Government Accountability Institute

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Government Accountability Institute
Government Accountability Institute logo.png
Type501(c)(3) organization
Area served
United States
Key people
Peter Schweizer
Steve Bannon
Wynton Hall
$1.7 million (2014)[2]

The Government Accountability Institute (GAI) is a conservative nonprofit think-tank[3] located in Tallahassee, Florida.[4][5] GAI was founded in 2012[6] by Peter Schweizer and Steve Bannon with funding from Robert Mercer and family.[7] Schweizer serves as the group's president.[8] The group is known for pushing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as conspiracy theories about Joe Biden before the 2020 election.[9]


According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it is "a self-styled corruption watchdog group chaired and funded by conservative mega-donor Rebekah Mercer."[10] Members of GAI's board of directors include Steve Bannon, Peter Schweizer, Hunter Lewis, Ron Robinson (president of Young America's Foundation), and Wynton Hall.[11]

GAI's research methods include analyzing tax filings, flight logs, and foreign government documents as well as engaging in data-mining on the deep web, which includes the 97% of information on the World Wide Web that isn't indexed by traditional search engines.[1]

Between 2012 and 2014, GAI received donations of almost $4 million from the Mercer Family Foundation and the Koch brothers-affiliated Donors Trust.[12][13]


The organization has most notably been involved with the research and publication of political conspiracist books including Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich and Bush Bucks: How Public Service and Corporations Helped Make Jeb Rich.[1]

Clinton Cash, published in May 2015, is an investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities, paid speeches made by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the Clintons' personal enrichment since leaving the White House in 2001.[14]

Bush Bucks, an e-book published in October 2015, raises questions about the millions of dollars former Florida Governor Jeb Bush earned after leaving office from companies that benefited from Bush's policy while he was serving as Florida's Governor.[15][16]

In October 2012, GAI released a report which asserted that "campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world-whether they intend to or not," and asserted that the Obama campaign had lacked "rigorous screening for donors' citizenship" (it is illegal for non-U.S. citizens to contribute to U.S. campaigns).[17] The report provided no evidence that the Obama campaign had received any unlawful contributions.[18]

In December 2013, a GAI analysis found that from July 12, 2010, to November 30, 2013, President Obama's public schedule showed zero one-on-one meetings between Obama and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, though the study concedes that there was one instance of Secretary Sebelius meeting jointly with the President and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.[19]

Links to Breitbart News[edit]

A November 2016 investigation by The Washington Post detailed ties between the Government Accountability Institute and the conservative website Breitbart News. Three GAI employees received full-time compensation while simultaneously being employed elsewhere.[20] From 2012 to 2015, GAI co-founder and executive chair Steve Bannon received $376,000 for working 30 hours a week. He simultaneously served as executive chairman for Breitbart News.[12] GAI communications strategist Wynton Hall received $600,000 during the same time period. Hall worked as a writer for Breitbart News and was promoted to managing editor in 2013. GAI president and treasurer Peter Schweizer, also an at-large editor and writer for Breitbart News, was paid $778,000 by the GAI from 2012 to 2015.[12]

As a 501(c)(3) public charity, GAI's political advocacy has raised the question of whether the organization had been illegally intervening in political campaigns. The Washington Post report also found that, from 2013 to 2015, GAI purchased over $200,000 in advertising from Breitbart's website.[12][21]


  1. ^ a b c Green, Joshua (October 8, 2015). "This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  2. ^ "2014 Form 990" (PDF). GuideStar. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  3. ^ "The Mercers and Stephen Bannon: How a populist power base was funded and built". Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  4. ^ Thiessen, Marc (September 10, 2012). "Marc Thiessen: Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  5. ^ Nader, Ralph (2014). Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Nation Books.
  6. ^ Thiessen, Marc (September 10, 2012). "Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  7. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory, Keach Hagey, Scott Patterson and Rebecca Ballhaus, "Meet the Mercers: A Quiet Tycoon and His Daughter Become Power Brokers in Trump’s Washington" (subscription), The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  8. ^ "CNN Report on "Legalized Extortion": Politics, Money and Influence". Real Clear Politics. January 22, 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  9. ^ Mayer, Jane (2019-10-04). "The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  10. ^ Korte, Gregory; Mider, Zachary (3 October 2019). "Trump's Story of Hunter Biden's Chinese Venture Is Full of Holes". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  11. ^ "About". Government Accountability Institute. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d O'Harrow Jr., Robert (November 23, 2016). "Trump adviser received salary from charity while steering Breitbart News". Washington Post.
  13. ^ Schweers, Jeffrey (November 23, 2016). "Breitbart chief Bannon got nearly $400k from nonprofit he created". Tallahassee Democrat.
  14. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (April 23, 2015). "An 'Exclusive' Arrangement on a Clinton Book, and Many Questions". New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  15. ^ Bender, Michael C. (October 20, 2015). "New Peter Schweizer E-Book Questions Jeb Bush's Earnings". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Report Traces Jeb Bush's Ties to Companies That Had Business With Florida". New York Times. October 21, 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  17. ^ Dwyer, Devin (October 9, 2012). "Group Warns of Foreign, Fraudulent Donors to Obama Campaign". ABC News. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  18. ^ Mike Burns, Fox Hypes Unsubstantiated Claim That Obama May Be Receiving Illegal Foreign Donations, Media Matters for America (October 9, 2012).
  19. ^ Schweizer, Peter (December 5, 2013). "When Barry Met Kathy". Politico. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  20. ^ Wyland, Michael (November 28, 2016). "Trump Adviser Double-dipping from Breitbart and Nonprofit Foundation| Nonprofit Quarterly". Nonprofit Quarterly.
  21. ^ Smilowitz, Elliot (November 23, 2016). "Fla. charity paid Bannon, other Breitbart employees: report". The Hill.

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