Digging the Hole Deeper

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David Boaz, Cato’s EVP, writes:

Thanks to Dick Armey, Matt Kibbe, and Boyden Gray for their support of the Cato Institute’s independence! [Right]

Some of you have asked what you can do to help us protect our independence from the Kochs’ campaign to take over Cato. So I’ve prepared a flyer, which includes a section titled “What can you do?” Here’s what I suggest:

If you’re a Cato Sponsor, keep supporting Cato because we need you now more than ever during this fight to keep Cato independent. If you’re not a Sponsor, please consider becoming one.

If you’re a writer, blogger, or movement leader, please speak out.
“Like” the independently created Facebook page “Save the Cato Institute” and recommend it to your friends.

Follow the issue at www.cato.org/SaveCato and www.KochvCato.com.
Send a polite, respectful letter expressing your concern about the takeover campaign to

Charles G. Koch
c/o Richard H. Fink
Charles Koch Institute
1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22201
or email@charleskochinstitute.org.
Send this statement to concerned friends.

Below is the full text of the flyer, so you can either forward it as text or print or forward the flyer. And meanwhile, you might also be interested in “10 Questions for the Kochs,” just posted at http://www.cato.org/SaveCato/. As I’ve noted before, we at Cato just want this campaign by the Kochs to end so we can go back to doing what we can to advance the cause for liberty, and the Kochs and their groups can work for liberty in their own ways. David Koch and some Koch employees have accused Cato of a “scorched-earth” campaign to resist the takeover. We at Cato make no apologies for trying to defend our work and our independence, but Gene Healy pulled together some quotations that illustrate how complimentary our criticisms have actually been toward the people trying to take us over. Koch and Cato shouldn’t be at odds. We ask again that Charles Koch drop the lawsuits (you do know they’ve sued us three times in six weeks, right?), end the unfortunate shareholder arrangement, and Let Cato Be Cato.

Save the Cato Institute

1. Charles and David Koch are maneuvering to seize control of the Cato Institute.
They filed a lawsuit against Cato in an attempt to increase their ownership, based on a shareholder agreement that has been dormant since it was used to establish Cato 35 years ago. With Bill Niskanen’s death, the Kochs hope to own 2/3 of Cato’s stock rather than 1/2.
They used their existing ownership interest to place Koch employees, consultants, and a major shareholder of Koch Industries on Cato’s Board of Directors.
They now insist on removing Cato’s co-founder and president, Edward H. Crane, who would be the only remaining non-Koch shareholder.
2. The Koch campaign threatens to damage Cato’s funding and its reputation as the leading independent voice for libertarian principles.
They used their ownership interest to remove several Board directors who have been among Cato’s largest and most steadfast financial contributors.
A number of Cato donors have opted to withhold their contributions until they can be assured that the Kochs will not control the organization.
Cato’s success depends on its reputation for independence, integrity, nonpartisanship, and commitment to libertarian principles. But the Kochs are trying to convince Cato supporters that Cato’s activities should be more closely coordinated with the Kochs’ partisan political operation.
3. The Save Cato campaign is intended to expose the Koch agenda for Cato, not to demonize the Kochs.
We are grateful for the support Cato received from the Kochs until a couple of years ago (about 4 percent of our budget in the past decade), and we appreciate their donations to many other libertarian causes as well.
But we believe the Kochs have not been transparent about their intentions. They wrote last year that Cato “has come to be viewed as one of the nation’s foremost upholders of advancing the idea of liberty,” and that they were “proud of and believe Cato’s success has been due to its outstanding leadership.”
Their only complaints have been that Cato is now suddenly operating without “principles” and that the Koch employees on Cato’s Board are not treated with sufficient respect. They have provided no further details or explanations for their campaign to seize control of Cato.
4. Cato’s officers and independent directors will not agree to allow the Kochs to control Cato.
We don’t believe a think tank can retain its credibility if it’s perceived to be—and is—literally owned by the Kochs or any other individual or special-interest group. Therefore, we are determined to defeat their takeover campaign, and to preserve the independence of the Institute.
There may be legitimate criticisms of the Cato Institute, and there may be ways to improve Cato. We welcome suggestions. But none of these issues justifies the Koch campaign to seize control of Cato.
We encourage all friends of Cato and friends of independent policy analysis to join us in persuading the Kochs to end their takeover campaign.
5. What can you do?
If you’re a Cato Sponsor, keep supporting Cato because we need you now more than ever during this fight to keep Cato independent. If you’re not a Sponsor, please consider becoming one.
If you’re a writer, blogger, or movement leader, please speak out.
“Like” the independently created Facebook page “Save the Cato Institute” and recommend it to your friends.
Follow the issue at www.cato.org/SaveCato and www.KochvCato.com.
Send a polite, respectful letter expressing your concern about the takeover campaign to
Charles G. Koch
c/o Richard H. Fink
Charles Koch Institute
1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22201
or email@charleskochinstitute.org.

Send this statement to concerned friends.

3:35 pm on April 20, 2012
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