The Hudson Institute is a conservative foreign policy and defense-focused think thank established during the height of the Cold War as a “nonpartisan futurist organization” focused on nuclear policy and strategy. During the decades-long standoff with the Soviet Union, the institute won large government contracts to study the consequences of nuclear war, as well as to advocate for larger defense budgets. Since the 9/11, the institute has been a vocal champion of the global war on terrorism and strongly advocated for the Iraq War.

The Hudson Institute was founded in 1961 by physicist Herman Kahn and his colleagues at the Rand Corporation, a think tank connected to the Air Force. Kahn’s notable contribution was his book, “”On Thermonuclear War,” published in 1960, about the consequences of a thermonuclear war. According to the New York Times, “an editor at Scientific American magazine denounced [the book] as ‘a moral tract on mass murder: how to plan it, how to commit it, how to get away with it, how to justify it.’” The character Dr. Strangelove, according to the New Yorker, is “an only slightly parodic version of Kahn.”

In 1984, a year after Kuhn’s death, and due to financial difficulty, the think tank moved from New York to Indianapolis where it remained until 2004, when it moved to Washington, D.C. in order to “return to its roots of national security and foreign policy.”

In 2002, Hudson cofounder and fellow Max Singer wrote an op-ed in the New York Sun arguing that “America has an embarrassment of riches” in reasons to attack Iraq, including Saddam Hussein’s “connection to the terrorists who have been attacking America, especially al Qaeda.” Singer went on to argue that “The safety of Americans requires that his regime be removed and Iraq be turned over to its people.” Years later, the group’s longtime president, Kenneth Weinstein, criticized the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation that the U.S. engage with Syria and Iran in order to stabilize Iraq, claiming that such diplomacy could only bring about “a perception of American weakness.” Weinstein and many other scholars at Hudson continue to oppose nuclear negotiations with Iran.

In 2008, Doug Feith, a former undersecretary of defense in the Bush administration, and one of the architects of the Iraq War, joined the institute as a fellow. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the disgraced former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is now a senior vice president. Other notable fellows include Weekly Standard editor Lee Smith, a vocal advocate of war with Iran, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., and Nina Shea, a former commissioner on the troubled U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Hudson’s funders include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (contributed $13,055,560 since 1987), DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund (a combined $8,932,000 since 2002), the Smith Richardson Foundation ($6,709,860 since 1996), the Sarah Scaife Foundation ($4,173,000 since 1991), and the now-defunct John M. Olin Foundation ($3,034,840 between 1989 and 2003). Hudson also has many corporate funders, including Monsanto and Exxon Mobil. The Conservative Transparency database includes grants totaling $43,276,018 to the Hudson Institute.

Notable Facts:

  • The group’s early contract work for the government was criticized by federal auditors for, in one case, “adding nothing to the state of the art” and in another case, being a “rehash of old, if not tired ideas.”
  • Robert Bork, the controversial Supreme Court nominee, was a Hudson Institute fellow.
  • Former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels was president of the Hudson Institute from 1987 to 1990.


View Financial Record
Grants In
Grants Out
Total Expenses
12014$31,985,235$13,295,664$11,305,549$1,000$11,309,797View 990
22013$30,228,974$13,327,351$12,094,778$0$9,851,909View 990
32012$24,250,700$15,073,282$13,796,319$126,025$10,787,681View 990
42011$19,772,262$4,561,389$3,907,886$0$3,018,291View 990
52011$17,460,748$12,265,931$10,429,826$0$11,344,742View 990
62010$18,082,389$9,804,595$6,728,394$17,842$10,635,441View 990
72009$18,567,301$12,456,864$9,137,117$30,192$11,852,015View 990
82008$17,091,966$11,064,171$11,239,207$186,000$11,282,875View 990
92007$20,575,467$10,622,227$8,997,270$1,073,621$10,087,957View 990
102006$16,679,582$9,859,712$7,326,713$230,000$9,309,590View 990
112005$15,530,369$7,497,881$5,334,068$0$7,161,290View 990
122004$13,396,968$8,378,125$6,010,638$0$8,414,441View 990
132003$12,761,201$9,343,536$7,413,195$17,262$7,654,419View 990
142002$10,231,078$7,009,227$5,545,881$9,964$6,933,864View 990

562 transactions on record as a recipient.

Ordered By: Year (Newer to Older)

1Institute for Foreign Policy AnalysisHudson Institute$55,2502014+
2Donors Capital FundHudson Institute$200,0002014+
3DonorsTrustHudson Institute$10,0002014+
4DonorsTrustHudson Institute$35,0002014+
5DonorsTrustHudson Institute$12,0002014+
6DonorsTrustHudson Institute$20,0002013+
7Institute for Foreign Policy AnalysisHudson Institute$55,2502013+
8Donors Capital FundHudson Institute$50,0002013+
9Donors Capital FundHudson Institute$2,000,0002013+
10The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$35,0002013+
11The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$40,0002013+
12The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$15,0002013+
13The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$50,0002013+
14The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$35,0002013+
15The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$65,0002013+
16The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$87,5002013+
17The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$87,5002013+
18The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$87,5002013+
19The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$87,5002013+
20The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$6,0002013+
21The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$75,0002013+
22The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$75,0002013+
23Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$200,0002012+
24F.M. Kirby FoundationHudson Institute$25,0002012+
25Sarah Scaife FoundationHudson Institute$50,0002012+
26Sarah Scaife FoundationHudson Institute$100,0002012+
27Sarah Scaife FoundationHudson Institute$100,0002012+
28William H. Donner FoundationHudson Institute$25,0002012+
29William H. Donner FoundationHudson Institute$25,0002012+
30Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld FoundationHudson Institute$10,0002012+
31Searle Freedom TrustHudson Institute$50,0002012+
32Searle Freedom TrustHudson Institute$150,0002012+
33Armstrong FoundationHudson Institute$5,0002012+
34Claude R. Lambe Charitable FoundationHudson Institute$25,0002012+
35Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$120,0002012+
36Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$100,0002012+
37Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$100,0002012+
38Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$75,0002012+
39Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$60,0002012+
40Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$50,0002012+
41Smith Richardson FoundationHudson Institute$44,4952012+
42Earhart FoundationHudson Institute$10,0002012+
43William E. Simon FoundationHudson Institute$15,0002012+
44Institute for Foreign Policy AnalysisHudson Institute$55,2502012+
45DonorsTrustHudson Institute$5,0002012+
46DonorsTrustHudson Institute$5,0002012+
47Donors Capital FundHudson Institute$100,0002012+
48Donors Capital FundHudson Institute$4,000,0002012+
49The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$10,0002012+
50The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationHudson Institute$25,0002012+
The transactions in Conservative Transparency are based on information reported by the donors and exclude 'dark money' raised by the recipients from unknown donors that are not in the database. For more information about our methodology, visit our about page.