Richard Mellon Scaife has been a key figure in
conservative politics since the 1960s. Called by
liberal pundit James Carville in 1999 “the
archconservative godfather in political funding,”
he helped bankroll the modern conservative
The Scaife Foundation, the
Carthage Foundation, and the Allen
foundations are largely drawn from the
oil and banking holdings of people like Scaife.
His personal fortune is estimated by Forbes
to be around $800,000.
- Heritage Foundation: Trustee (1985-current) (1)
- Hoover Institution (Director) (1)
- Committee on Present Danger: Funder (1985-1989) (2)
- Sarah Scaife Foundation: Chair (6)
- Carthage Foundation: Chair (6)
- Pittsburgh World Affairs Council, Director
- Pepperdine University, Director (1)
- Government Posts/Panels/Commissions
- Former member, U.S. Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy
- Tribune-Review Publishing, Vice Chair
- Tribune0-Review, Owner (1)
- Sacramento Union (past owner) (12)
- First Boston Corp., Director
Education (no degrees mentioned)
University of Pittsburgh, (4)
Yale University (4,6)
Scaife’s funding activiies began in various
organizations, including the American Bar Assn.,
particularly regarding education to confront
communism. Scaife soon developed The
Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution
and Georgetown International Studies.
Scaife began funding the Heritage
Foundation in 1974. Readers of
PoliticalDisconnect will be able to
read an in depth article soon about
this foundation and its efforts to
reveal the true history of Barak Obama.
Initially, Schaife was interested in buying
media outlets and funding political candidates.
This shifted into funding organizations instead.
He purchased the largest paper in Pennsylvania,
the Pittsburgh Tribune/Review, in 1969 for
$5 million when he was 37. Disallusionment
with Richard Nixon caused him to switch
from papers to organizations.
Strangely, Scaife reportedly supports abortion rights.
Otherwise, he has adopted a conservative agenda.
(1) Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees
(2) Media Transparency: Committee on the Present Danger http://www.mediatransparency.org/search_results/info_on_any_recipient.php?recipientID=1779
(3) Robert G. Kaiser and Ira Chinoy, “Scaife: Funding Father of the Right,” The Washington Post, May 2, 1999
(4) Robert G. Kaiser, “Money, Family Name Shaped Scaife,” The Washington Post, May 3, 1999 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/scaifemain050399.htm
(5) Iver Peterson, “In a Battle of Newspapers, a Conservative Spends Liberally,” The New York Times, December 8, 1997
(6) Karen Rothmeyer, “Citizen Scaife,” Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1981 http://archives.cjr.org/year/81/4/scaife.asp
(7) Mediatransparency: Aggregated Scaife Grants
(8) Sally Covington, Moving a Public Policy Agenda:
The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations,
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, July 1997
(9) Al Franken, Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)
(New York: Dutton, 2003) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0525947647/qid=1070375663/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-1853879-8145446
(10) Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Fear & Favor 2000: How Power Shapes the News http://www.fair.org/ff2000.html
(11) Dennis B. Roddy, “Tribune-Review’s Election Coverage Gores Vice President’s Campaign,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 8, 2000
(12) Robert B. Gunnison, “Sacramento Union Says It Will Stop
Publishing Historic paper closing down after 142 years,”
The San Francisco Chronicle, January 13, 1994
(13) From the Feeding Trough, cited on Mediatransparency.org http://www.mediatransparency.org/funderprofile.php?funderID=3
According to a 1999 Washington Post report,
Scaife’s funding work has boosted the conservative
agenda in recent years, his family’s charitable entities
having given at least $340 million to $620 million dollars.
The total of Saife’s giving—to conservatives as well as
many other beneficiaries—exceeds $600 million,
or $1.4 billion in current dollars.
In the world of big-time philanthropy,
there are many bigger givers. The
Ford Foundation gave away $491
million in 1998 alone. But by
concentrating his giving on a specific
ideological objective for nearly 40 years,
Sciefe has made most of his grants with
no strings attached.
has had a disproportionate impact on politics
and perhaps is the biggest story in American politics
in the last of the Twentieth Century.