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Cato Institute

Cato Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchFor other uses, see Cato (disambiguation).

Motto“Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace”
Established1974; 46 years ago[1]
FoundersEd CraneCharles KochMurray Rothbard
Type501(c)(3) Non-profit think tank
Tax ID no.237432162
FocusPublic advocacy, media exposure and societal influence
Location1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°54′12″N 77°01′35″WCoordinates38°54′12″N 77°01′35″W
President and CEOPeter N. Goettler[2]
ChairmanRobert A. Levy[2]
Executive Vice-PresidentDavid Boaz[3]
Revenue (2017)$36,679,802[4]
Expenses (2017)$30,381,673[4]
Endowment$72,934,328 (2015)
Staff100 staff
46 faculty
70 adjunct faculty
Formerly calledCharles Koch Foundation; Cato Foundation

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed CraneMurray Rothbard, and Charles Koch,[6] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries.[nb 1] In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[6][7] Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8] According to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies ProgramUniversity of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 15 in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and number 10 in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”.[9]

The Cato Institute is libertarian in its political philosophy, and advocates a limited role for government in domestic and foreign affairs as well as a strong protection of civil rights. This includes support for the demilitarization of the police, lowering or abolishing most taxes, opposition to the Federal Reserve system, the privatization of numerous government agencies and programs including Social Security, the Affordable Care Act and the United States Postal Service, along with adhering to a non-interventionist foreign policy.Cato Institute building in Washington, D.C.



The institute was founded in December 1974 in Wichita, Kansas, as the Charles Koch Foundation and initially funded by Charles Koch.[nb 2][10] The other members of the first board of directors included co-founder Murray Rothbard, libertarian scholar Earl Ravenal, and businessmen Sam H. Husbands Jr. and David H. Padden.[6][11] At the suggestion of Rothbard,[11] the institute changed its name in 1976 to Cato Institute after Cato’s Letters, a series of British essays penned in the early 18th century by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.[12][13]

Cato relocated first to San FranciscoCalifornia, in 1977, then to Washington, D.C., in 1981, settling initially in a historic house on Capitol Hill.[14](p446) The institute moved to its current location on Massachusetts Avenue in 1993. Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of think tanks by James G. McGann, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in “producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research”.[15]

By 2011, the Cato Institute had a budget of $39 million and was “one of the largest think tanks in Washington. In 2012, Ed Crane—who was then the president of Cato, William Niskanen—who had served as Cato chairman, and the Koch brothers—with 50 percent of Cato shares,[16] held shares in Cato Institute. When Niskanen died in March 2012, the Koch brothers contested Niskanen’s wife’s inheritance of 25 percent of Cato’s shares in a lawsuit filed in a court in Kansas. The brothers sued for control of the Cato Institute.[17][18][19] In response to the lawsuit which called for Cranes’ resignation, “independent parties on the political Left, Right, and Center” provided “testimonials to Cato’s effectiveness” as a respected leader of thought, educator and contributor to the “marketplace of ideas”.[16] During the 2012 United States presidential election, the Koch brothers were also “prominent donors” to the Americans For Prosperity who supported the Tea Party movement and opposed President Obama.[17] Those who supported Cato’s existing management rallied around the “Save Cato” banner,[20] while those who supported the Koch brothers, called “For a Better Cato”.[21]


Various Cato programs were favorably ranked in a s

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