Could the Scaife Foundations of Heritage’s Vice Chair Be Key to Group’s Immigration Extremism?

May 12, 2013
8:47 PM

Earlier today we posted an article detailing how the family foundations run by Richard M. Scaife, the current Vice Chairman of the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees, had given funds to several organizations associated with John Tanton, an individual whom many believe has created “most influential anti-immigrant network in the country.” These donations coincided during a time when Heritage’s immigration policy began to shift from a moderate stance to a much more extreme position, culminating in one of Heritage’s worst weeks ever: its 2013 immigration report and the controversy surrounding Jason Richwine, the report’s co-author.


Richard M. Scaife (from the Heritage Foundation site)

Further examination of Scaife Foundations’ disclosure statements reveal additional information that we did not include in our first story. Here is what we discovered:

  • Scaife’s Carthage Foundation donated $37,500 in 2010 to NumbersUSA. (Disclosure statement)
  • Richard M. Scaife is listed as the Chairman of all three Scaife Foundations: the Alleghany Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
  • All three foundations are located at the same address: One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Suite 3900, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-6401
  • The Sarah Scaife Foundation gave a combined total of $1,637,500 in 2011 to Heritage, Numbers USA, Center for Immigration Studies, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform. In 2010 that combined total was $975,000, and in 2009 the combined number was $862,500. So from 2009–2011, Sarah Scaife Foundation gave an overall total of $3,475,000 to these organizations. (The Sarah Scaife Foundation also gave the Cato Institute $40,000 per year during the three-year period.)
  • The 2010 contribution of $37,500 for NumbersUSA came from the Carthage Foundation and not from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. The Sarah Scaife Foundation gave NumbersUSA $37,500 in 2009 and 2011, but not in 2010. That $37,500 came from Carthage.

John Tanton

Richard M. Scaife became a member of Heritage’s Board of Trustees in 1985, and according to one listing about his family foundations, has given close to $20 millon to Heritage. In addition, the listing says, donations to Tanton-associated organizations have been occurring at least since 2007.

The largest recipient of Scaife largesse over the decades has been the Heritage Foundation. Since 1985, the Heritage Foundation has received $19.6 million from the Sarah Scaife Foundation and smaller amounts from the Carthage Foundation. The Allegheny Foundation concentrates most of its giving on conventional organizations in western Pennsylvania.

The Sarah Scaife Foundation, formerly the Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation, has the largest endowment of the three foundations, with assets totaling $305 million according to tax records. In 2005, the foundation awarded $15 million to a variety of organizations, including the Heritage Foundation ($100,000), the American Enterprise Institute ($300,000), Center for Security Policy ($350,000)…

According to the Carthage Foundation’s 2007 annual report,  it gave out $2.09 million in grants in 2006, including to the Federation for American Immigration Reform ($300,000), the Counter Terrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation’s Investigative Project ($125,000), and the Institute for Religion and Democracy ($200,000).

Meanwhile, more attention to Tanton-associated organizations have begun to hit the mainstream media, as this opinion piece from USA Today says:

But there is a third element that has inserted itself into the conversation: those who oppose immigration — legal and illegal.

This group is led by three major anti-immigration organizations: Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Their work on immigration has led major news media to often label them “conservative.” Yet the reality is that these groups do not share conservatives’ interest in ending illegal immigration, if doing so might mean more legal immigration.

CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian openly admits that illegal entries are not the main issue for him. “For too long the Republican story line has been ‘Too Much Lawbreaking,’ when instead the real problem is ‘Too Much Immigration,'” Krikorian wrote in a 2009 National Review article that explained his strategy for GOP immigration reform.

The other organizations agree. According to its website, NumbersUSA President Roy Beck’s “greatest concern” is population growth — that his “grandchildren’s grandchildren” will “live packed in a highly-regimented country approaching a billion people.” In his book The Case Against Immigration, he wrote that America has become “a nation of too many immigrants.”

“Legal immigration could be stopped with a simple majority vote of Congress and a stroke of the president’s pen,” Beck argued. But that argument cuts both ways. Illegal immigration could end just as easily and these groups know it. As Krikorian put it in his 2009 article, “You just legalize the whole thing and the issue goes away — no illegals, no problem.”

But FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA don’t want this because their interest is not fewer illegal crossings, but fewer people. Like NumbersUSA, FAIR argues, as they did in a 2009 report, that “the United States is already overpopulated.” In his book, The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal, Krikorian called immigration “a government-administered population policy,” that is “just like Communist China and the Soviet Union” (p. 188).