American Institute for Economic Research

American Institute for Economic Research (AIER)

Background

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 04-2121305) in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. AIER describes itself as “dedicated to developing and promoting the ideas of pure freedom and private governance.” Edward C. Harwood (1900–1980) founded the American Institute for Economic Research in 1933.  [1][2]

AIER‘s president, Edward Stringham, earned his PhD. from George Mason University where his professors included Peter J. Boettke, who also serves as a senior fellow at AIER. George Mason University, its Mercatus Center, and its other associated institutes and centers have received more funding from Koch Family charitable foundations than any other organization. Boettke is a professor of Economics and Philosophy at GMU and also director of its F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center. AIER itself received over $60,000 from Koch foundations in 2018. [3], [4]

Stringham is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Private Enterprise, on the board of scholars of the Foundation for Economic Education, and past president of both the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics and Association of Private Enterprise Education. He is a faculty member of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. [5], [6]

AIER also runs the Bastiat Society program, which it describes as “a global network of business professionals committed to advancing free trade, individual freedom, and responsible governance.” The network includes chapters across the United States, as well as in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. [7] 

AIER‘s “sister organization,” the Progress Foundation—also founded by Edward C. Harwood—is located in Zurich, Switzerland and focuses on awarding stipends to students at Swiss universities to fund their studies at the AIER. [28][29]

AIER also owns American Investment Services (AIS), an investment advisory group which helps provide “earnings” to fund AIER. A number of AIS‘s investments are in the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries with holdings including Chevron, Duke Energy, Dow Chemical, FirstEnergy, Entergy, NextEra Energy, OGE Energy, Philip Morris International, Xcel Energy, and ExxonMobil among others. [22]

AIER is a member and has received funding from the Atlas Network, a group that has supported free-market think tanks across the US and worldwide[8], [9]

The Great Barrington Declaration

In October 2020, AIER sponsored the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a controversial statement advocating for a herd immunity strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization and other health experts have suggested a herd immunity strategy would be “unethical,” dangerous, and deadly. [10][11]

AIER also registered the domain name for the website hosting the declaration, gbdeclaration.org: [12], [13]

Domain Registration for gbdeclaration.org

^Screenshot of WHOIS data via CentralOPS (emphasis added)

On October 3, AIER hosted a private gathering in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that included Professor Sunetra Gupta, a proponent of the herd immunity strategy. The declaration reads: [14]

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

[…]

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.”

The “herd immunity” strategy has been criticized by members of the medical community as “practically impossible and highly unethical.” [15]

The Great Barrington Declaration, named after the Massachussetts town where it was drafted, reportedly had no vetting procedure in place for signatories. Despite claiming to be signed by over 5,000 “Medical & Public Health Scientist”’ and 11,267 “Medical Practitioners,” as well as  over 155,000 members of the public, journalist and academic Dr. Nafeez Ahmed found “anybody could become a confirmed signatory of the Declaration and be categorised as a scientist or medic by falsifying entry information and ticking a box.” [16][12]

AIER‘s editorial director, Jeffrey A. Tucker, responded on Twitter: “Actually admins have been beating back fraudsters from the beginning. It’s not easy to manage a website with millions of views ongoing, plus dealing with trolls,” he claimed.

However when asked how “IER was ‘checking and vetting signatories’ and whether they were contacting people to verify their claimed identities and scientific credentials, he failed to respond.”

AIER also published a video it claims is “part one of a series that seeks to explain the basics of viruses and their spread” featuring Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya promoting the herd immunity strategy. [17]

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts—where AIER is located—has distanced itself from the Declaration and many of the town’s leaders believe herd immunity is a dangerous strategy. [18]

We are a COVID safe community, we are not tossing off our masks,” said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski. “This Declaration has gained national headlines and has created harmful misperceptions—just as we are doing all we can to protect residents, employees and visitors.”

In the October 22, 2020 article, titled “Climate Catastrophism and a Sensible Environmentalism,” AIER visiting scholar Joakim Book claimed the declaration had been “silenced” or “viciously attacked” by the “pro-lockdown media.” [19]

“Conspiratorial writers from Byline Times to The Guardian as well as editors at Wikipedia attacked AIER for a minor, inconsequential connection to the ‘evil’ Koch Foundation, damning the Institute’s efforts in a laughable attempt of guilt-by-association,” Book wrote.

He added:  [19]

 “As a carte blanche ‒ the ultimate “gotcha” in these unenlightened and confused times ‒ many of these outlets attacked AIER for ‘downplay[ing] the threats of the environmental crisis,’ and linked specifically to a number of my climate change articles. 

“I don’t see how I have anything to apologize for regarding what’s in those articles ‒ so instead I’ll double down. 

Book went on:  [19]

“[R]enewables ‒ or more aptly called ‘unreliables’ ‒ can’t power a modern civilization, that their intermittency problem is light years behind where its proponents assume it to be, that they’re not energy-dense enough to provide us with the energy and electricity we want. Without the amazing help of fossil fuels we couldn’t do half the things we’re currently doing ‒ living, eating, flourishing, helping, traveling (well…), producing.

“None of that matters; we need to fix the climate, activists say, and quell CO2 emissions urgently. But while we’re at it we must also ensure equal gender representation on corporate boards, and shut down tax havens, and confiscate the rich’s productive assets. And naturally, end racial inequality, and most certainly regulate who may use a public bathroom carrying this or that gendered sign on it. 

“A cynic, perhaps reaching for a tin foil hat or the closest religious text to understand how this could possibly make sense, would conclude that catastrophists are not really addressing the problem they say they are. “

[…]

“If you’re concerned about these other societal problems ‒ which you could be as they are serious concerns in their own right ‒ then you’re also unavoidably telling me that you don’t think the climate crisis is existential or even that bad. After all, if you think climate change will kill millions or billions of people, why would you bother, for instance, throwing everything and the kitchen sink at a coronavirus the mortality of which is a rounding error compared to the apocalyptic climate future you see?”

Book also quotes Michael Shellenberger, who he describes as a “pro-nuclear environmentalist.” [19]

In conclusion, Book suggests a focus on adaptation because “CO2 we’ve already emitted into the atmosphere is that it lingers there for hundreds of years […] much of what will happen to the planet over the next century or so is already ‘baked in.’ ” [19]

“That also means that we must prepare for those changes rather than muck about with blunt tools like carbon taxes or symbolic bans on plastic bags.

“So let’s abandon fanciful and fleetingly ineffective climate policies. Let’s rapidly transition to the cleanest and most reliable electricity source we have (nuclear).  […] “Let’s stop torturing ourselves with totalitarian policies against a virus we can’t control.”

Stance on Climate Change

October 1, 2019

Richard M. Ebeling, former president of the Foundation for Economic Educationwrote at AIER: [20]

“[H]ere we are with a hyped-up hysteria supercharged by the impassioned declarations of a 16-year-old [Greta Thunberg] placed front and center on the world stage as if she is a learned expert on climate science pointing an accusatory finger on her shaking hand about how the world is about to become uninhabitable in the way we have known life up till now on this planet. And … how dare you!

Here we see another representation of politics in the 21st century, this time on the global stage. We see the constantly repeated naïve and arrogant turning to and presumption of ability by ‘government’ to solve the problems of humanity, and in this case, a ‘problem’ that is dubious about being a problem as serious as the proponents of global warming run around warning about.”

January 14, 2019

AIER senior fellow Raymond C. Niles wrote: [21]

“So, what is the bottom line? If global warming will only reduce the annual growth rate in our standard of living by 0.13% per year, what should we do? The most plausible economic answer is: nothing. Because the cure is worse than the disease and likely to hurt the economy by much more than that.

“Moreover, the ‘cure’ will provide a huge new pot of revenue for the government to spend and dissipate, reducing our standard of living even further.

“If global warming has such a small effect, as described by the experts cited in the NYT, then the only responsible conclusion is that we should do nothing. Wealth creation is the answer to global warming. A society that is 18x (!) wealthier 82 years from now — or even 6x or 3x wealthier — will probably be able to air condition entire cities in domes — just like in a science fiction novel — if the world were 1.4–5.8 degrees warmer then, as predicted by the consensus of global warming scientists.

“Economics and statistics matter. They are embarrassingly absent from the scaremongering “scientific” research and general media articles on global warming today.”

November 2–3, 2007

Senior economist Michael J. Rizzo made the following statements in an introduction to AIER‘s conference on “The Global Warming Debate,” according to the proceedings as reported in AIER‘s Economic Education Bulletin[22]

“What Do We Know About the Science of Climate Change? Climate science is extremely complex for three reasons, according to the climate scientists at our conference—Carl Wunsch (Professor of Oceanography at MIT), David Chapman (Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah), William Gray (Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State) and Richard Lindzen (Professor of Meteorology at MIT). First, it is an immature science. The observational records cover a time period that is dwarfed by the relevant geologic time scales. Given the current state of understanding, accurate prediction is not possible.”

[…]

“[M]odern climate science relies on large, complicated models that seek to describe and predict the climate system, but these models are inherently unreliable and unstable.”

[…]

“Evidence abounds to suggest that CO2 is far from the most important contributor to global warming. Previous interglacial periods were much warmer and had far lower concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere; and it might eventually be demonstrated that CO2 concentrations lag temperature increases. When the temperature change is within a few tenths of a degree, it is difficult to identify the particular causes.”

[…]

“The IPCC’s views on global warming are widely portrayed as representing an objective, scientific consensus, but David Henderson (a former chief economist at the OECD, now at the University of Westminster, U.K.) demonstrated that the IPCC reporting process is flawed and lacks rigor, inclusiveness, and impartiality… . Environmental economist Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph, Ontario) affirmed Henderson’s analysis with an account of his own experience with the IPCC.”

[…]

“The challenge is not, ‘Either we believe in global warming and rescue the planet or we all die.’ It is largely a choice between how much action to take now and how much in the future; and a choice between preventing or adapting to it. The science is still young. Some people take uncertainty as a reason to act, others take it as a reason to proceed slowly. Future generations will have the benefit of greater scientific knowledge, better technology, and greater wealth… . . The range of views expressed at our conference suggests that the debate is far from being over, and that there is still time for much-needed rational discussion.”

July 2001

The following from an AIER Economic Education Bulletin titled “A Climate of Opinion: The Kyoto Protocols and Atmospheric Science”: [31]

“Climate is a word for regional weather variability. The earth has many climates, and life has lasted through severe global climate variability. Climate scientists readily agree that the earth has been warming for thousands of years following the peak of the last major glacial age. The warming has not been smooth and may or may not continue.”

[…]

“Climate scientists also agree that 98 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have non-human sources (mostly water vapor) and that only some two percent of all greenhouse gases come from human sources. For comparison, the termite and ant family alone digest and compost plants, thereby reportedly releasing carbon dioxide at a rate double that of all human emissions.”

[…]

“Interestingly, the U.S. surface temperature record for the last 20 years or so shows no statistically significant warming trend, a record that agrees with the balloon and satellite records. Only recently noted is that the widely reported global temperature increase may be attributable in part to sloppy measurement outside of North America and Western Europe.”

October 5, 1992

Below are some excerpts from an issue of AIER‘s Research Reports (Vol. LIX, No.19): [30]

“Global warming is only one of the supposedly human-caused ‘crises’ that are severely questioned by genuine scientists. The latter often are too busy working on genuine problems to take the time to refute the sensational assertions of the ‘activists’ so avidly reported by the media. If the socialist agenda that has become the goal of the so-called environmentalists is advanced, the material costs will be huge and the benefits small. The ultimate cost would be human freedom.”

[…]

“Nearly everyone believes that the earth is heating up. Is it? Probably not — at least there is no evidence that it is. Why then do so many believe in global warming? Because everybody says so.”

[…]

“Considering the lack of evidence to support the theory of global warming, coupled with the facts that 1) if global warming should occur, it is not carbon dioxide that is the important greenhouse gas anyhow, rather it is water vapor. It is water vapor and clouds that would account for 98 percent of the effect, and 2) carbon dioxide is not an air pollutant. It is produced whenever any kind of organic material is burned or oxidized and, more than that, it is absolutely necessary as a nutrient for all green growing plants. The plant world is the only source of oxygen on which all of us depend to stay alive. Carbon dioxide has a positive benefit for green plants — the more of it that is in the atmosphere, the better they like it. If the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should double, and this has been done experimentally by controlling the atmospheres in which plants grow, it results in a 30 percent increase in growth and in harvest yield. But the public never hears about this. Well, so much for global warming.”

Funding

AIER Funding

AIER wrote in a 2008 “Economic Education Bulletin” publication: [22]

“Financial support for the Institute is provided primarily by the small annual fees from several thousand sustaining members, by receipts from sales of its publications, by tax-deductible contributions, and by the earnings of its wholly owned investment advisory organization, American Investment Services, Inc.”

The below funding values are from publicly available 990 forms, reviewed by DeSmog. View the attached spreadsheet for additional information on American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) funding (.xlsx).

Donor2010201120122013201420152016201720182019Grand Total
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation        $68,100 $68,100
Atlas Economic Research Foundation        $54,133 $54,133
Network for Good  $10,124$25,874$17,990     $53,988
National Philanthropic Trust        $45,000 $45,000
Foulke Foundation Trust$6,000$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000$4,000 $45,000
Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund        $11,225$10,150$21,375
Orcas Bay Foundation$5,000$4,000$1,000       $10,000
Bartley J Madden Foundation        $10,000 $10,000
Woodford Foundation for Limited Government        $5,000 $5,000
George and Wilma Leonard Charitable Foundation     $1,000 $1,000 $500$2,500
Community Building Foundation CO Katy Sheehan        $1,500 $1,500
Baltimore Family Fund   $100$100$100$100$100$100 $600
Shell Oil Company Foundation   $50$52$100$100$200  $502
Grand Total$11,000$9,000$16,124$31,024$23,142$6,200$5,200$6,300$199,058$10,650$317,698

Bastiat Society Funding

The following from DeSmog’s review of public 990 forms combined with data from the Conservative Transparency project: [32]

Donor20112012201320142015201620172018Grand Total
Pierre F and Enid Goodrich Foundation   $25,000$25,000$25,000$25,000 $100,000
JP Humphreys Foundation $10,000$15,000$25,000$25,000$10,000$10,000 $95,000
Woodford Foundation for Limited Government$6,000$6,000$7,500$10,000$10,000$10,000$20,000 $69,500
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $8,000$10,000 $20,000$23,000  $61,000
Sarah Scaife Foundation     $35,000  $35,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation$15,000$9,000$10,000     $34,000
Krieble Foundation $5,000$5,000$10,000    $20,000
John William Pope Foundation      $14,000 $14,000
Richard E Fox Charitable Foundation   $10,000    $10,000
Lowndes Foundation    $10,000   $10,000
Donors Capital Fund     $2,000  $2,000
The Roe Foundation    $1,000   $1,000
Richard Seth Staley Educational Foundation       $100$100
Grand Total$21,000$38,000$47,500$80,000$91,000$105,000$69,000$100$451,600

American Investment Services

American Investment Services is wholly owned by AIER. According to its website, “Our investment approach is consistent with AIER’s scientific research findings, as described in its popular book How to Invest Wisely. We are governed by a Board of Directors appointed by AIER.” [23]

A Guide to Classical-Liberal Think Tanks,” written by the Heartland Institute’s former president Joseph Bast, described the relationship: “The American Institute for Economic Research has an investment subsidiary (American Investment Services Inc.) that subsidizes the nonprofit think tank.” [24]

The AIS website provides the following description of its “corporate relationships,” in response to articles covering AIER‘s involvement in the controversial Great Barrington Declaration that advocated for a herd immunity approach to the COVID-19 pandemic: [25], [12]

On October 5, 2020, the Great Barrington Declaration, co-authored by three eminent professors of epidemiology, was released to the public following a gathering hosted by our parent company, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). The meeting’s objective was “to discuss the policy response to the virus SARS-Cov-2, and its public health effects on the poor, children, business, the arts, and trade.”

Since its publication, the Declaration has roused substantial controversy and prompted significant press coverage and commentary, some of which referenced our firm. Unfortunately, certain articles contained gross inaccuracies concerning the services we provide and the precise business and operating relationship between our two firms.

Business Relationship: While a wholly-owned subsidiary of AIER, AIS is a separate legal entity that has been an SEC-registered investment adviser since 1978. Although governed by a Board of Directors appointed by AIER’s Trustees, AIS conducts its investment advisory business independent of AIER’s day-to-day operations.”

As of October 21, 2020, AIS‘s estimated portfolio value was $ 284,492,000. See below a summary for the reporting period of June 30, 2020: [26]

SecuritySharesValue
VUG / Vanguard Growth Index Fund135053$27,293,000
GLDM / SPDR Gold MiniShares1430881$25,412,000
IBM / International Business Machines Corp.139863$16,891,000
IAU / iShares Gold Trust859158$14,597,000
VZ / Verizon Communications, Inc.240335$13,250,000
DOW / Dow Chemical Co. (The)324960$13,245,000
XOM / Exxon Mobil Corp.293216$13,113,000
VTV / Vanguard Value Index Fund104362$10,393,000
MGC / Vanguard Mega Cap Index Fund73991$8,098,000
CVX / Chevron Corp.84661$7,554,000
AAPL / Apple, Inc.19211$7,008,000
SPY / SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust21272$6,559,000
QQQ / PowerShares QQQ Trust26262$6,502,000
VEA / Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund157348$6,104,000
VWO / Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund115147$4,561,000
BSV / Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index Fund47482$3,947,000
VSIIX / Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund35638$3,810,000
VNQ / Vanguard REIT ETF45863$3,602,000
VB / Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund23480$3,422,000
VPU / Vanguard Utilities Index Fund26106$3,229,000
SPDW / SPDR(R) Portfolio Developed World ex-US ETF90914$2,511,000
VBMFX / Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund27762$2,452,000
VLCSX / Vanguard Large-Cap Index Fund15310$2,189,000
GOOG / Alphabet Inc. Class C1538$2,174,000
BNDX / Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund37501$2,165,000
MDLZ / Mondelez International, Inc.41550$2,124,000
SHY / iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF24324$2,107,000
GOOGL / Alphabet Inc.1452$2,059,000
SCHA / Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF29236$1,910,000
VTI / Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund10457$1,637,000
SPLG / SPDR(R) Portfolio Large Cap ETF40352$1,463,000
TSLA / Tesla Motors, Inc.1284$1,386,000
BRK.B / Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.7692$1,373,000
IVW / iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF6462$1,341,000
SCHX / Schwab U.S. Large-Cap ETF17338$1,285,000
ETR / Entergy Corp.13168$1,235,000
IWF / iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF6053$1,162,000
SPEM / SPDR(R) Portfolio Emerging Markets ETF34538$1,156,000
DUK / Duke Energy Corp.14143$1,130,000
PEP / PepsiCo, Inc.8210$1,086,000
SCHV / Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF21435$1,074,000
SCHF / Schwab International Equity ETF35930$1,069,000
FE / FirstEnergy Corp.27318$1,059,000
MRNA / Moderna Inc16477$1,058,000
ES / Eversource Energy12386$1,031,000
SLYV / SPDR(R) S & P 600 Small Cap Value ETF20941$1,029,000
SPYV / SPDR(R) Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF34308$994,000
XEL / Xcel Energy, Inc.15648$978,000
SCHE / Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF38499$937,000
IJS / iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Value ETF7750$933,000
AMT / American Tower Corp. (REIT)3585$927,000
CMS / CMS Energy Corp.15308$894,000
LNT / Alliant Energy Corp.17991$861,000
AEP / American Electric Power Company, Inc.10742$855,000
PLD / Prologis, Inc.9131$852,000
WEC / WEC Energy Group, Inc.9511$834,000
EQIX / Equinix, Inc.1182$830,000
NWE / NorthWestern Corp.14808$807,000
TIP / iShares TIPS Bond ETF6551$806,000
HD / Home Depot, Inc. (The)3187$798,000
AEE / Ameren Corp.11081$780,000
AGG / iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF6488$767,000
BKH / Black Hills Corp.13453$762,000
DLR / Digital Realty Trust, Inc.5222$742,000
PNW / Pinnacle West Capital Corp.10111$741,000
PM / Philip Morris International, Inc.10410$729,000
IJR / iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF10330$705,000
POR / Portland General Electric Co.16737$700,000
IVV / iShares Core S&P 500 ETF2227$690,000
NI / NiSource, Inc.30357$690,000
SPIR / Spire Corp.10194$670,000
AVA / Avista Corp.18384$669,000
SBAC / SBA Communications Corp.2236$666,000
SPSM / SPDR(R) Portfolio Small Cap ETF25035$665,000
EEM / iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF16515$660,000
TCB.WS / TCF Financial Corp.11792$658,000
OGS / ONE Gas, Inc.8424$649,000
MCD / McDonald’s Corp.3428$632,000
VNQI / Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index Fund13496$630,000
IDA / IDACORP, Inc.7179$627,000
MA / MasterCard Incorporated2101$621,000
PG / Procter & Gamble Co. (The)4969$594,000
INTC / Intel Corp.9760$584,000
GLD / SPDR Gold Shares3486$583,000
PSA / Public Storage2972$570,000
PNM / PNM Resources, Inc.14780$568,000
IWM / iShares Russell 2000 ETF3923$562,000
ATO / Atmos Energy Corp.5568$554,000
ALE / ALLETE, Inc.10052$549,000
SIPE / SPDR Barclays 0-5 Year TIPS ETF5926$542,000
VICSX / Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond Index Fund5482$522,000
FIXX / Homology Medicines, Inc.31136$473,000
NEE / NextEra Energy, Inc.1969$473,000
LLY / Eli Lilly & Co.2850$468,000
AVB / AvalonBay Communities, Inc.2759$427,000
VFINX / Vanguard 500 Index Fund1502$426,000
CL / Colgate-Palmolive Co.5804$425,000
V / Visa, Inc.2189$423,000
SPG / Simon Property Group, Inc.6095$417,000
EQR / Equity Residential6959$409,000
OGE / OGE Energy Corp.13387$406,000
O / Realty Income Corp.6808$405,000
ARE / Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.2435$395,000
CI / Cigna Corp.1983$372,000
SCHO / Schwab Short-Term U.S. Treasury ETF7173$370,000
VEU / Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Fund7490$357,000
IVE / iShares S&P 500 Value ETF3259$353,000
DEO / Diageo plc2471$332,000
NKE / Nike, Inc.3384$332,000
ICF / iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF3070$310,000
ESS / Essex Property Trust, Inc.1288$295,000
INVH / Invitation Homes Inc.10695$294,000
SHV / iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF2596$287,000
IWD / iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF2530$285,000
VSIGX / Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury Index Fund4028$284,000
JPM / JPMorgan Chase & Co.2936$276,000
BRK.A / Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.1$267,000
MDT / Medtronic plc2902$266,000
MSFT / Microsoft Corp.1290$263,000
BXP / Boston Properties, Inc.2864$259,000
DRE / Duke Realty Corp.7201$255,000
SUI / Sun Communities, Inc.1840$250,000
EFA / iShares MSCI EAFE ETF4087$249,000
DIS / The Walt Disney Co.2225$248,000
VTEB / Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond Index Fund4350$236,000
EXR / Extra Space Storage, Inc.2510$232,000
ELS / Equity Lifestyles Properties, Inc.3552$222,000
TEL / TE Connectivity Ltd.2689$219,000
VDE / Vanguard Energy Index Fund4350$219,000
UDR / UDR, Inc.5691$213,000
IWC / iShares Micro-Cap ETF2325$203,000
HST / Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.14147$153,000
CSTR / CapStar Financial Holdings, Inc.10000$120,000
GE / General Electric Co.11965$82,000
GRAND TOTAL $284,492,000

Independent Contractors

AIER‘s highest paid independent contractors, according to data from publicly available 990 tax forms, included:

YearContractor NameServiceCompensation
2018Emergent Order LLC*Marketing Consulting Services$510,000
2014Rubenstein Associates Inc.Public Relations$124,831
2013Rubenstein Associates Inc.Public Relations$111,111
20068 Corporate CircleGraphic Services$53,018
2002SK Design Group Inc.Engineering$103,632
2001Shea & GardnerLegal$80,137
2001Fennemore CraigLegal$59,960
Grand Total$1,042,689

*Byline Times  reported Emergent Order “itself receives extensive Charles Koch Foundation funding” with a total of $1.4 million since 2014 for “general operating support” from the foundation. Desmog’s review of 990 forms confirms Emergent received at least $1,466,847 from Koch-controlled foundations. [27]

“The latest available corporate records filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirm that, in 2018, AIER paid $510,000 to Emergent Order for ‘marketing consulting services’. This included production of a viral YouTube video, ‘The March of History: Mises vs Marx – The Definitive Capitalism vs. Socialism Rap Battle’, which began production in May 2019 and was released in December.”

Emergent Order has supported other Koch-backed organizations including the Pacific Legal Foundation ($175,558 from Koch Foundations, according to 990 data), the American Enterprise Institute ($2,276,121), and the Independent Institute ($210,000). 

AIER 990 Forms

Bastiat Society 990 Forms

Key People

AIER Koch Transition

Prior to 2017, AIER did not appear to have many connections to Koch-tied individuals or organizations. [35]

However, at some point in early 2017 no later than February, Benjamin Powell joined AIER’s board of directors. Powell was one of several new key staff who joined AIER around that period, with many having ties to the Koch-funded George Mason University (GMU) among other Koch-funded or affiliated groups. [36]

Powell, a GMU economics graduate (PhD), is a senior fellow at the Koch-funded Independent Institute and former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education that itself received at least $330,500 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation according to DeSmog’s review of public 990 tax forms. [37]

Powell is also the director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, a university that reportedly experienced its own “hostile takeover” by Koch-tied groups. [38]

“A close examination of the Free Market Institute’s funding shows how often such funding comes with strings attached,” The Texas Observer wrote in 2016. “In a 2013 grant application for $1.7 million from the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that advocates reconciling religion and science, Powell suggested that the institute staff could monitor how students changed their views as a result of their teachings. The funding, he wrote, would also further the foundation’s mission — to build a ‘freer and more prosperous society’ — and change the way “supporters of private enterprise and free markets agitate for more freedom.'”

The Koch transition at AIER appeared to first begin in the summer of 2016. On May 24, Edward P. Stringham, also a GMU economics graduate (PhD), was named president. His position became effective on June 1. Stringham, like Powell, was also a former president of the Koch-funded Association of Private Enterprise Education. He is also former president of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics. According to his CV, Stringham is also a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and organization whose uncovered membership lists revealed deep ties to the Koch network. [39], [40]

Stringham and Powell have co-authored at least 14 papers, including publications at the Reason Foundation, another group having received signification funding (over $3,3 million combined) from Koch sources. [41]

Stephen C. Miller—previously listed as a voting member and a member of the Standing Committee—became chairman of the standing committee in 2020. He was still listed as chairman as of May 2021. Miller was a former research assistant at the Cato Institute (2001 – 2002), Adams Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise and Associate Professor of Economics at the Koch-funded Troy University, and received his PhD in Economics from George Mason University in 2006. [42], [43], [44]

As shown in comprehensive books including Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains, George Mason University’s (GMU) Economics Department, and the Mercatus Center at and Institute for Humane Studies at GMU have long been key groups for recruiting, training and connecting people for Koch-funded universities and think tanks in the Koch Network. [45], [46]

Below is an analysis of board and staff changes during this transition period. Bold, underlined names include those with known Koch ties, including connections to Koch-funded universities and PhD recipients in GMU economics as noted in the columns on the right. As of 2014, AIER’s governance had approximately 5 individuals with Koch affiliations. This number increased to 29 by 2021. AIER’s staff had an even sharper increase, moving from 2 affiliations in 2014 to 48 in 2020 (down to 41 in 2021). 

Governance

Board of Trustees

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Benjamin W. PowellYYYYSenior fellow at the Independent Institute, former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, fellow with Mercatus Center‘s Global Prosperity Initiative, executive director of Free Market Institute and a professor of economics in the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration at the Koch-funded Texas Tech University, received his Ph.D. in economics from the Koch-funded George Mason University [47], [48]
Bradley K. HobbsYResearch fellow at the James Madison Institute, senior fellow at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, clinical professor in the Department of Economics at the Koch-funded Clemson University, member of the Academic Advisory Board to The Bastiat Society, former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, “long-time member” of the Mont Pelerin Society, and has taught at the Foundation for Economic Education, and the Institute for Humane Studies [49], [50]
Douglas L. HarwoodYYY
Frederick C. HarwoodYTrustee Emeritus
Gerald E. SohanYYYYYYY
Gerald W. LaMarshYYYYYY
Gregory M. van KipnisYYYYYChairman
Harold F. DvorakYYYTrustee Emeritus
Henry J. Miller, IIIYY
J. Eric SmithYYYChairman
J.R. ClarkYFormer Scott L. Probasco, Jr. Chair of Free Enterprise Finance at the Koch-funded University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. According to Sourcewatch, Clark was a member of the “Cash for Comments Economists Network” that served the tobacco industry and operated via the George Mason University’s Center for the Study of Public Choice. He is a distinguished fellow and secretary/treasurer emeritus for The Association of Private Enterprise Education where he is also former president. He has served as treasurer of the Mont Pelerin Society, and on the board of directors of the Koch-funded Palmer R. Chitester Fund. [51], [52], [53]
James C. LordemanYMember of the advisory council for the Political Economy and Research Institute (PERI). He “supports CATO, Atlas, Mercatus, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, PERI, and other organizations committed to the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government,” has been a member of the Koch-funded Lipscomb University’s adjunct faculty (teaching healthcare finance) and a member of Lipscomb’s Executive Advisory Board for healthcare programs. Fellow in the Sound Money Project formerly run by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and taken over by AIER [54]
Katherine H. DelayYYYYY
Keith A. HocterYYYYYYY
Latimer B. EddyYYYYYY
Nelson E. FurlanoYY
Reed E. PhillipsYYYY
Richard M. DoncasterYTrustee Emeritus
Richard W. BrewerYYTrustee Emeritus
Robert J. VodickaYYY
Ronald A. GilmoreYYYY
Roy E. BouffardYY
Walker F. ToddYYYYFormer adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute‘s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives. [55]
William H. SouthwickYYYYYY

Officers

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
David C. MichaelsYYYYYChief Financial Officer and Comptroller
Edward P. StringhamYYYYYPresidentProfessor at the Koch-funded Trinity College, research fellow at the Independent Institute, former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, member of the board of advisors at the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Center on Culture and Civil Society at the Independent Institute, member of the FEE Faculty Network, has been a fellow at the Jack Miller Center, received his Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University [56], [57], [58], [59]
J. Eric SmithYChairman
John R. SkarYYYYSecretary of the Corporation
Jonathan SylbertYChief Operating Officer
Michele KearnsYYYVice President, Finance
Rosalind GreensteinYYDirector, Research and Education
Stephen C. MillerYSecretary of the CorporationFormer research assistant at the Cato Institute (2001 – 2002). Adams Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise and Associate Professor of Economics at the Koch-funded Troy University, received his PhD in Economics from the Koch-funded George Mason University in 2006 [44]
Stephen J. AdamsYYYPresidentFormer president of the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research [60]

Standing Committee

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Andrew H. Davis, Jr.YYYYY
Anthony C. BreuerY
Bradley K. HobbsY
Bruce M. RodenbergerY
Daniel W. BakerYYYY
Daniel W. BarwickY
Dave NadigY
David C. ColanderY
Donald A. LindleyY
Donald R. GrantYYYYY
Donald S. HowardY
Douglas L. HarwoodYYYY
Edward Philip WelkerYTrustee Emeritus
Edward W. SpurrYYYY
Evan MillerY
Frank P. StatkusY
Frederick C. HarwoodYTrustee Emeritus
Gerald E. SohanY
Gerald W. LaMarshYYYY
Grant R. RandallYY
Gregory M. van KipnisYChairman
Harold F. DvorakYTrustee Emeritus
Henry HackelY
Henry J. Miller, IIIYYYY
Howard KentY
J. Eric SmithYChairman
James A. YannesY
James C. LordemanY
James E. GreerYYYY
James M. GreerY
Jeffrey A. MironYDirector of digital development for the Foundation for Economic Education, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy advisor at the Heartland Institute [61], [62]
John H. FoulkeY
John L. BarryY
John R. SkarYSecretary of the Corporation
Joseph (Bill) SchwaigerY
Katherine H. DelayYYY
Keith A. HocterYY
Kerry A. LynchY
Kirk E. HarwoodYYY
Latimer B. EddyY
Laura A. FiskeYYYYYYY
Lawrence Pratt (1942-2020)Y
Mary M. DavisY
Maureen FoulkeYFormer member of the board of trustees Media Research Center, listed as recently as 2018 [63]
Meyer A. GrossY
Michael J. DixonY
Michael RozelleY
Michael S. HoffmanY
Michelle L. HarwoodY
Neil D. HoldenY
Opal GilmoreY
Paul S. FabianY
Paula H. PalmerY
Peter A. BlacksbergY
Peter A. LeeYTrustee Emeritus
Peter T. CalcagnoYYProfessor of economics at the Koch-funded College of Charleston, director at Public Choice Society, former board member of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, member of FEE Faculty Network[64], [65]
Philip R. MurrayY
Reed E. PhillipsYYY
Richard A. SeeleyY
Richard M. DoncasterYTrustee Emeritus
Richard M. EbelingYFormer president of The Foundation for Economic Education (2003 to 2008, former vice president of The Future of Freedom Foundation (1990-2003) [66]
Richard M. SalsmanYYYMember of the Foundation for Economic Education‘s Faculty Network an  assistant professor of political economy at the Koch-funded Duke University [67]
Richard W. BrewerYTrustee Emeritus
Ronald A. GilmoreYY
Roy E. BouffardYY
Seth LipskyYYYYY
Sidney RoseYTrustee Emeritus
Stephen C. MillerYYYYYSecretary of the Corporation
Stephen M. RobinsonY
Timothy J. BirneyY
Todd H. HoffmanY
W. Scott HarwoodY
Walker F. ToddYY
William F. HarwoodY
William H. SouthwickY
William J. BergmanY
William S. PeirceYTrustee Emeritus

Voting Members

Name2014201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Andrew H. Davis, Jr.YYYYYYY
Anthony C. BreuerYYYYYYY
Barry J. LinderY
Benjamin W. PowellYYYYY
Bradley K. HobbsYYY
Bruce M. RodenbergerYYYYYYY
Christopher C. TormeyYYYY
Daniel W. BakerYYYYY
Daniel W. BarwickY
Dave NadigYYYYY
David C. ColanderYY
David G. TuerckYYYYFormer policy expert and senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, president of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, former director of the Center for Research and Advertising at the American Enterprise Institute, former economics policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, formerly listed as an expert at the Heartland Institute, contributor at the Federalist Society [68], [69], [70]
Donald A. LindleyYY
Donald R. GrantYYYY
Donald S. HowardYYYY
Douglas L. HarwoodYYYYYYY
Edward E. DonaldsonY
Edward J. LópezYHas been a scholar in residence at Liberty Fund and at the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University, former program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies and former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, member of the FEE Faculty Network. Has had financial support from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and Earhart Foundation. [71], [72], [73]
Edward McLaughlinY
Edward Philip WelkerYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Edward W. SpurrYYYYYYY
Evan MillerYYYYYYY
Frank P. StatkusYYYYYYY
Frederick C. HarwoodYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Frederick J. SchroederYYYYY
Gail RogerYDirector of Human Resources
Gerald E. SohanYYYYYYY
Gerald P. DwyerYAdjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, past president and member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Private Enterprise Education [74]
Gerald W. LaMarshYYYYY
Grant R. RandallYYYYYYY
Gregory M. van KipnisYYYYYYYChairman
Harold F. DvorakYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Henry HackelYYY
Henry J. Miller, IIIYYYYYYY
Howard KentYYYYYYY
J. Eric SmithYYChairman
J.R. ClarkY
James A. YannesYYY
James C. LordemanYYY
James E. GreerYYYYYYY
James J. FinnertyYYYY
James L. OlsenYYYYYY
James M. GreerYYYYY
Jason OsborneY
Jeffrey A. MironYYY
John H. FoulkeYYYYYYY
John L. BarryYYYYYYY
John R. SkarYYYSecretary of the Corporation
Joseph (Bill) SchwaigerYYYYY
Karen T. ChinY
Katherine H. DelayYYYYYYY
Keith A. HocterYYYYYYY
Keming LiangY
Kerry A. LynchY
Kerry Halferty HardyYFormer development manager and board member at the Cato Institute [75], [76]
Kirk E. HarwoodYYYYYYY
Latimer B. EddyYYYYYYY
Laura A. FiskeYYYYYYY
Lawrence Pratt (1942-2020)YYYYYY
Lenore T. EalyYSenior fellow for communities at the Charles Koch Institute, served as affiliated senior scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, former president and secretary of Koch-funded Philadelphia Society [77]
Mary M. DavisYYYYYY
Maureen FoulkeYYYYYYY
Meyer A. GrossYYYYYYY
Michael J. DixonYYYYY
Michael RozelleYYY
Michael S. HoffmanYY
Michelle L. HarwoodYYYYYYY
Neil D. HoldenYYYYYYY
Nelson E. FurlanoYYYY
Opal GilmoreYYYYYYY
Paul S. FabianYYYYY
Paula H. PalmerYYY
Peter A. BlacksbergYYY
Peter A. LeeYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Peter T. CalcagnoYYY
Philip R. MurrayYYYY
Ramon P. DeGennaroYYVisiting scholar at the Mercatus Center, member of the Association of Private Enterprise Education since 2005 [78]
Raymond C. NilesYReceived a PhD in Economics from George Mason University [79]
Reed E. PhillipsYYYYYYY
Richard A. SeeleyYYYYYYY
Richard M. DoncasterYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Richard M. EbelingYYYY
Richard M. SalsmanYYY
Richard W. BrewerYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Robert D. BattingY
Robert J. SchimenzY
Robert J. VodickaYYYYY
Robert MooreY
Robert MulliganY
Ronald A. GilmoreYYYYYYY
Roy E. BouffardYYYYYYY
Seth LipskyYYYYYY
Sidney RoseYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus
Stephen C. MillerYYYYYSecretary of the Corporation
Stephen M. DoncasterYYYYY
Stephen M. RobinsonYYY
Steven E. LandsburgYYYYY
Surse T. PierpointYYYChapter director of the Bastiat Society of Panama [80]
Terry KibbeYFormer director of development for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and former senior development for Cato Institute. According to her profile at Free the People, where she is co-founder and CEO, Terry has “raised millions in operating capital for various nonprofit and political causes, including FreedomWorks, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute.” [81]
Terry W. AnkerYYYListed as a speaker at the Philadelphia Society, president of the Indianapolis chapter of The Bastiat Society [82]
Thomas E. GiftYYYYYY
Timothy J. BirneyYYYYYYY
Todd H. HoffmanY
W. Scott HarwoodYYYYYYY
Walker F. ToddYYYYYYY
William F. HarwoodYYYYYYY
William H. SouthwickYYYYY
William J. BergmanYYY
William J. LutherYAdjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, former Sound Money Fellow at the Atlas Network (the Sound Money Project moved to AIER), former PhD Fellow at the Mercatus Center [83]
William S. PeirceYYYYYYYTrustee Emeritus

Staff

Leadership

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Brad DeVosYYYYDirector of ProgramsFormer president and CEO at the Bastiat Society, graduate of the Atlas Network‘s academy, member of FEE’s Faculty Network, member of the Mont Pelerin Society [84], [85], [86]
David C. MichaelsYYYYChief Financial Officer and Comptroller
Edward P. StringhamYYYYYPresident
Jeffrey A. TuckerYYYYEditorial DirectorDirector of digital development for the Foundation for Economic Education, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy advisor at the Heartland Institute [87]
John R. SkarYSecretary of the Corporation
Jonathan SylbertYYChief Operating Officer
Lisa RobertsYDirector of Strategic Partnerships
Michele KearnsYYYVice President, Finance
Rosalind GreensteinYYYDirector, Research and Education
Stephen J. AdamsYYYPresident

Research & Education

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Adam ThiererYYYResearch FellowSenior research fellow at GMU Mercatus Center, former director of telecommunications studies at the Cato Institute, former senior fellow at Heritage Foundation, former intern at Adam Smith Institute [88], [89]
Alan ReynoldsYSenior FellowCato Institute senior fellow [90]
Alexander GleasonYPublications Associate
Alexander William SalterYYYYSenior Fellow, Sound Money ProjectPolicy advisor at the Heartland Institute [91]
Alexandra HudsonYResearch Fellow
Amanda KnarrYYProgram Coordinator
Amelia JanaskieYYResearch AssociateFormer Market Process Scholar and member of the Market Process Scholars with the Center for Public Choice and Market Process at the Koch-funded College of Charleston [92]
Art CardenYYYSenior FellowFormer member of the board of scholars of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), research fellow at the Independent Institute, senior research fellow at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, senior research fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, member of the Foundation for Economic Education faculty network, associate professor of economics at the Koch-funded Samford University’s Brock School of Business [93], [94]
Arthur M. Diamond, Jr.YYSenior Fellow
Brian C. AlbrechtYYYYFellowFellow at the Mercatus Center, Humane Studies Fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies, GMU Fellow, assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Finance, and Quantitative Analysis at the Koch-funded Kennesaw State University [95]
Carisa WeinbergYResearch Fellow
Charles BairdYYSenior FellowHeartland Institute policy advisor, member of the Board of Directors of the Mont Pelerin Society, columnist at the FEE‘s The Freeman publication, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, former professor of economics at the Koch-funded California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) from 1973 to his retirement in July 2007 [96]
David R. HendersonYYSenior FellowResearch fellow at the Hoover Institution and Fraser Institute [97], [98]
Donald J. BoudreauxYYYYSenior FellowFormer president of the Foundation for Economic Education, former adjunct analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, past speaker at Future of Freedom Foundation events, assistant professor of economics at George Mason University [99], [100]
Fergus HodgsonYManaging EditorEconomic consultant at the Fraser Institute, former director of fiscal policy studies with the John Locke Foundation, policy advisor with the Future of Freedom Foundation, member of the American Legislative Exchange Council‘s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, executive director of the Libertas Institute. Most of these positions appear to be after he left AIER in 2010 [101], [102], [103]
George GilderYYYSenior Resident FellowFormer program director for the Manhattan Institute, a founding advisory board member at The Independent Institute, economic policy council member at Club for Growth. Frequent contributor to Art Laffer‘s economic reports. The Laffer Center for Global Economic Growth founded in partnership with TPPF is a recipient of Koch Funding [104], [105]
Gerald P. DwyerYYY
Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Jr.YYYYSenior FellowCato Institute senior fellow, former director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at the Heritage Foundation [106]
James L. CatonYYYYFellow, Sound Money ProjectAssistant professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise at North Dakota State University (NDSU is a recipient of Koch funding), former graduate lecturer at GMU, former research intern at the Foundation for Economic Education, received his Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University [107]
Jerry L. JordanYYYYAdvisor, Sound Money ProjectFormer adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute‘s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, member of the Mont Pelerin Society, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute [108]
Jia LiuYYYResearch Fellow
Joakim BookYResearch Fellow
John TamnyYYResearch FellowDirector of the Center for Economic Freedom at Freedomworks, editor of RealClearMarkets, has been a “course presenter” at PragerU and a senior fellow in economics at the Reason Foundation [109], [110], [111]
Joshua R. HendricksonYYYYSenior Fellow, Sound Money ProjectSenior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center [112]
Judge GlockYYFellow, Sound Money Project
Jules ClarkYResearch Analyst
Lawrence H. WhiteYYYYAdvisor, Sound Money ProjectProfessor of Economics at George Mason University, former scholar at the Mercatus Center, former adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, formerly listed among Foundation for Economic Education “faculty,” advisor to AIER’s Sound Money Project, originally a program by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation [113], [114], [115], [116], [117]
Lucinda WeissYYYProduction and Managing Editor
Luke F. DelormeYYYResearch Fellow
Marcia StamellYYBook Editor
Max GulkerYYYYYSenior Research Fellow
Micha GartzYYResearch Associate
Michael MungerYYYSenior FellowSenior fellow and co-editor of The Independent Review at The Independent Institute, past president of the Koch-funded Public Choice Society, invited keynote/plenary speaker at the Institute for Humane Studies in 2018, and appears in joint IHS-John Templeton Foundation curriculum resources, professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at the Koch-funded Duke University [118], [119], [120]
Michelle RyanYYYEducation Programs Coordinator
Natalia V. SmirnovaYYYYSenior Research Fellow, Director of Education
Nicolás CachanoskyYYYYSenior Fellow, Sound Money ProjectHas been listed as a Sound Money Project Fellow at the Atlas Network, member of the board of directors of the Mont Pelerin Society, and president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. The Atlas Network’s Sound Money Project is now part of AIER [121], [122], [123]
Nicole KreisbergYYSenior Research Analyst
Patrick CoateYYResearch Fellow
Peter BoettkeYYYSenior FellowBB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University, former national fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University, former president of the Mont Pelerin Society (2016–2018), former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (2013 – 2014), former fellow at the Free to Choose Network [124], [125], [126]
Peter C. EarleYYYResearch Fellow
Phillip W. MagnessYYYSenior Research FellowFormer adjunct professor of International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University (2010 – 2017), former academic program director at the Institute for Humane Studies, senior scholar at Freedom Trust [127]
Polina VlasenkoYYYSenior Research Fellow
Rachel ShabaniYYYGraphic Designer
Raymond C. NilesYYY
Richard M. EbelingYYYY
Richard M. SalsmanYYY
Robert E. WrightYYYSenior Research Fellow
Robert HughesYYYYYYYYSenior Research Fellow
Robert L. Bradley Jr.YSenior FellowCEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), former adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, former adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Other affiliations include Texas Public Policy Foundation, Heritage Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies, and the Free Enterprise Institute. Listed on the Heartland Institute website [128], [129], [130], [131], [132], [133]
Scott A. BurnsYYYYFellowAssistant professor of economics at the Koch-funded Southeastern Louisiana University, received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University [134]
Sean Stein SmithYYVisiting Research Fellow
Stephen DaviesYYYSenior FellowFormer program officer at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS)
Steve H. HankeYYYYAdvisor, Sound Money ProjectSenior fellow and director of the Troubled currencies Project at the Cato Institute, former advisory board member and director at the Acton Institute, Member of the Atlas Network‘s advisory board, member of the Reason Foundation‘s Advisory Board, Fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies, Adjunct Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, Member of the Committee of Academic Advisors at the Independent Institute, Member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs [135], [136], [137]
Suzanne HermannYYYLibrarian
Theodore CangeroYYYYData Scientist
Thomas L. HoganYYSenior Research Fellow
Timothy RogersYDevelopment Director
Veronique de RugyYYYSenior FellowSenior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at GMU, former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, former policy analyst at the Cato Institute, former research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, regular columnist for Reason magazine, and formerly oversaw academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies Europe [138]
Vincent GelosoYYSenior FellowFormer postdoctoral fellow at Texas Tech University as part of its Free Market Institute [139]
Walker F. ToddY 
William J. LutherYYYY

Bastiat Society

Name20202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Andrés Cusme FrancoYYBastiat Society Latin American Regional CoordinatorFounded the Bastiat Society of Guayaquil, collaborates with the Foundation for Economic Education. Received the Frank W. Bubb Memorial Fund for Objectivist Scholarship at the Atlas Society, a partner and member of the Atlas Network. [140], [141]
Belinder Frenny OdekYYBastiat Society African Regional Coordinator
Reagan SobelYBastiat Society Program ManagerProgram Manager of AIER’s Bastiat Society. She began working at The Bastiat Society in 2016, shortly before it became an AIER program in fall of 2017. Attended the Atlas Network’s Leadership Academy [142]
Ryan HigginsYYBastiat Society Program CoordinatorProgram coordinator of AIER’s Bastiat Society program [143]

Contributors

Name2018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Alexander GleasonYYPublications Associate
Chloe AnagnosYYPublications ManagerChapter president of America’s Future Foundation and former member of the board [144]
J.P. KoningYYYYFellow, Sound Money ProjectFellow at the Sound Money Project, a program originally under the Atlas Economic Research Foundation that is now housed at AIER [145], [146]
Nick ZaiacYContributor
Olav DirkmaatYContributor
Paz GómezYContributor

Administrative Staff

Name20142015201620172018201920202021DescriptionKoch Affiliated Groups
Aaron NathansYYCommunications & Public Affairs Manager
Ann GrochmalYYAcademic Programs Administrator
Bruce GoreYYYYYYYYFacilities Manager
Campbell BridgesYYYYYDirector of Information Technology
Cathy MarchandYYYYYYYYDevelopment Associate Supervisor
Daniel SerraldeYDirector, Teaching Free Enterprise
David HartYYLiterary ConsultantLectures in summer programs run by the Institute for Humane Studies, the Cato Institute, and the Foundation for Economic Education [147]
David SchatzYEditorial Associate
Evelyn O’ByrneYYEvent Coordinator
Gail RogerYYYYYYYYDirector of Human Resources
Gretchen HaynYYYYYYYYExecutive Assistant
Jason KellyYYYYData and Analytics ManagerFormer data manager at the Foundation for Economic Education, former graduate student programs intern at the Mercatus Center [148]
Jennibeth GomezYSocial Media Coordinator
John CardenYYMajor Gifts Officer
Jonathan SylbertYYYYChief Operating Officer
Kelly FoxYYYYDirector of Member Services
Laurie PshenishnyYYYYYYYYAssistant Comptroller
Lucio Saverio EastmanYYDesign Technologist
Marcia StamellYBook Editor
Maria TaroYYAssistant to the President
Melissa ByrneYYYYYDevelopment Associate
Michelle RyanYEducation Programs Coordinator
Pat RotondoYGraphic Designer and Web Content Manager
Patricia AreanoYYYSocial Media Specialist
Rachel ShabaniYYYYYGraphic Designer
Reagan SobelYBastiat Society Program Manager
Richard DonovanYYYYYYYYFacilities Technician
Robert BatesoleYYYYFront End Developer / Blogger
Suzanne HermannYYYYYLibrarian
Taleed BrownYYYMedia Production Specialist
Tricia Beck-PeterYYEvents Communications CoordinatorFormer alumni engagement coordinator at the Foundation for Economic Education [149]
Ute Arnold DeFarloYYDevelopment Manager
Vanessa PardoYYHousekeeper

Uncategorized Staff (2020)

NameKoch Affiliated Groups
Adam KisselFormer program officer for higher education at the Charles Koch Foundation, Former director of civic and higher education programs at the Philanthropy Roundtable, Former vice president of programs for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), visiting scholar at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, former visiting fellow at Institute for Human Studies [150], [151], [152]
Craig PirrongResearch fellow at the Independent Institute, professor of economics at the Koch-funded University of Houston [153]
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
Gilbert G. BerdineFaculty affiliate with the Free Market Institute, associate professor of internal medicine at the Health Sciences Center at the Koch-funded Texas Tech University [154]
Jayanta BhattacharyaProfessor of medicine at the Koch-funded Stanford University and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research [155]
Lyle D. AlbaughListed as an author at the James G. Martin Center, formerly the John William Pope Center for Higher Education, which is a Koch funding recipient [156]
Michael FumentoFormer senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, 1994 Warren T. Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, former fellow with Consumer Alert, former science correspondent for Reason magazine, member of the advisory board to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute [157], [158], [159]
Simon ConstableFellow at the Johns Hopkins institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise [160]
Sunetra GuptaProfessor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the Koch-funded University of Oxford [161]

Actions

February 2, 2021

AIER released an article titled “The Political Economy of Mass Panic” comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to a “severe pandemic flu.” [33]

“This is certainly higher than the seasonal flu, but very close to a severe pandemic flu, like the one the world experienced in 1957 and 1968 (without doing anything to ‘tackle’ them),” Ivan Jankovic, an assistant professor of economics, wrote. [34]

“[S]ometimes the best and most rational way of encountering social or economic problems or other sources of modern anxieties is just to sit back and do nothing!” He wrote. 

“If a recession is approaching the media will start pumping stories about human suffering that outrage or scare the public and politicians have to engage in fiscal policy (debt-financed spending) to show they are doing something: climate change panic, please do something, carbon tax, ban this or mandate that; epidemic, lock up everybody, order them to wear masks, or space suits, or anything. Do something!”  [33]

He also claimed “direct economic and noneconomic costs will be much higher than without lockdowns.” In conclusion: “The situations of collective insanity characterized by mass hysteria and panic are almost impossible to handle reasonably in a democratic society. A positive feedback loop between media ‘reporting’ on disasters, real or imagined, the sense of dread, panic and urge to do something by the public and the response of the politicians to satisfy this collective demand for ritual action make calm and rational handling of the situation all but impossible.”  [33]

September 2020

According to the FaceBook Advertising archive, AIER launched a series of ads on the platform promoting its articles opposing lockdowns and mask mandates. One August 2020 ad, with an estimated reach of more than 1 million users, read:

“This country needs a serious anti-lockdown movement, one that is not just political but cultural and intellectual, one that is deeply educated on history, philosophy, law, economics, and all sciences, and can rally around traditional American civic postulates concerning individual freedom and the limits of governments, and also around universal principles of human rights.
~Jeffrey A. Tucker”

Some additional examples below:

November 2–3, 2007

AIER sponsored a conference titled “The Global Warming Debate Science, Economics, and Policy.” [22]

AIER wrote in its issue of its Economic Education Bulletin covering the event:

“Much of the public discussion of global warming focuses on strategies to prevent it, but we also brought in speakers who talked about the potential for ‘mitigation and adaptation.’ They addressed the science and the economics behind proposals that focus on adjusting to global climate change, rather than preventing it.”

The list of participants included:

According to AIER:

“We also included a panel of speakers to address a topic that has received little attention from the media: the theology and ethics of global warming. Views on the environment often have theological or spiritual undertones. For some, the guiding principle is God’s command in Genesis that man shall ‘have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.’ But many also view Nature as an expression of God’s handiwork and still others find in Nature a substitute for formal religion or a belief in God. Both of the latter groups tend to view Nature as something to be protected from mankind. This view, as much as scientific understanding, seems to drive fears and warnings that global warming could be a calamity for the planet and for mankind.”

This latter panel included discussion from E. Calvin Beisner, national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who introduced himself as “ explicitly as a Christian committed to the Bible as the Word of God and as the source of the world view that enables us properly to understand God’s creation.”

Beisner said:

“As we think about creation stewardship, then, the very first thing we must keep in mind is the doctrine of God—particularly, that an infinitely wise, infinitely powerful Creator made and sustains the universe and every part of it. From this we can infer that the design of all things reflects the wisdom of God, and the sustaining of all things reflects the power of God. These truths are immediately relevant to creation stewardship in general and to the climate change debate in particular.”

[…]

“In short, these developments provide good reason to reject or at least to question seriously the popular claim that human action is driving catastrophic climate change and to conclude instead, as the Cornwall Alliance’s ‘Call to Truth’ did, that recent and foreseeable climate change are cyclical, largely (even if not totally) natural, well within the bounds of historic variability.”

On coal, he commented:

“we dig up the coal, burn it, and make from it energy that serves our needs plus carbon dioxide that enhances plant growth […] Any Christian should recognize the figure: death,
burial, and resurrection to impart new life to others.”

Related Organizations

  • Atlas Network — Member. [8]
  • Progress Foundation AIER’s “sister organization located in Zurich, Switzerland.” [28]

The Progress Foundation was established in 1973 in Lugano by AIER‘s founder Edward C. Harwood. “The purpose of the Progress Foundation was to ascertain the beneficial and detrimental influences in the progress of civilization, and offer these insights directly to the public.” Initially, the foundation “concentrated on awarding stipends to students at Swiss universities to fund their studies at the AIER.” It moved its headquarters to Zurich in 2002. [29]

According to the Progress Foundation, “Prior to this, the Foundation spent a long period responding to legal proceedings that stemmed from a dispute between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Harwood, and the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), founded by Harwood, in the United States. The SEC was of the opinion that Harwood had also used Progress Foundation for services that needed to have been registered in the United States.”

  • American Investment Services — Wholly owned by AIER[28]
  • Bastiat Society — Run by AIER[7] 

Contact & Address

According to the AIER website: [1]

250 Division Street | PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230-1000
Telephone: 1-888-528-1216 | Fax: 1-413-528-0103

Social Media

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