National Center for Policy Analysis
The National Center for Policy Analysis is a nonprofit think tank with a mission to “develop and promote private, free-market alternatives to government regulation and control.” NCPA is described by the Dallas Morning News as “Dallas’ most prominent conservative think tank” and is a member of the State Policy Network.
The NCPA is backed by numerous corporate interests. In 1993 The Dallas Morning News reported that NCPA received “42 percent of its $2 million annual budget from corporations,” and it was described by the New York Times in 1992 as being “partially financed by the insurance industry.” Greenpeace reported that it has received over $600,000 from Exxon Mobil Corp. between 1998 and 2008.
Those corporate interests might be why NCPA is known for publishing “misleading and inaccurate information about climate change.” NCPA senior fellow Sterling Burnett once compared Vice President Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to a movie by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels: “If I thought Al Gore’s movie was as you like to say, fair and balanced, I’d say, everyone should go see it. But why go see propaganda? You don’t go see Joseph Goebbels’ films to see the truth about Nazi Germany. You don’t go see Al Gore’s films to see the truth about global warming.” Burnett is also listed as one of the Heartland Institute’s climate science and policy experts despite his doctorates being in applied philosophy.
NCPA was founded in 1983 at the University of Dallas by economist John C. Goodman, who led the organization until his dismissal in 2014. Goodman has been called the “intellectual godfather of the health savings account,” and was praised by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who said about Goodman that “It’s difficult to overstate his influence.” Goodman helped raise more than $100 million in funding for the NCPA from the likes of Exxon Mobil, the Scaife Family Foundation, and foundations run by Charles and David Koch.
Goodman and his group worked closely with Newt Gingrich and NCPA claimed to have “shaped and molded” the tax policy proposed by the Republican Party in the 1990s and pushed by Gingrich. In 1994 its tax cuts package “became the core” of Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” In 2010 John Goodman and Gingrich co-authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, laying out their own health care reform proposals as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which they claimed was only made up of “more spending, more regulations and more bureaucracy.”
NCPA was strongly supportive of George W. Bush, going so far as to fire one of its senior fellows for his criticisms of the Bush administration. Senior fellow and Republican commentator, Bruce Bartlett, was fired by the group after he provided Goodman with a copy of the manuscript of his book titled, “The Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.” Bartlett had worked at NCPA for 10 years and was “well regarded in conservative circles.” NCPA was also motivated to fire Bartlett because his criticism of Bush and his cabinet “hampered” the ability of the Center to raise money from Republican donors. Bartlett provided the New York Times with a copy of an email from Jeanette Goodman, vice president of the NCPA, that stated, “100K is off the table if you do another ‘dump Cheney’ column and 65K donor is having a rebuttal done, in a national magazine, to your attack on the fair tax people so that 65K may be gone also.”
In June of 2014, Goodman was fired amid accusations of “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty.” He was soon replaced by former one-term Rep. Allen West. West, whose time in Congress was better known for his often incendiary rhetoric than any legislative accomplishments, once claimed that as many as 80 Democratic members of the House were members of the Communist Party. A month after he was chosen to head NCPA, West came under fire for plagiarism.
In 2013, the most recent year for which financial information is available, the NCPA took in nearly $3.7 million in contributions and grants, and spent more than $5 million on its operations. The Conservative Transparency database has identified more than $13.4 million of the group’s contributions since 1986. Since 2008, it has received major donations from Donors Capital Fund, a conservative donor-advised fund; the Sarah Scaife Foundation, part of the network of foundations that were directed by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, run by Republican political operative Michael Grebe.