The conservative ties of the Discovery Institute

By Laurie Bennett

September 12, 2013 at 11:04am

The Discovery Institute bills itself as a “non-partisan policy and research organization.”

However, its prime issue is intelligent design - an alternative to evolution, and its staff and board members are decidedly conservative.

Two former members of Congress, both Washington Republicans, are affiliated with the institute. Former Sen. Slade Gorton is a director; former Rep. John Ripin Miller is a senior fellow.

Founder Bruce Chapman headed the Census Bureau during the Reagan administration. Another Reagan alum, former Atty. Gen. Ed Meese, is an adjunct fellow of the institute.

The Seattle-based organization began in 1990 as a program of the Hudson Institute. Its revenues have increased from $1.4 million in 1997 to almost $5.7 million in 2011, the last year for which public tax returns are available.

The institute does not release the names of its donors.

As the interactive Muckety map above shows, many at the organization have ties to other conservative groups, including the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Discovery Institute director Patricia Herbold, who was U.S. ambassador to Singapore under George W. Bush, is a regular contributor to the anti-tax group Club for Growth.

Her husband, retired Microsoft COO Robert Herbold, is a former board member of the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution.

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