We've long known that retired (!) Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder has shaped his conservative sermons for a perfect fit in the corporate world. His op-ed tax columns have been widely quoted or published in the media (including the Beacon Journal) as authoritative. And his testimony before legislative committees has been catnip for Republican pols. Vedder recently testified on Gov. Kasich's budget before a committee in Columbus, providing the ear candy for conservatives in need of fresh rhetoric.
What we didn't know until this day, folks, is that Vedder is also on the payroll of an outfit innocently called Donors Trust that vows to to build a "legacy of liberty". As evidence of that freedom, Donors Trust serves as a pass-through for large contributions from like-minded "liberty-minded charities" who are guaranteed anonymity. The trust then shovels the money into various other like-minded organizations.. In more vulgar language, some would call it a laundering operation. You don't need an advanced college degree in economics to connect the dots.
But about Vedder: A study by the Associated Press revealed that for his sympathetic labors, Vedder, who left the campus as a regular in 2001. is paid $150,000 annually by Donor Trusts to preach its Gospel.
And it doesn't take much deeper digging to learn that Donors Trust is a pass-through that channels huge donations to non-profit groups who can remain secret recipients.
But wait. If you roll back the tape, you'll find vestiges of the Koch Brothers and the Libertarian Cato Institute founded nearly 40 years ago by the brothers.
The Trust also has spread around nearly $91 million to groups dissing climate change as a liberal plot. The brothers would agree as the money flows.
Meantime, thank you, Associated Press. At least we now know the liberty-loving players and their confederates.