CONFLICT OF INTEREST: ‘Pro-market’ Lexington Institute arguing in favor of subsidies for donors
By Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon
An ostensibly market-oriented nonprofit group defending a controversial federal program to finance the purchase of U.S. exports is financially supported by top defense contractors that benefit from the program.
The Lexington Institute’s website portrays the group as a free market think tank. It “actively opposes the unnecessary intrusion of the federal government into … commerce … and strives to find nongovernmental, market-based solutions to public-policy challenges,” the group’s website says.
The group is also a strong proponent of the Export-Import bank, a federal program to boost American exporters, and previously worked to ease the U.S. embargo against Cuba on behalf of a Canadian company with interests in the country.
The group’s critics say the interests of Lexington’s donors explain why a think tank that claims to be laissez faire in its attitudes would go to bat for companies operating in a repressive communist state and a federal program derided as “corporate welfare” by top U.S. politicians, including then-Senator Barack Obama.
Lexington has recently taken to hammering the Ex-Im bank’s critics.
Chief operating officer Loren Thompson went after conservative activist group Heritage Action for America on Thursday, saying its Ex-Im criticism “ignores facts that don’t fit its biases, … substitutes abstract ideas for common sense … [and] betrays the principles that made its existence possible.”
Thompson has also attacked Club for Growth for criticizing the bank.
“Naive proponents of pure capitalism … think Ex-Im Bank is a form of corporate welfare even though it doesn’t actually subsidize anyone,” Thompson wrote in a Forbes column that singled out Club for Growth.
“People with a more practical grasp of how economics operates in the real world will have to weigh in to assure U.S. exporters are not hobbled by ideology,” he wrote.
Thompson’s attacks on Heritage Action and the Club for Growth make more sense, Lexington’s critics say, in light of financial support for the group by major defense contractors that benefit from Ex-Im financing.
Feature continues here: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Editor’s Note: Just so readers don’t think this ethical lapse by Phil Peters and the Lexington Institute is something new, check out these “money-for-stories” features from 2008: Analyst’s switch stirs tanker talk and “Sherritt, Cuba, and the Cubanologist.”