With every new administration comes a shift in influence among the country’s major think tanks.
During President Obama’s watch, one of the organizations with the most clout was the liberal Center for American Progress. Had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 president race, CAP would certainly have enjoyed continued prominence, since its founder, John Podesta, was both a counselor to Obama and chairman of the Clinton campaign.
Donald Trump hasn’t much of history with or donations to major think tanks, but many of his cabinet nominees and transition team members do.
The Heritage Foundation, a major critic of Obama energy policy and a recipient of funding from both Charles Koch and the DeVos family, has four current and former ties to people nominated or screening nominations. Vice President-elect Mike Pence was keynote speaker at an annual Heritage gathering last week.
The Hoover Institution has three connections to top Trump people, as does the more middle-of-the-road Council on Foreign Relations.
Elaine Chao, Trump’s pick for Transportation secretary, has links to four think tanks. Wilbur Ross, the designee for Commerce, is a trustee of the Brookings Institution.
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s controversial choice for Education, has a board seat at the American Enterprise Institute, where fellow trustees include Dick Cheney and Peter Coors.
Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is on the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The center’s board includes both big-name Democrats (William Daley, Leon Panetta, Zbigniew Brzezinski) and Republicans (William Cohen, Kenneth Langone, Henry Kissinger).
But as the interactive Muckety map above shows, most of the think tanks circling the president-to-be lean heavily toward the right.
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