What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 22, 2012

All Too Familiar

It is, by now, a familiar story. The Tribune-Review editorial board cites one or more think-tanks to support its position while simultaneously neglecting to point out the financial support given that think tank by their boss, Richard Mellon Scaife.

Today is no different:
The challenges that America‘s aging presents for Social Security‘s solvency must be resolved by confronting them head-on, not by relying on immigration-driven population growth.

A new Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) report analyzes U.S. Census Bureau projections to explain why.
And then a few paragraphs later:
Plus, as Federation for American Immigration Reform (fairus.org) spokesman Ira Mehlman points out, immigrants tend to hold low-paying jobs and eventually will collect Social Security benefits — but their Social Security contributions won‘t offset those benefits‘ cost.
That's two think tanks.

We've written about the CIS as recently as last April.  Then we caught them in a pretty blatant misrepresentation of the truth.  Earlier we ran some of the numbers showing financial support Scaife's foundations have given to the CIS.  Let's update them now.

According to the Bridgeproject (formerly the Media Matters Transparency Project), the CIS has received $18,980,086 in foundation financial support (note: none of the amounts are adjusted for inflation) over the years.  During that time, Scaife's foundations have given $3,889,500 (or just a shade over 20%).  Bridgeproject also reports that the Federation for American Immigration Reform received a total of $9,658,000 in foundation support and during that time Scaife's foundations gave $1,822,500 (or a shade under 19%).

Now here's an interesting bit about CIS and FAIR from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Although it goes unmentioned on its website and its other materials, CIS was born in 1985 as a program of FAIR, which had been run by Tanton since he started it in 1979. Even then, Tanton understood that CIS would soon need to stand on its own in order to be seen as the "independent, non-partisan" organization that its mission statement claims today. In a letter to Cordelia Scaife May, a far-right philanthropist who supported many of Tanton's nativist endeavors, Tanton was candid.

"For credibility," he told the woman whose foundation would go on to support CIS for decades, "this will need to be independent of FAIR, though the Center for Immigration Studies, as we're calling it, is starting off as a project of FAIR."

Tanton had a clear vision of the complementary, if unheralded, relationship between FAIR and CIS. As he wrote in another 1985 letter, CIS' role would be to produce reports "for later passage to FAIR, the activist organization, to remedy." And indeed, to this day, FAIR frequently cites CIS to back up its lobbying.
And now the Braintrust is citing both.

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