security, an idea strongly backed by the Institute. And in the 109th Congress, President Bush's immigration plan – which was based on a proposal by Cato scholar Dan Griswold[41] – went down to defeat largely due to the eventual opposition of conservative Republican congressmen.[42]

Some Cato scholars disagree with conservatives on drug liberalization,[43] liberal immigration policy,[44] energy policy,[45] and LGBT rights[46] – including the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.[47] Former Cato President Ed Crane had a particular dislike for neoconservatism. In a 2003 article with Cato Chairman Emeritus William A. Niskanen, he called neoconservatism a "particular threat to liberty perhaps greater than the ideologically spent ideas of left-liberalism".[48] In 1995, Crane wrote that neoconservatives "have a fundamentally benign view of the state", which Crane considers antithetical to libertarian ideals of individual freedom.[49] In 2004, Cato's foreign policy team criticized neoconservative foreign policy,[50] albeit the opposition to neo-conservative foreign policy has not always been uniform.[51]

Selected positions of Cato scholars

Many Cato scholars advocate support for civil liberties, liberal immigration policies,[44] drug liberalization,[43] and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and laws restricting consensual sexual activity.[46][47]

In 2006, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos proposed the term "Libertarian Democrat" to describe his particular liberal position, suggesting that libertarians should be allies of the Democratic Party. Replying, Cato vice president for research Brink Lindsey agreed that libertarians and liberals should view each other as natural ideological allies,[52] and noted continuing differences between mainstream liberal views on economic policy and Cato's "Jeffersonian philosophy". Cato has stated on its "About Cato" page:

The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato's work has increasingly come to be called "libertarianism" or "market liberalism." It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.[53]


John A. Allison IV speaking at the 2014 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC)

The relationship between Cato and the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) improved with the nomination of Cato's new president John A. Allison IV in 2012. He is a former ARI board member and is reported to be an "ardent devotee" of Rand who has promoted reading her books to colleges nationwide.[54]

Cato positions on political issues and policies

Some Cato scholars advocate policies that advance "individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace". They are libertarian in their policy positions, typically advocating diminished government intervention in domestic, social, and economic policies and decreased military and political intervention worldwide. Cato was cited by columnist Ezra Klein as nonpartisan, saying that it is “the foremost advocate for small-government principles in American life" and it "advocates those principles when Democrats are in power, and when Republicans are in power".[55]

Specific policy proposals advanced by Cato scholars include such measures as abolishing the minimum wage,[56] and abolishing [58]

On foreign policy

Cato's 2003 invasion of Iraq. As a response to the September 11 attacks, Cato scholars supported the removal of al Qaeda and the Taliban regime from power, but are against an indefinite and open-ended military occupation of Afghanistan.[59]

Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato's Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, criticized many of the arguments offered to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. One of the war's earliest critics, Carpenter wrote in January 2002: "Ousting Saddam would make Washington responsible for Iraq's political future and entangle the United States in an endless nation-building mission beset by intractable problems."[60] Carpenter also predicted: "Most notably there is the issue posed by two persistent regional secession movements: the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south."[60] Cato's Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Christopher Preble, argues in The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, that America's position as an unrivaled superpower tempts policymakers to constantly overreach and to redefine ever more broadly the "national interest".[61]

Christopher Preble has said that the "scare campaign" to protect defense spending from cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011 has backfired.[62]

On domestic issues

Cato has published strong criticisms of the

External links

  1. ^ Kansas Secretary of State Business Entity Name Search for "Cato Foundation" gives entity no. 0385872, established in Kansas December 19, 1974.
  2. ^ "Cato's Mission". Cato Institute. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Board of Directors". Cato Institute. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Cato Institute website profile of David Boaz, accessed September 6, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Cato Institute 2013 Annual Report". Cato Institute. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "25 years at the Cato Institute: The 2001 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2013.  OCLC 52255585
  7. ^ "Articles of Incorporation Charles Koch Foundation and Restated Articles of Incorporation". December 19, 1974. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ Cobane, Craig T. (2005). "Think Tanks". Americans at War. Gale. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b   Other "Top Think Tank" rankings include # 13 (of 85) in Defense and National Security, #5 (of 80) in Domestic Economic Policy, #4 (of 55) in Education Policy, #17 (of 85) in Foreign Policy and International Affairs, #8 (of 30) in Domestic Health Policy, #14 (of 25) in Global Health Policy, #18 (of 80) in International Development, #14 (of 50) in International Economic Policy, #8 (of 50) in Social Policy, #8 (of 75) for Best Advocacy Campaign, #17 (of 60) for Best Think Tank Network, #3 (of 60) for best Use of Social Networks, #9 (of 50) for Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program, #2 (of 40) for Best Use of the Internet, #12 (of 40) for Best Use of Media, #5 (of 30) for Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals, #11 (of 70) for the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy, and #9 (of 60) for Outstanding Policy-Oriented Public Programs.
  10. ^ Retrieved July 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Articles of Incorporation Charles Koch Foundation and Restated Articles of Incorporation". December 19, 1974. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Burris, Charles (February 4, 2011). "Kochs v. Soros: A Partial Backstory".  
  13. ^ The essays, named after  
  14. ^  
  15. ^ a b  
  16. ^ "The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program 2009" (PDF).  
  17. ^ ISSN 0273-3072
  18. ^ Academic Search Complete: Journals & Magazines Only, EBSCO
  19. ^ ProQuest Database: ProQuest 5000 International, ProQuest
  20. ^ ISSN 0147-0590
  21. ^ Business Source Complete: Journals & Magazines Only, EBSCO
  22. ^ ProQuest Database: ProQuest 5000 International, ProQuest
  23. ^ OCLC 464445035 and 51687065
  24. ^ ISSN 1936-0398
  25. ^ ISSN 0743-605X
  26. ^ ISSN 0148-5008; OCLC 3456688
  27. ^ ISSN 0161-7303; OCLC 4007467 (Literature of Liberty ended publication in 1982.)
  28. ^ Cato's Spanish language website
  29. ^ Downsizing the Federal Government
  30. ^
  31. ^ Cato Daily Podcast
  32. ^ Bleier, Karen (October 27, 2008). "International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato".  
  33. ^ Wilson, Mark (November 20, 2003). "Alan Greenspan Speaks About Euro in Washington".  
  34. ^ Jones, Caleb. "Bernanke". AP Images. Retrieved August 18, 2013. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the Cato Institute's annual Monetary Conference... 
  35. ^ "President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus Delivers Remarks at the Cato Institute". Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. Washington Transcript Service. September 19, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Cato's Mission". The Cato Institute (accessed August 22, 2013)
  37. ^ Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch, "Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush", Cato Institute, May 1, 2006
  38. ^ Christopher Preble, "Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda", Cato Institute
  39. ^ Stephen Slivinski, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, August 2006
  40. ^ Michael D. Tanner, Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, February 2007
  41. ^ Daniel Griswold, "Willing Workers: Fixing the Problem of Illegal Mexican Migration to the United States", Cato Institute, October 15, 2002 Archived May 10, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Jim VandeHei and Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Immigration Deal at Risk as House GOP Looks to Voters", Washington Post, May 28, 2006, p. A01
  43. ^ a b c Hidalgo, Juan Carlos. "Barack Obama: The Enthusiastic Drug Warrior". Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  44. ^ a b c Shapiro, Ilya. "One Cheer for Obama’s New Immigration Policy". Cato@Liberty. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  45. ^ Griswold, Daniel (September 5, 2008). "Bipartisan Nonsense on "Energy Independence" and Trade". Cato@Liberty. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  46. ^ a b Pilon, Roger. "Government Shouldn't Police Morals – or Sexual Practices". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  47. ^ a b c Preble, Christopher. """Obama Right on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Cato@Liberty. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  48. ^ Crane, Edward H.; and William A. Niskanen. "Upholding Liberty in America". Financial Times. June 24, 2003.
  49. ^ Crane, Edward H. "The Government Habit". Cato Policy Report. November/December 1995.
  50. ^ Preble, Christopher and Justin Logan. "Neocons Forced to Face Reality". July 26, 2004.
  51. ^ Lindsey, Brink. "Should We Invade Iraq?". Reason Magazine (January 2003). Reason Magazine. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  52. ^ Lindsey, Brink. "Liberaltarians". December 4, 2006.
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  56. ^ William Niskanen, "House Faces the Dumbest Bill of the Year (So Far): A $2.10 Increase in the Minimum Wage", Cato@Libery, June 14, 2006
  57. ^ Gryphon, Marie. "The Affirmative Action Myth". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  58. ^ a b Lichtblau, Eric (March 6, 2012). "Cato Institute Is Caught in a Rift Over Its Direction". The  
  59. ^ Malou Innocent and Ted Galen Carpenter (September 14, 2009). "Escaping the 'Graveyard of Empires': A Strategy to Exit Afghanistan". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  60. ^ a b Carpenter, Ted Galen. "Overthrow Saddam? Be Careful What You Wish For". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  61. ^ Lozada, Carlos (May 3, 2009). "The Big Idea – The Power Problem". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  62. ^ "Defense Execs Say Deeper DoD Budget Cuts, Higher Taxes OK."
  63. ^ Thomas C. O'Brien, "Constitutional and Antitrust Violations of the Multistate Tobacco Settlement", Policy Analysis no. 371, Cato Institute, May 18, 2000
  64. ^ a b Griswold, Daniel (December 3, 2004). "Beyond the Barbed Wire: Bush won a mandate for immigration reform". Retrieved August 21, 2013.  Cato's link
  65. ^ Anthony Hawks, "The Balanced Budget Veto: A New Mechanism to Limit Federal Spending", Policy Analysis no. 487, Cato Institute, September 4, 2003
  66. ^ "539 U.S. 558 LAWRENCE et al. v. TEXAS No. 02-102. Supreme Court of United". Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  67. ^ Carpenter, Dale (June 1, 2006). "The Federal Marriage Amendment: Unnecessary, Anti-Federalist, and Anti-Democratic". Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  68. ^ Balko, Radley (July 17, 2006). "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America". Cato Institute. 
  69. ^ Lambert, Thomas A. "The Case Against Smoking Bans" (PDF). Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  70. ^ Yale Brozen: The High Cost of Government Regulation, in: Toward Liberty: The Idea that is Changing the World, ed. by David Boaz, Cato Institute, 2002, p. 131
  71. ^ "Drug Reimportation: The Free Market Solution", Policy Analysis no. 521, Cato Institute, August 4, 2004
  72. ^ James Bovard, "Archer Daniels Midland: A Case Study In Corporate Welfare", Policy Analysis no. 241, September 26, 1995
  73. ^ Stephen Moore and Dean Stansel, "Ending Corporate Welfare As We Know It", Policy Analysis no. 225, May 12, 1995
  74. ^ Stephen Slivinski, "The Corporate Welfare Budget: Bigger Than Ever", Policy Analysis no. 415, October 10, 2001
  75. ^ Stephen Slivinski, "The Corporate Welfare State: How the Federal Government Subsidizes U.S. Businesses", Policy Analysis no. 592, May 14, 2007
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  78. ^ Gigi Sohn, "A Welcome Voice on the Right", Public Knowledge, March 21, 2006
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  83. ^ Cato was criticized for publishing an alleged misleading Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. See: Fischer, Douglas; The Daily Climate (October 22, 2012). "Fake Addendum by Contrarian Group Tries to Undo U.S. Government Climate Report". Scientific American. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  84. ^ a b Michaels, Patrick J. "Global Warming" (PDF). Cato Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 108th Congress. p. 474. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
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  86. ^ Taylor, Jerry; Peter Van Doren (January 27, 2007). "Ethanol Makes Gasoline Costlier, Dirtier". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  87. ^ Ball, Terence (2003). "Takings". Environmental Encyclopedia. Gale. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  88. ^ McCluskey, Neal. "Feds in the Classroom". Cato Institute. 
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  90. ^ Cannon, Michael F (October 21, 2009). "Yes, Mr. President, A Free Market Can Fix Health Care" (PDF). Cato Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2010. 
  91. ^ Allen, Mike (January 23, 2005). "Semantics Shape Social Security Debate: Democrats Assail 'Crisis' While GOP Gives 'Privatization' a 'Personal' Twist".  
  92. ^ Biggs, Andrew; Macguineas, Maya (January 6, 2003). "Cutting Corporate Welfare Could Fund a Bush Social Security Plan". CATO Institute. 
  93. ^ Moore, Stephen; Kerpen, Phil (October 12, 2004). "Show Me the Money! Dividend Payouts after the Bush Tax Cut". Cato Institute. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  94. ^ Griswold, Daniel (May 18, 2006). "America Needs Real Immigration Reform". Cato Institute. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  95. ^ Griswold, Daniel. "Illegal Immigration: Will Congress Finally Solve It?". Cato Institute. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
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  1. ^ Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States. "Forbes List". Forbes. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ Koch is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate  


See also


Adjunct scholars

Policy scholars

Notable scholars associated with Cato include the following:[133]

Notable Cato experts

As of April 2015:[3]

Board of directors

Friedman Prize Winners
Year Recipient Nationality
2002 Peter Thomas Bauer[126]  British
2004 Hernando de Soto Polar[127]  Peruvian
2006 Mart Laar[128]  Estonian
2008 Yon Goicoechea[129]  Venezuelan
2010 Akbar Ganji[130]  Iranian
2012 Mao Yushi[131]  Chinese
2014 Leszek Balcerowicz[132]  Polish

Since 2002, the Cato Institute has awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty every two years to "an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom."[124] The prize comes with a cash award of US$250,000.[125]

Milton Friedman Prize

The following Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates have worked with Cato:[123]

Nobel laureates at Cato

  • Cato senior fellow Robert A. Levy personally funded the plaintiffs' successful Supreme Court challenge to the District of Columbia's gun ban (District of Columbia v. Heller), on the basis of the Second Amendment.[120]
  • In January 2008, Dom Armentano wrote an op-ed piece about UFOs and classified government data in the Vero Beach Press-Journal.[121] Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz wrote that "I won't deny that this latest op-ed played a role in our decision..." to drop Armentano as a Cato adjunct scholar.[122]

Associates in the news

Net assets as of FYE March 2013: $58,731,695.[119]

Funding details

The Nation reported support for Cato from the tobacco industry in a 2012 story, noting that Philip Morris listed Cato VP David Boaz as one of its "National Allies" in a 2000 memo, and that in 2001 a British American Tobacco executive sent a thank-you letter to Cato Chairman Robert Levy.[118]

The advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights accused Cato of being too tied to tobacco industry corporate funders. They reported that Cato received funding from Philip Morris and other tobacco companies in the 1990s and that at one point Rupert Murdoch served on the boards of directors of both Cato and Philip Morris.[117]

Criticism of corporate support to Cato

In 2011 Cato received just under 2% of its support from corporations. According to the group's annual report, the following corporations gave more than $5000:[116]

Corporate support

In 2008 Cato received 13% of its support from foundations.[102] In 2010, Cato reported contributions by over 60 foundations[111] including:

Foundation support

In June 2012, Cato announced an agreement in principle to settle the dispute by changing the institute's governing structure. Under the agreement, a board replaced the shareholders and Crane, who at the time was also Chief Executive Officer, retired. Former BB&T bank CEO John A. Allison IV replaced him.[108][109] The Koch brothers agreed to drop two lawsuits.[110]

According to an agreement signed in 1977, there were to be four shareholders of the Cato Institute. They were Charles and David H. Koch, Ed Crane,[105] and William A. Niskanen. Niskanen died in October 2011.[106] In March 2012, a dispute broke out over the ownership of Niskanen's shares.[105][106] Charles and David Koch filed suit in Kansas, seeking to void his shareholder seat. The Kochs argued that Niskanen’s shares should first be offered to the board of the Institute, and then to the remaining shareholders.[107] Crane contended that Niskanen's share belonged to his widow, Kathryn Washburn, and that the move by the Kochs was an attempt to turn Cato into "some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P.... It's detrimental to Cato, it's detrimental to Koch Industries, it's detrimental to the libertarian movement."[58]

Shareholder dispute

The Cato Institute is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a U.S. national network of free-market oriented think tanks.[103][104]

According to its annual report, the Cato Institute had fiscal year 2008 income of $24 million. The report notes that 77% of Cato's income that year came from individual contributions, 13% from foundations, 2% from corporations, and 8% from "program and other income" (e.g., publication sales, program fees).[102]

The Cato Institute is classified as a Internal Revenue Code. The Institute performs no contract research and does not accept government funding. For revenue, the Institute is largely dependent on private contributions.

Funding and structure

Cato has criticized President Obama's stances on policy issues such as fiscal stimulus,[99] healthcare reform,[100] foreign policy,[101] and the drug-related matters,[43] while supporting his stance on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell[47] and liberal immigration policy.[44]

Barack Obama administration

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.[97][98]

2008 Election campaign commentaries

Cato scholars were critical of Republican administration (2001–2009) on several issues, including education,[88] and excessive government spending.[89] On other issues, they supported Bush administration initiatives, most notably health care,[90] Social Security,[91][92] global warming,[84] tax policy,[93] and immigration.[64][94][95][96]

George W. Bush administration

Other commentaries of presidential administrations

With regard to the "Takings Clause" of the United States Constitution and environmental protection, libertarians associated with Cato contend that the Constitution is not adequate to guarantee the protection of private property rights.[87]

Cato scholars have also been critical of the Bush administration's views on energy policy. In 2003, Cato scholars Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren blasted the Republican Energy Bill as "hundreds of pages of corporate welfare, symbolic gestures, empty promises, and pork-barrel projects".[85] They also spoke out against the former president's calls for larger ethanol subsidies.[86]

Cato has often criticized Bush administration's skeptical attitude toward the Kyoto protocols.

It's false. There is absolutely no evidence that extreme weather events are on the increase. None. The argument that more and more dollar damages accrue is a reflection of the greater amount of wealth we've created.

In response to the Worldwatch Institute Report in May 2003 that linked climate change and severe weather events, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor said:

No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame (i.e., 50 years or so), even with full compliance.[84]

Some experts, including writers cited by and Scientific American, have criticized Cato's work on global warming.[82][83] Cato has held a number of briefings on global warming with global warming skeptics as panelists. In December 2003, panelists included Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and John Christy. Michaels, Balling and Christy agree that global warming is, in fact, related at least some degree to human activity but that some scientists and the media have overstated the danger. The Cato Institute has also criticized political attempts to stop global warming as expensive and ineffective:

Cato scholars have written extensively about the issues of the environment, including global warming, environmental regulation, and energy policy. The Cato Institute lists "Energy and the Environment" as one of its 13 major "research issues",[79] and global warming is one of six sub-topics under this heading.[80] The Institute has issued over two dozen studies on energy and environmental topics in recent years.[81]

On environmental policy

A 2006 study attacked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[78]

On copyright issues

Cato president Ed Crane and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope co-wrote a 2002 op-ed piece in the Washington Post calling for the abandonment of the Republican energy bill, arguing that it had become little more than a gravy train for Washington, D.C. lobbyists.[76] Again in 2005, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor teamed up with Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club to attack the Republican Energy Bill as a give-away to corporate interests.[77]

In 2004, the Institute published a paper arguing in favor of "drug re-importation".[71] Cato has published numerous studies criticizing what it calls "corporate welfare", the practice of public officials funneling taxpayer money, usually via targeted budgetary spending, to politically connected corporate interests.[72][73][74][75]

Criticism of corporate welfare

Cato scholars have been sharp critics of current U.S. drug policy and the perceived growing militarization of U.S. law enforcement.[68] Additionally, the Cato Institute opposes smoking bans[69] and mandatory use of safety belts.[70]

In 2006, Cato published a Policy Analysis criticising the Federal Marriage Amendment as unnecessary, anti-federalist, and anti-democratic.[67] The amendment would have changed the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage; the amendment failed in both houses of Congress.

In 2003, Cato filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the remaining state laws that made private, non-commercial homosexual relations between consenting adults illegal. Cato cited the 14th Amendment, among other things, as the source of their support for the ruling. The amicus brief was cited in Justice Kennedy's majority opinion for the Court.[66]

The Cato Institute published a study proposing a Balanced Budget Veto Amendment to the United States Constitution.[65]


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