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Richard Mellon Scaife

A number of alarming allegations against Clinton came from people funded or encouraged by ultraconservative activist and millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.32 While his network was not the command center of a vast right-wing conspiracy, his funding was important in sustaining anti-Clinton conspiracism, especially around the Foster case.33 Scaife is an heir to the Mellon family fortune made through the Mellon Bank, and major investments in Gulf Oil, and Alcoa.34 Part of his success as an important political player within the right is that he surrounds himself with sophisticated advisors. Both critics and supporters describe Scaife's chief aide, Richard M. Larry, as having great influence and autonomy.35

Scaife can be completely charming to his friends and allies, but devastating toward those seen as opponents.36 One incident has become legendary in journalistic circles. When reporter Karen Rothmyer was working on a profile of the secretive Scaife that appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, she went to great lengths to penetrate Scaife's preference for privacy. Finally confronting him when he left a lunch meeting, Rothmyer asked about his penchant for funding the New Right. Scaife's reply: "You fucking Communist cunt, get out of here."37

Scaife controls three foundations from his base in Pittsburgh, PA: the Sarah Scaife Foundation, with assets of $302 million; the Allegheny Foundation, with assets of $39 million; and the Carthage Foundation, with assets of $24 million; and his children control a fourth, The Scaife Family Foundation, assets $170 million.38 These foundations fund numerous conservative policy think tanks, legal groups, and publications, including many that pursued Clinton, his aides, or his administration. (See sidebar)

Scaife funded GOPAC, the political action committee that Newt Gingrich used to help him become Speaker of the House. According to reporter Nurith Aizenman:

    A crucial element of Gingrich's effort was to use his political organization, GOPAC, to identify like-minded candidates and provide them with the ideological and logistical support they needed to win office. Scaife was naturally a big backer-donating $60,000 to GOPAC between 1989 and 1995. And by funding National Empowerment Television, which broadcasted Gingrich's "Renewing American Civilization" course and the Gingrich-hosted "Progress Report," Scaife made it possible for Gingrich to reach 11 million American homes. 39

Other Scaife-funded organizations include the Western Journalism Center, American Spectator, Accuracy in Media, Landmark Legal Foundation, and Judicial Watch-all were especially active in the anti-Clinton network. According to People for the American Way, two other organizations supported by Scaife, Brent Bozell's Media Research Center and Paul Weyrich's National Empowerment Television, also served as significant "anti-Clinton media outlets."40 Regnery has published a number of other books critical of Clinton or raising conspiracy theories about his administration. [see list]. (An article in The Washington Post incorrectly claimed that Scaife was an investor in the publishing company that issued the Aldrich book; see correction at end of this document).

Scaife, publisher of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, hired reporter Christopher Ruddy to pursue the idea that the death of Vincent Foster was not a suicide. Ruddy's work and several other Scaife funded anti-Clinton projects will be discussed later.

Scaife gave grants to the Fund for a Living American Government (FLAG), run by attorney William Lehrfeld. Lehrfeld, through FLAG, gave "a secret $50,000 contribution in 1995 to the legal fund of Paula Corbin Jones [while he] simultaneously served as the primary legal counsel to a covert, multimillion-dollar effort by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife to investigate President Clinton" according to reporters Murray Waas and Jonathan Broder. 41 The Arkansas Project was run by a foundation tied to the neoconservative American Specator magazine, another Scaife grantee.

One Scaife grantee that has received little attention is the Maldon Institute, a right wing think tank that studies national security and terrorism from a countersubversive and often conspiracist perspective. One Maldon consultant and author, John Rees, infiltrated the political left in the 1970s, and passed the information to groups ranging from the John Birch Society to the FBI.42 Scaife attended a 1985 meeting with Rees where conservatives and progressives debated a Scaife-supported conspiracy theory that the neofascist Lyndon LaRouche network was actually a Soviet-bloc spy operation. The progressives challenged the notion as overly simplistic, while the conservatives split on the question.43

For two years Scaife funded the Fully Informed Jury Association, a group that encourages jury members to disregard judges' instruction if they feel strongly about a verdict, but which also has some leaders and followers who use the group to recruit for the patriot movement, and to spread conspiracy theories, some of which are rooted in antisemitism.44

At the very least, Scaife's funding produced an echo effect that amplified the voices of critics and conspiracists targeting Clinton, creating the illusion that these ideas had widespread support at a time when they did not. Credulous media coverage of scandal mongering then helped create a broader base of support than the original relatively small base in the Christian Right and Populist Right. There was much inbreeding. For instance, Scaife funded Gingrich projects, and Gingrich raised questions about the death of Vince Foster, a pet project of Scaife's.45 There were circles within circles. Anti-Clinton authors and publications funded by Scaife gave coverage and favorable reviews to other anti-Clinton authors and publications funded by Scaife.46 Nontheless, There were a substantial number of Clinton critics and conspiracy peddlers who did not receive funds from Scaife.

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