Goldwater Institute

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Goldwater Institute
LogoGoldwater.gif
Institute logo
Established 1988
Chairman Thomas C. Patterson
President Darcy A. Olsen
Faculty 28[1]
Staff 20[2]
Budget US$3.5 million (FY10)
Endowment US$1.1 million
Location

Phoenix, Arizona

(33°28′05″N 112°03′54″W / 33.468°N 112.065°W / 33.468; -112.065Coordinates: 33°28′05″N 112°03′54″W / 33.468°N 112.065°W / 33.468; -112.065)
Address 500 East Coronado Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Website www.goldwaterinstitute.org

The Goldwater Institute is a Phoenix, Arizona-based conservative[3][4][5][6][7] public policy advocacy and research organization established in 1988 with the support of the late Senator Barry Goldwater.[8] The Goldwater Institute advocates public policies with emphasis on empowering states to thwart overreach by the federal government, improving government transparency, reducing the tax burden, expanding school choice, and protecting entrepreneurship and free enterprise. Its stated mission is "to advance freedom and protect the Constitution,"[9] and it is devoted to the principles championed by the late Senator Barry Goldwater such as "individual rights, economic freedom, and a government of strictly limited powers."

The Goldwater Institute has hosted several prominent politicians, journalists, and speakers, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Czech Republic President Václav Klaus, and New York Times best-selling author Mark Steyn. In 2008 the Goldwater Institute won the Templeton Freedom Award for Initiative in Public Relations. In 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Goldwater Institute was named "Best Capitol Watchdog" of all of the groups following the Arizona Legislature by the Arizona Capitol Times and its readers. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will praised the Institute, saying, "The Goldwater Institute is in the liberty business, and there's no institution in the country that performs that business better."

Financials & Funding[edit]

The Goldwater Institute is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is one of the largest conservative think tanks in the country.[citation needed]

The Goldwater Institute is funded by private individuals and charitable foundations. Donors include the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Roe Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, and the State Policy Network.[10]

Over the years, the Goldwater Institute has received up to $1 million from the state of Arizona in attorneys’ fees for cases they successfully pursued.[11]

Income for the Goldwater Institute in 2006 was $1,897,587. 82 percent of this came from individuals and ten percent from foundations.

Issues & Lobbying[edit]

Since its founding, the Goldwater Institute has been at the forefront of hundreds of policy reforms that are now law in states across the country. Among these are Save Our Secret Ballot and the Health Care Freedom Act. Goldwater Institute attorneys have successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on issues such as First Amendment Freedom of Speech. They have also been pivotal in fighting the National Labor Relations Board to stop card check and protect the right of workers to have private ballots in union organizing elections.

The Goldwater Institute advises the Arizona Legislature and lawmakers in statehouses across the country on bills dealing with various policy issues, including education, labor, healthcare, budgeting, pensions, and tort law. As a conservative nonprofit, the institute has supported measures that would stop Arizona from implementing a healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act, restrict collective bargaining, and expand education savings accounts to give students and families more education opportunities.

The Goldwater Institute is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which develops model legislation that supports a conservative ideology. Several Goldwater Institute policy initiatives, such as the Health Care Freedom Act and Save Our Secret Ballot, have been adopted as model legislation and replicated in dozens of other states.

Legislative Victories[edit]

The Goldwater Institute is one of the most influential state-based public policy organizations in the United States. It pioneered the creation of education savings accounts, a reform that makes private schooling, online classes, tutoring, job training and more available to special needs students who were once limited to the brick-and-mortar schools in their neighborhoods. This reform has the power to transform education for students across the country and bring America's education system into the 21-st Century.

The Goldwater Institute shined light into the dark corners of government by crafting legislation that requires audits and online financial databases of state agencies, school districts, municipal governments, and special districts.

Goldwater Institute research also inspired a 10-percent, across-the-board income tax rate reduction and prompted the state to convert most state employees to at-will employment.

Criticism[edit]

In 2013, the liberal Center for Media and Democracy released a report,[12] criticizing the institute for its "secretive" funding, lobbying efforts, and involvement in the American Legislative Exchange Council.[13] A summary of this report can be seen on The Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch page which indicates that the Institute received $75,000 from the Kochs.

Litigation center[edit]

The Goldwater Institute created the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, directed by Clint Bolick, in June 2007. The Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation engages in lawsuits against federal, state, and local governmental bodies to ensure adherence to constitutional law and to protect individual rights, such as property rights, from potential government intrusion. The Goldwater Institute funds its litigation center entirely from donations and sues on behalf of citizens free of charge.

The Goldwater Institute filed its first case on June 22, 2007, defending five charter schools from Arizona's department of education.[14] In Turken v. Gordon the Goldwater Institute sued the city of Phoenix over a $100 million corporate subsidy to the CityNorth development which the Goldwater Institute claimed was illegal under the Arizona constitution.[15] In December 2008, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Goldwater Institute saying the corporate subsidy violated the Arizona constitution's gift clause.

On August 21, 2008, the Goldwater Institute filed suit against the Matching Funds Provision of Clean Elections to protect the First Amendment rights of candidates who choose not to participate in the taxpayer-funded campaign finance system. A federal judge ruled the provision unconstitutional but refused to halt matching funds because she said it was too close to the election. On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the Goldwater Institute, declaring matching funds unconstitutional.

In another victory, Preston v. Hallman, the Goldwater Institute successfully sued the city of Tempe, Ariz. on behalf of a tattoo parlor owner whose permit to operate was revoked based on stereotypes of people with tattoos.[16] In two 2010 cases, the Goldwater Institute successfully defended the right of citizens to wear Tea Party T-shirts to the polls, protecting the constitutional right of free speech. Also, in Congress Elementary School District v. Warren, et. al., the Goldwater Institute successfully defended several mothers who were being sued by their school district for requesting their children’s student records.

The Goldwater Institute defended the right of cities and states to stand up to federal agencies who would take away water rights in Tombstone v. United States. A favorable outcome in this lawsuit would give states more power against overreach by the federal government.

Active cases[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]