Edwin Feulner

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Ed Feulner
Edwin Feulner publicity shot.jpg
Born Edwin John Feulner, Jr.
(1941-08-12) August 12, 1941 (age 74)
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Edwin John "Ed" Feulner, Jr. (born August 12, 1941) is the former president of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, serving in that position from 1977–2013.[1] His replacement, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, was named successor in late 2012 and took over as president on April 3, 2013.[2]

According to the Heritage Foundation, its mission is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense".[3]

Personal life[edit]

Feulner was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Helen Joan (née Franzen) and Edwin John Feulner, Sr., owner of a Chicago real estate firm. He is of German descent.[4] He grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, in a Roman Catholic family.[5] Feulner and his wife, Linda Claire Leventhal, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two children, Edwin J. Feulner III and Emily V. Lown.


Feulner attended Immaculate Conception High School (Elmhurst, Illinois) before he graduated from Colorado's Regis University with a bachelor's degree in English in 1963. After receiving an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1964 he attended Georgetown University and the London School of Economics, where he was a Richard M. Weaver Fellow. He then earned a doctorate at the University of Edinburgh.

Early career[edit]

Feulner began his Washington career as analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then called the Center for Strategic Studies. He later became a congressional aide to congressman (and later Secretary of Defense) Melvin Laird. Feulner subsequently became a long-serving executive assistant to Illinois Republican congressman Phil Crane. Prior to becoming the President of the Heritage Foundation, Feulner was the Executive Director of the Republican Study Committee.[6]

Heritage Foundation[edit]

Feulner was a Founding Trustee of the Heritage Foundation from 1973 until 1977. In 1977 he left Rep. Crane's employ to run the Heritage Foundation full-time.[7] Before 1977, the Foundation had had nine employees and four presidents in four years. Feulner brought a new focus to marketing the Heritage Foundations's ideas by issuing and promoting policy papers. This practice was unusual for Washington think tanks in the 1970s, and it brought national attention to the Heritage Foundation. As Feulner related to The Washington Examiner, "It doesn't do us any good to have great ideas if we are not out there peddling our products."[6]

In 2008, Feulner was reported to have earned a salary of $947,999 from the foundation.[8]

In January 2013, Feulner published a column, "Economic Freedom on the Wane", to review the results of the annual Index of Economic Freedom. A joint project of the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation since 1995, the index measures individual countries' policies in four broad areas: the rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency and open markets. In the 2013 edition, citizens of the United States were

lucky we didn’t fall out of the top 10 altogether. Our Index score went down a bit over the last year. We held onto the No. 10 slot mostly because Ireland declined enough to wind up in 11th place. As recently as 2008, the U.S. ranked seventh worldwide, had a score of 81 (on a 0–100 scale, with 100 being the freest), and was listed as a “free” economy. Today, the U.S. has a score of 76 (it’s lowest since 2000) and is “mostly free,” the Index’s second-highest category.[9]

Other roles[edit]

He is the former President—and retired as the Treasurer—of the Mont Pelerin Society in 2014.[10] He has served as a Trustee and as the Chairman of the Board of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He has also been a member of the Board of the National Chamber Foundation[11] and of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, as well as of the Board of Trustee and a life Trustee of Regis University, his undergraduate alma mater.

Feulner is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[12]

Among other executive and advisory roles, Feulner was President of the Philadelphia Society 1982–83[13] and 2013-2014 and a past Director of Sequoia Bank, the Council for National Policy, the Acton Institute, George Mason University and the American Council on Germany.[1]

Feulner served as a member of the Gingrich-Mitchell Congressional UN Reform Task Force (2005) and of the Meltzer Commission from 1999–2000. He was the Vice Chairman of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform, known as the Kemp Commission, from 1995–1996. He also was the Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1982–91), a consultant for domestic policy to President Reagan, and an adviser to several government departments and agencies.[1]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

In 1989 he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian award in the United States awarded by the President of the United States, by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Since 2006, Feulner has been a member of the Honorary Board of Trustees of Fundación Burke, a Spanish institution founded in 2006 to "deepen and spread the traditional principles of Western political thought ... [and] conservative principles".[14] In 2007 GQ magazine named Feulner one of the "50 most powerful people in D.C."[15] The same year, Feulner was named one of the "100 most influential" American conservatives by the UK Telegraph.[16]

He speaks in the United States and abroad, has been awarded eleven honorary degrees, and has received honors from the governments of Taiwan, South Korea and the Czech Republic[citation needed]


  • Looking Back (Heritage Foundation, 1981). ASIN B0006E54OC
  • Conservatives Stalk the House (Green Hill, 1983). ISBN 0-89803-112-5
  • The March of Freedom (Spence Publishing Company, 1998). ISBN 978-0-9653208-8-7
  • Intellectual Pilgrims (Mont Pelerin Society, 1999). ISBN 978-0-89195-079-0
  • Leadership for America: The Principles of Conservatism (Spence Publishing Company, 2000). ISBN 978-1-890626-22-8
  • Getting America Right (Co-author Doug Wilson) (Crown Forum, 2006). ISBN 978-0-307-33691-0
  • The American Spirit (Co-author Brian Tracy) (Thomas Nelson, 2012). ISBN 978-1-59555-337-9


  1. ^ a b c "Edwin Feulner". Heritage.org. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Sullivan, Sean, and Rachel Weiner, "Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint resigning from Senate to head conservative think tank", Washington Post, December 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  3. ^ About, heritage.org.
  4. ^ Edwards, Lee, The power of ideas: the Heritage Foundation at 25 years (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1997), via books.google.ca, p 297. Cite is of an index page with several Feulners listed but not specifics. Citation retrieved 2012-12-06.
  5. ^ Brownson, Anna L., Congressional staff directory (Volume 14), (Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1972) via books.google.ca. Google search of cited book for "Helen Edwin Feulner" and "Feulner" yielded no results. Citation retrieved 2012-12-06.
  6. ^ a b Edwin Feulner: The Heritage Foundation’s president revolutionized the Washington think tank scene, Joe Rogalsky, The Washington Examiner, October 1, 2007. Accessed May 4, 2012.
  7. ^ Jennifer Harper (April 10, 2012). "Inside the Beltway: Apres Rick". Washington Times. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Salaries of Top Think Tank Leaders", Think Tank Blog, August 17, 2010. The blog was citing data compiled by Washingtonian magazine "from James McGann's ongoing work". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  9. ^ Fuelner, Ed, "Economic Freedom on the Wane", Townhall.com, January 19, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  10. ^ William H. Peterson (March 7, 2006). "A blueprint for rightists". The Washington Times. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Imprimis archive: Lay Your Hammer Down: Commencement Address to the Hillsdale College Class of 2004". Imprimis. Hillsdale. 2004. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ "National Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ phillysoc.org
  14. ^ "Mission", foundation webpage. The foundation was named after Edmund Burke (1729–1797), the Irish-born "father of the modern conservative thought". Feulner is currently listed as a Trustee. Translations by Google Translate. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  15. ^ The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C., Raha Naddaf and Greg Veis, GQ. Accessed March 2, 2008.
  16. ^ The most influential US conservatives, The Telegraph, March 11, 2007. Accessed March 2, 2008.

External links[edit]