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More Details on the Increasingly Bitter Koch/Cato Lawsuit and Feud

As mentioned here last week, controversial libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch are suing the country's largest libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, in a dispute over ownership shares. Cato President Ed Crane, who is one of the defendants, has described the suit as an attempted "hostile takeover," an "effort by the Kochs to turn the Cato Institute into some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P"; the Kochs counter that they intend no such takeover and are instead fighting for the sanctity of contract and rule of law.

The case has brought forth a torrent of commentary in and around the libertarian universe (the best distillation/compilation of which can be found at Skip Oliva's constantly updating blog). Before linking to some of that I'll list here some factual advances of the story since last week.

The New York Times Tuesday reported more on the "personal acrimony" between Crane and the Kochs:

Mr. Crane, the Cato president, was once close to Charles Koch, sharing libertarian beliefs and traveling with him to China and the Soviet Union as they joined to form Cato in the mid-1970s, officials said. But the two had a falling out, and the Kochs tried to have Mr. Crane removed as president some years ago, the officials said.

Exacerbating tensions was an article in 2010 in The New Yorker magazine, in which an unnamed Cato Institute official was quoted comparing Charles Koch and his "market-based management" philosophies to an "emperor" with no clothes. The quote was said to infuriate Mr. Koch.

Charles and David Koch have rarely attended Cato board meetings in recent years, and Cato officials have rarely been invited to the family's regular galas for influential conservatives. As the relationship with the institute has deteriorated, their donations have declined as well.

Since Cato was formed, the Kochs have donated about $30 million, officials said, but the bulk came in its first decade; by last year, the Kochs gave no money at all.

On Saturday, Cato Senior Fellow Jerry Taylor told The Volokh Conspiracy's Jonathan H. Adler about how the feud has played out on Cato's board:

Last year, they used their shares to place two of their operatives – Kevin Gentry and Nancy Pfotenhauer – on our board against the wishes of every single board member save for David Koch.  Last Thursday, they used their shares to force another four new board members on us (the most that their shares would allow at any given meeting); Charles Koch, Ted Olson (hired council for Koch Industries), Preston Marshall (the largest shareholder of Koch Industries save for Charles and David), and Andrew Napolitano (a frequent speaker at Koch-sponsored events).  Those four – who had not previously been involved with Cato either financially or organizationally – were likewise opposed by every member of our board save for Gentry, Pfotenhauer, and David Koch.  To make room for these Koch operatives, we were forced to remove four long-time, active board members, two of whom were our biggest donors.  At this moment, the Kochs now control seven of our 16 board seats, two short of outright control.

Cato Board Chairman Bob Levy gave an updated list of board members to an inquiring Skip Oliva, who determined that the four ousted board members were John C. Malone, Lewis Randall, Donald G. Smith and William Dunn, the latter of whom sits on the Reason Foundation's Board of Trustees (as does David Koch), and was until recently our board chairman. As you may expect, various employees of Reason (including me) have various professional and personal relationships with most of the people under discussion on both sides of the dispute; many of my hyperlinks under people's names in this post are to their Reason archive. 

Levy also gave this anecdote to former Reasoner David Weigel over at Slate:

In early November, David Koch met with Bob Levy, chairman of Cato's board of directors, at Dulles International Airport. They were joined by Richard Fink, Koch's chief adviser, and Kevin Gentry, a vice president of Charles Koch's charitable foundation who'd been put on Cato's board of directors. (Former Americans for Prosperity President Nancy Pfotenhauer had joined the board after the same meeting.)

"They said that a principle goal was to defeat Barack Obama," remembered Levy. "The way David [Koch] put it was, 'We would like you to provide intellectual ammunition that we can then use at Americans for Prosperity and our allied organizations.' AFP and others would apply Cato's work to advance their electoral goals."

Levy asked them: "What gives you the impression that [Cato isn't] providing intellectual ammunition?" He says now: "I never got a satisfactory answer. The only answer that makes sense was that Cato needed to be more responsive to their needs. We would take closer marching orders. That's totally contrary to what we perceive the function of Cato be."

More in this vein from Jerry Taylor:

Just before the last shareholders meeting, the Koch brothers also nominated –but were unable to elect – eight additional individuals for our board.  Those nominees included the executive vice president of Koch Industries, a staff lawyer for Koch Industries, a staff lawyer for the Charles Koch Foundation, a former Director of Federal Affairs for Koch Industries, a former Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (and who was, incidentally, a McCain bundler), and a lifelong Wichita friend of Charles Koch.  Aside from those functionaries, they also nominated a couple of people with public profiles that make the jaw drop:

*    John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog, whose firm counts Koch Industries as a client. Hinderaker has written, "It must be very strange to be President Bush.  A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice.  He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."  Hinderaker supports the Patriot Act and the Iraq War and calls himself a neocon.

*    Tony Woodlief, who has been president of two Koch-created nonprofits and vice president of the Charles Koch Foundation. Woodlief has blogged about "the rotten heart of libertarianism," calling it "a flawed and failed religion posing as a philosophy of governance" while complaining about libertarians "toking up" at political meetings.

Woodlief responds in part here:

I don't know much about this Cato business. I do of course know Koch. I know people there well enough to find laughable the notion that they are somehow opposed to liberty, or that they could ever imagine Cato is essential to some secret partisan or corporate agenda and must therefore be taken over.

And like everyone, I know about Cato. I know many people smarter than me who work there, and I appreciate very much their efforts for decades to make mainstream many valuable ideas that once would have been relegated to the fringe. I don't agree with all of them, and I think libertarianism, to be an intellectually cohesive philosophy, needs critique and work. Fortunately, I've always found the people I know who work for Cato to welcome the kind of spirited debate that tends to make idea-generating organizations healthier.

But I suppose right now the point is to circle the wagons, craft a narrative of conspiracy, and paint whatever side one is not on as intransigent and small-minded. None of which will have any bearing on the final legal decisions, but all of which is to the great delight of those who despise liberty and would love to see Cato torn down.

And Woodlief has a more substantive post about the case here.

Former Catoite Will Wilkinson, while saying "it seems clear enough that the Kochs are trying to take over by stacking the board," pronounced the "hand-wringing" over its new members to be "overwrought":

It's worth noting that David Koch has been on the Cato board for years, the whole time I was employed there and more, and I don't remember anyone once suggesting he was an ideological or strategic danger to Cato's mission. But suddenly he's an existential threat! Cato and Cato's chairman Bob Levy didn't seem to have a huge problem with Ted Olson, a Solicitor General under G.W. Bush, when he was at Cato arguing for gay marriage on constitutional grounds. Andrew Napolitano is a stout libertarian who put a ton of Cato guys on Freedom Watch, his recently cancelled show on Fox Business. Cato executive VP David Boaz seems to get along pretty well, ideologically and otherwise, with Napolitano in this recent clip. Nancy Pfotenhauer, a former G.W. Bush and John McCain campaign operative, strikes me as a classic right-leaning fusionist, of which there are not a few at Cato. That she was married for a while to Cato senior fellow Dan Mitchell I think suggests that she does not inhabit an ideological/institutional universe foreign to Cato, as does the fact that the Independent Women's Forum, of which Pfotenhauer was for years the president, is currently run by Cato alum Carrie Lukas. Kevin Gentry is a hard-core Virginia Republican Party operative with whom I worked back when I was at the Institute for Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center. He's a fundraiser. [...]

The way Cato has so eagerly jumped on the Koch-bashing bandwagon in its hour of crisis strikes me as both transparently opportunistic and damaging to the broader libertarian movement. Charles Koch is the chairman of the board at the Institute for Humane Studies which as far as I can see has not become a whit less libertarian in orientation over the past several years. When I worked there, Charles Koch was also chairman of the Mercatus Center's board and he's on the board currently (but I can't tell from the Mercatus website who the chair is, if they have one.) A number of Mercatus' policy staff once worked at Cato and they don't seem to have changed their ideological orientation at all. Is Cato's management now arguing that Mercatus' scholars labor under a cloud of partisanship which threatens the independence and integrity of their work? Is Cato's management arguing that IHS's libertarian principles are now suddenly threatened by Charles Koch's money and leadership? Cato has worked closely with IHS for decades, and has long been a proud host each summer of a number of IHS Charles G. Koch Summer Fellows. Cato's worries about Charles Koch's baleful un-libertarian influence are completely new to me! That CGK is a partisan threat to an independent libertarian perspective is now a very popular idea at Cato that coincides exactly and suspiciously with the onset of CGK's attempt to capture control of the institution he co-founded.

Most libertarian commentary on the matter has been much more pro-Cato/Crane and anti-Koch than Wilkinson's piece. Cato staffers (UPDATE: Former Cato staffers, I have been corrected) have formed a popular Save Cato Facebook page, complete with list of bullet points; and there have been a variety of lengthy essays on the subject, from the likes of Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz, (Reason.com columnist) Gene Healy, (former Reasoner) Julian Sanchez, (former Reason intern) Jonathan Blanks, Jason Kuznicki, and Justin Logan. Other broadly sympathetic sentiments have come from Reason.com columnist Steve Chapman, Don Boudreaux, Ilya Somin, Charles Rowley, and many others. There has been a smattering of ambivalence or skepticism about Cato's legal/moral case, from the likes of Arnold Kling, Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson, Ted Frank (link is currently not working), and Jeff Bercovici. Haunting this whole discussion, obviously, is the ghost of Murray Rothbard.

How do the Kochs explain their actions? Here's an excerpt from a letter that the Charles G. Koch Foundation sent to various alumni earlier this week:

Charles Koch and David Koch went to great lengths to avoid this dispute. Their efforts were numerous, sincere, and went literally up to the last minute.

The disagreement over the shareholders' agreement has been going on for years with Charles Koch and David Koch receiving several proposals from Cato's officers to dissolve the agreement. Charles and David consistently declined these proposals because they feel the shareholder structure is important to preserve donor intent. At the unfortunate passing of one of the four shareholders, Bill Niskanen, some issues came to the forefront with discussions about how his shares should rightfully be disposed.

Charles Koch and David Koch, mindful of how this dispute could be a distraction to Cato and its mission at this critical time, sought to resolve the issue, or alternatively, to table the issue for a year or longer.

    * They proposed a standstill agreement to delay any discussion on the shareholders agreement, and to delay any shareholder meetings and maintain the current board of directors for one year or longer.
    * They proposed third party mediation.
    * They proposed alternative corporate structures for the other side to consider.

All of these efforts were rejected, and Cato's other shareholder [Ed Crane] demanded that a shareholders' meeting be held on March 1 where a new party (Ms. Washburn — Bill Niskanen's widow) would be named a shareholder and new directors would be named.

The court action, filed immediately before the shareholders' meeting, was a last resort to ask the court for help in confirming the meaning of the governing documents and the shareholders' agreement.

What about the alleged hostile political takeover of Cato?

Charles and David are absolutely committed to libertarian principles and the libertarian issues Cato works on. They merely want the integrity of the shares, the original structure that all parties agreed to, upheld and for Cato's officers and directors to act in a manner consistent with the principles the organization was founded on. As you know, a key principle of libertarianism is recognizing and respecting the rule of law. The founders of the Cato Institute reached an agreement and are bound by it. And that is what Charles Koch and David Koch are seeking here — that the parties stand by what they voluntarily agreed to when they founded Cato.

When former President George Bush said, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system," we all know how disastrous the consequences were for free markets and the economy. Principles are not what you abandon in difficult times. Rather they serve as the foundation for action in challenging times. And like President Bush, if Cato's leaders are willing to abandon a key libertarian principles—adhering to voluntary agreements—when they feel it's convenient, the organization has lost its way as an advocate of these principles. Cato can't save libertarian principles by its leaders abandoning its principles any more than President Bush could save the free market by abandoning free market principles.

Charles Koch and David Koch believe in Cato, its mission, and its principles. As champions of the rule of law, voluntary agreements, and property rights, Charles and David believe that upholding the shareholder agreement is crucial to protecting Cato's principled mission in the future from the path of the Ford Foundation, Pew, and others that have strayed when they deviated from their founding principles.

The Kochs and Ed Crane (and many of Ed Crane's employees) seem headed for a massive fork in the road. Skip Oliva has some very preliminary thoughts about what a post-divorce post-Cato might look like, but regardless of the speculative future, the present looks to be contentious and painful. Bob Levy is telling reporters that some of Cato's biggest donors have declared that "we will not give a single dollar until we know the Kochs do not have more of a say over Cato." Expect plenty of such talk, and escalating recriminations, long before the first day in court.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

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    tl;dr

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    This comment should elicit the ban hammer.

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    This comment should elicit the whiny little bitch hammer.

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    All this talk of hammers is generating in me a mighty thirst.

    Let's all get hammered!

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    When all you have are trolls, every hammer looks like a nail.

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    Maybe you should try Camels With Hammers

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers

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    Image: Cato as it appears in an Archer episode

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    Image: Cato as it appears in an Archer episode

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    Is there a dry cleaners at the entrance?

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    Charles Koch and his "market-based management" philosophies

    Oh, horror!

    WTF is that even supposed to mean? Results-based oppression?

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    I think it might mean buying off politicians, as the anti-union bill in Wisconsin had a clause that has not received much attention -- namely for the governor to sell state assets like factories at will.

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    Wisconsin has factories? For what?

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    Cheese curds. Government cheese curds.

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    No whey?

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    They have state run utilities, that make and sell power. So the law allows them sell it at a fire-sale price to the Koch Bros.

  • Raston Bot||

    right, i'm sure there's no review or competitive process. just Walker saying, "here ya go."

    fucking troll.

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    Why the fuck does the state own utilities in the first place?

    They should be giving them away not selling them.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    MBM: http://www.kochind.com/MBM/science_of_success.aspx

    It's pretty straight forward actually... it's mostly about utilizing decentralized information and entrepreneurial principles within a business organization.

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    As a corporate lawyer, I find it amusing and instructive (although not in the way intended), when this:

    One of the founders of a company uses their shares in the company in the manner allowed by company documents, to appoint directors.

    is described as "forcing" board members onto the board, trying to "take over" the board, etc.

    Without knowing, or caring, a goddam thing about what is behind this, I tend to sympathize with the Kochs. Unless and until it can be shown that they are violating Cato's charter, they have the right of it, it seems to me.

  • Zeb||

    I don't see how "forcing" is inappropriate here. You can legally force people to do lots of things. Isn't that what contracts are for?
    I can force you to get off my land if I don't want you there, but I'm not wrong to do so.

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    If they have the authority to appoint people to the board, doing so is not really "forcing" them onto the board even though others, who have no say on who they appoint, may disagree.

    If you agree to do something in a contract, and then decide you don't want to, is the other party really "forcing" you when it demands that you do what you agreed to do?

    Sure, you can use the word that way, but its the kind of rhetoric that makes me think anyone who uses it is on the losing side.

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    Some of these situations get positively arcane. Remember the dispute between Liberty Media and IAC several years ago? During the litigation in Delaware, it turned out that John Malone had basically given Diller total control of Liberty's stock in IAC, converting Diller into a CEO+ (in many ways, with the power of an owner). Big mistake, and it all started because Malone thought he and Diller were buddies.

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    Most charitable foundations end up being run by board members who did nothing to start them but feel they own the foundation anyway.

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    Most charitable foundations All incorporated entities end up being run by board members who did nothing to start them but feel they own the foundation anyway.

    FIFY

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    True. it is just that the CATO folks are a bit more bold than most in that they are doing it while the founder is still alive and owns stock.

  • Zeb||

    "If you agree to do something in a contract, and then decide you don't want to, is the other party really "forcing" you when it demands that you do what you agreed to do?"

    I'd say so.

    Otherwise, I don't disagree. They have the right to do whatever they can do according to the contract that set up Cato. But if they are actually trying to push it in a more partisan ideological direction, I think that the other people are right to complain, even if Koch is completely in the right legally. But I suppose that if Koch is fully in his rights to do what he is doing, the lawsuit is silly, loser behavior. But I don't know.

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    I tend to agree that it sounds that way with what superficial information that we have, but I also find the Koch's description of their play a little disingenuous. They may be legally in the right, but it's also possible that Crane is telling the truth about their political intentions. I know so little about the Kochs that I don't know one way or the other. Other than cashing their weekly paycheck for my comments here, that is.

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    Wow. You are a sucker. I only accept payment in bullion. Fuck that "check" shit.

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    I get paid in top hats and monocles myself.

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    My check is made of solid gold.

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    Other than cashing their weekly paycheck for my comments here, that is.

    How much do they pay you?

    Cuz my last check was light.

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    Amateurs.You're doing it all wrong ProL,with enough personas you can collect a check from the Koch Bros for commenting AND one from Soros and Obama for trolling.You don't think the greifers come here to gambol and shit for free do you?

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    You have to understand RC how these things work. Someone starts a company. And he is nice enough to invite some of his friends to sit on the board. After a while those friends start to think they own the company. Like it was their money that created it. So when the original owner starts exerting control again, the board members are shocked. How dare he take away their corporation.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    This sounds a lot like the plot to the musical, Rent, to me.

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    yeah. The anti-Koch team seems more intent on name calling...which by the way I love, but seem to lack any legal, contractual or rational argument against what Koch is doing.

    If you don't like it then quit and start a different organization.

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    The problem, of course, is that the Koch-controlled Cato would own all of the intellectual property—the existing publication rights, copyrights, the Cato name and related trademarks, and probably the actual donor lists.

    Hold on. I thought CATO was against IP. Why do they have copyrights and trademarks on anything? These guys sound more and more like the typical DC establishment. Claim to believe one thing, but do the exact opposite.

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    Cato is anti-IP? I don't think that's right.

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    Apparently random reason commentors discussing IP at reason.com is the same thing as Cato.

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    Cato (if Julian Sanchez's articles there and at Ars are any indication) is opposed to oppressive, unbalanced measures like PIPA and SOPA that would strip little people of due process to make life easier for big IP holders.

    They also like to point out that IP lobbyists lie their asses off to convince Congress of the economic impact of piracy.

    That means they hate IP and want to eliminate it.

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    It gives me great pleasure to place you in the filter.

    Congrats on this accomplishment.

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    It gives me great pleasure to know that you're bothered so much by a different opinion that you must censor it. Just confirms my suspicions.

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    What opinion?

    Whether Cato is pro or anti IP is a fact, opinion has nothing to do with it.

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    Is not listening technically censoring?

    If I see Obama on the news and change the channel am i censoring, or just exercising my preference for the TV show Justified?

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    I find this dispute distressing. Cato has done some very good work and has had a decent amount of influence in DC, despite being libertarian. Whatever the result, I hope Cato doesn't end up radically transformed or diminished by this internecine squabble.

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    This. Whoever is right is right. Fine. But the damage to the libertarian movement that this is already causing is sad.

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    The Cato pussies should quit and start their own foundation.

    Oh, that takes hard work, never mind then.

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    Pretty much. Maybe we should start the Reason comentariot foundation.

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    Dibs on Chairman!

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    I think we would have to have Roman Republican titles like Pro Counsel or Patrician.

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    Dibs on Plebian Tribune.

    Fear and tremble at the power of the masses!

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    Dibs on Imperium Maius

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    I think we all know what I call.

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    Maybe we should start the Reason comentariot foundation.

    I am in. Though i will only write small checks. I do not plan on doing any work.

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    "Maybe we should start the Reason comentariot foundation."

    Emphasis on the RIOT!

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    Yeah.....they should call it Dogo.

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    I do find the idea that they want Cato to coordinate with AFP to be a bit concerning. AFP is an activist, grassroots group that already has an associated research group (Americans for Prosperity Foundation) and is dedicated to getting conservative economics believers elected (functionally, they're pro-Republicans and anti-Democrat). CATO is essentially an academic research group that thinks most of the ideas Republicans and Democrats hold are idiotic. I like those things remaining in their respective spheres.

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    It gives Cato some credibility standing aloof of political activism. I sure hope that's not where this is going.

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    It's funny to see people who talk so much about enforcing contracts whine so much when someone tries to enforce a contract. I guess CATO isn't any different from the rest of DC when it comes to engaging in hypocrisy.

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    I don't think it's hypocrisy. At least, not necessarily. Crane and some of the others there have been involved for many years and see this as something very important. It's not illegal for them to fight back, after all, and I don't think they're going to be violating any libertarian principles to do so, unless the provisions allowing the board changes are crystal clear.

    Also, it's possible that the Kochs merely have a better legal argument and not necessarily the only one.

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    If giving Bruce Bartlett(?) and Will Wilkinson the boot is representative of the direction the Kochs would like to nudge CATO, I'm not sure I'm willing to complain.

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    Bartlett never worked for them. It Brink Lindsey (and Wilkinson) who got the boot.

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    Why? Uniformity of mind is not the ideal for a think tank, and there needs to be contrarians involved. The question is whether the overall orientation as a whole is shifting away from a libertarian basis towards a more establishment Republican basis.

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    The Kochs don't seem to be doing anything underhanded or dishonest here, but I wonder what they expect to gain by turning Cato into essentially a Koch PR outfit. I hope they change their minds.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "The Kochs don't seem to be doing anything underhanded or dishonest here, but I wonder what they expect to gain by turning Cato into essentially a Koch PR outfit. I hope they change their minds."

    The thing I've found particularly interesting about the reactions to this whole thing so far is that the only person claiming or assuming this would be the case is Ed Crane, and since he got that message out pretty much the instant the suit was filed, a lot of other people have just taken that assumption for granted.

    But IHS isn't a "Koch PR outfit", and neither is the institute that I work for... I'm just speaking on behalf of myself here, but if you find anything in the videos I've made at www.economicfreedom.org to be an intellectual "ammo shop" for AFP, I'd love to know what it is.

  • Tman||

    Sadly enough, Balko had been whining about this on his FB page because he's afraid that the dude from Powerline will start writing for CATO.

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    I know the Kochs have contributed a lot to libertarian ideas and organizations, but this action just throws up a lot of red flags to me. Especially since their comments seem entirely based on concern about some shareholder structure than on any concerns about Cato's actual work. It's a pretty naked power grab.

    However right their legal claim may be, they should recognize how this might threaten the integrity of Cato and just back off.

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    Sounds to me like they did everything that could be asked of them to avoid this public confrontation. If anyone is to blame for the shit storm it's the (previous) Cato board for not dealing with this privately and by the letter of the law.

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    It sounds to me like the Kochs are the ones who made this public with their lawsuit. And since the entire situation seems to be about resolving what exactly the letter of the law (or contract) is, you can't really say the previous board members are to blame. Well, you can of course, but you know.

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    Umm. FTA:

    Charles Koch and David Koch, mindful of how this dispute could be a distraction to Cato and its mission at this critical time, sought to resolve the issue, or alternatively, to table the issue for a year or longer.

    * They proposed a standstill agreement to delay any discussion on the shareholders agreement, and to delay any shareholder meetings and maintain the current board of directors for one year or longer.
    * They proposed third party mediation.
    * They proposed alternative corporate structures for the other side to consider.

    All of these efforts were rejected, and Cato's other shareholder [Ed Crane] demanded that a shareholders' meeting be held on March 1 where a new party (Ms. Washburn — Bill Niskanen's widow) would be named a shareholder and new directors would be named.
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    Yes, the Kochs made some demands of the board and the board didn't grant them. Do we know if the board had any legal or contractual obligation to consent to these demands?

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    Looks to me like the Koch's privately made numerous legal overtures specifically designed to avoid this ugly, public situation. You can characterize proposing third party mediation as a 'demand' if you want, I wouldn't.

    Do we know if the board had any legal or contractual obligation to consent to these demands?

    Apparently the only way to find that out is to sue Cato. And here we are.

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    Thanks for the well-rounded update Matt.

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    Yes, I was looking for something like this earlier and had to browse through lew's various blog posts. I know they don't like Cato over there, but damn. Matt's update was much more thoughtful.

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    Has anyone looked into the political leanings of the widow? For all we know she could be a Soros sympathizer, enjoy Michael Moore movies, or simply some Fluke-like "slut".

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    It surprises me to read that Andrew Napolitano was opposed by all but the Koch contingency. I wonder what their oppositions were.

    And from a more deliciously gossip-y perspective, it's funny to see a man beloved by the LewRockwell.com branch be given a reputable job at a place the LewRockwell.com branch takes frequent jabs at by a group of people the LewRockwell.branch take frequent jabs at.

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    Yeah, seems like the Judge would be welcomed. Maybe they opposed him just because the Koch people proposed him.

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    I didn't think about that. I wonder if LRC is having fits right now.

  • Raston Bot||

    If Cato loses its free-love stoner vibe, then I'm gone.

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    The Kochs will turn CATO into another GOP appendage just like the Heritage Foundation and the Tea Party.

    Just wait until CATO issues policy papers on the glories of open-ended war, nation-building, and the security state. Authored of course by John Hinderaker.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Why haven't they done this with the Institute for Humane Studies, or the Charles Koch Institute? Curious.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Why haven't they done this with the Institute for Humane Studies, or the Charles Koch Institute? Curious.

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    Quoting Alex Pareene on this makes me want to vomit.

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    'Long-dormant' = No Longer Valid, I suppose.

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    "But I suppose right now the point is to circle the wagons, craft a narrative of conspiracy, and paint whatever side one is not on as intransigent and small-minded."

    In other words: LET'S LITIGATE!

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    It Brink Lindsey (and Wilkinson) who got the boot.

    Thanks.

  • T||

    So, whatever happened to Murray Rothbard's shares? According to one of the guys at Lew Rockwell, Murray's shares were never accounted for in any substantive fashion, and Lew his own self might have the legal custody of them. If that's really the case, I can't imagine why Lew wouldn't get up in the middle of this, just to screw with both Cato and the Kochs.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    The ghost of Murray Rothbard, huh? Why does this read like a Reason report on the 1992/1996/2000/2004/008 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating Convention? There are no drama queens like libertarian drama queens.

  • T||

    Except you, darling. You get the tiara, as always.

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    Tearing down Cato would free up outdoor smoking space.

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    Thanks Matt this is a great summary.

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    “The Kochs are making me root for that asshole Ed Crane,” tweeted Will Wilkinson, a scholar with some liberal leanings

    Go Kochs!

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    People are going to miss this country when it's gone.

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    moar rockwell shares plox

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    it's all about the money isn't it.. it's really just koch's donation doing the talking. without it, they are neither pronounced intellectual nor spiritual leaders, or anything of that sort. how about taking donation from small donors instead.. you might actually have to think about what grassroots level libertarians care about for once, and that isn't many of the schmucks in LP. wonder why you never grew? take a page out of the paul movement. funny a libertarian movement funded by 1 or 2 individuals trying to have a heavy hand in its policies is proclaiming itself as the true libertarian inspiration, and is actually trying to change things. can't get anymore hypocritical, ironic, and pathetically hilarious

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