Conservative Think Tank Makes 'Puzzling' Big Move

Heritage Foundation ousts leader Jim DeMint
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 3, 2017 3:31 AM CDT
Conservative Think-Tank Overthrows Leader
Jim DeMint speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this year.   (Susan Walsh)

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has ousted its leader after a power struggle.The Washington nonprofit's board of trustees unanimously asked for and received the resignation of Jim DeMint at a meeting Tuesday. The board chairman said in a pull-no-punches statement afterward that "significant and worsening management issues" led to the ouster, the AP reports. "Heritage has never been about one individual, but rather the power of conservative ideas," Chairman Thomas Saunders III wrote in a statement. "Heritage is bigger than any one person." Some board members called the decision a painful, but necessary, one.

DeMint, who resigned after eight years as a Republican senator from South Carolina to take the Heritage Foundation post, said in a statement that he found the stated reason for his dismissal "puzzling," though he didn't offer up another motive. At least six other Heritage staffers departed along with DeMint. The group has been a crucial ally of President Trump and his administration, though its advocacy arm urged lawmakers to reject the Congress spending bill the Trump administration was aggressively making the case for on Tuesday. The bill, Heritage argued, "woefully fails the test of fiscal responsibility and does not advance important conservative policies." (More Jim DeMint stories.)

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