They tossed Jim DeMint from the throne Tuesday, ostensibly because he was too political, and soon a few members of the Heritage Foundation's board of directors will be disappointed.
In a special all-staff meeting interim president, Ed Feulner, envisioned a more political operation where the Heritage Foundation and its lobbying arm, Heritage Action, have "a much closer and tighter relationship."
For the last seven years, the conservative conglomerate has been a veritable one-two punch. The 501(c)3 Heritage Foundation provides the ideas while the 501(c)4 Heritage Action delivers the lobbying muscle to persuade lawmakers to fall in line.
And while that worked well, Politico reported last Friday that board members were complaining that DeMint had made the organization "hyper-political." It's not a new grievance. Even before DeMint was defenestrated, plenty of Heritage's old guard gripe that Heritage's ivory tower was tarnished with political concerns.
But even though Senator DeMint's people are gone, politics are apparently at Heritage to stay. Asked about the interaction between the non-profit and the lobbying arms of the organization, according to audio obtained by the Washington Examiner, Feulner insisted they'd "work side-by-side."
"What I do see is, and here 'brother Mitnick' I'm sure will keep me in line," Feulner told staffers, referring to the Heritage Foundation's legal general counsel, John Mitnick, "is [that] the relationship between the (c)3 and the (c)4 will be closer than it has been in the past."
That sentiment was in line with what Feulner told the Washington Examiner in an earlier interview. Co-founder and former president of the organization, Feulner described the Heritage as "an aircraft carrier" and the swifter, more aggressive Heritage Action as a "submarine." Apparently, he plans on getting the battle group back together.
"There will be a much closer and tighter relationship than we've seen over the last couple of years within the legal constraints we operate under," Feulner explained.
A spokesperson from Heritage and Heritage Action had not returned comment requests by press time.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.