Ideological and Political Disclosure
Last updated May 9, 2016
In case it doesn't come through in my writing, here's what I believe:
I'm a Catholic, and I like to consider myself an orthodox Catholic. My wife and I try to raise our kids according to Catholic teaching.
I describe myself as both conservative and libertarian. Some people object to one or the other labels applying to me. I have described my political prescriptions as "free-market populism" and "libertarian populism."
The political argument on which I spend the most time, energy, and thought is that big government--in the form of regulations, subsidies, mandates, et cetera--frequently benefits the big and politically connected, hurting consumers, small competitors, and taxpayers. Folks often describe my beat as battling "corporate welfare," and "crony capitalism." This is the subject of both of my books.
I registered as a Republican in March 2016 so that I can vote in the Maryland primary in April. I voted against Donald Trump. After the primary, I registered with the Libertarian Party. I do not plan to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I haven't decided whether I will vote for a third-party candidate or write in a candidate.
Last updated August 30, 2016
My full-time employer is the Washington Examiner. The Examiner is owned by Clarity Media, which is owned by Philip Anschutz.
My secondary employer is the American Enterprise Institute, where I am a visiting fellow. I understand AEI to be funded by corporations, individuals, and foundations. I play no role in fundraising. I have spoken to representatives of non-profit foundations that donate, but never with corporate donors.
Here, to the best of my knowledge, are all the other organizations that have paid me or provided me paid travel or lodging in the past twelve months or with whom I currently have an agreement to do work:
Federalist Society, speaker. I speak on religious liberty, regulation, lobbying, campaign finance, the revolving door, corruption, and the law at Federalist Society student chapters. Some of my speaking in past years has been part of a series sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. I don’t know anything else about FedSoc’s funding. Federalist Society pays me an honorarium and reimburses travel costs. I am also booked to speak at a federalist society lawyers' chapter in Milwaukee.
National Journalism Center speaker. I speak to NJC interns about reporting and opinion writing. NJC is a project of Young America’s Foundation. I don’t know anything about YAF’s or NJC’s funding. They've paid me and covered travel costs.
Intercollegiate Studies Institute speaker, writer. I earn speaking fees for speaking to and debating before college students. For my out-of-town speeches, ISI also covers my travel and lodging, including meals. I've also been paid for articles for them. I know nothing about ISI's funding.
Mercatus Center, Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University. I have spoken to Mercatus interns, and at conferences organized by the groups, and provided expert commentary on a draft of a paper. The only thing I know about Mercatus Center funding is that the Charles Koch Foundation is a donor, but I'm told their funding base is far broader.
Charles Koch Institute: I spoke on three occasions to interns and fellows at CKI, which paid me an honorarium and covered my Uber ride home.
Cato Institute: I received an honorarium for participating in an online Cato forum about libertarianism.
University of Texas Center for Politics & Government: I spoke at UT in September. They paid me and covered some of my costs.
University of Dallas: I spoke at UD in September. The philosophy department paid me and covered some of my costs.
The New Criterion: I sat on a corruption and cronyism panel the magazine organized in New York. TNC paid my train fare, put me up for the night, and paid me an honorarium.
Conservative Caucus of Delaware: I am scheduled to speak to this group in October. I know nothing of their funding.
Meals, et cetera: I attend for free many widely-attended events, such as receptions. Below are the non-widely-attended events I've attended, plus those for which I received any special discount or complimentary ticket. (Again, this is all to the best of my memory. This section is the one where I am most likely to be making an accidental omission.):
I attended a May conference on occupational licensing hosted by the Institute for Justice. While AEI is covering my travel and lodging, I ate two dinners and a lunch provided by IJ at the conference, plus had a few beers at the receptions.
I spoke at a January retreat for members of Congress hosted by the Heritage Foundation. They provided dinner, lodging, and a rental car. In February, I attended a dinner discussion hosted by Heritage. On a few occasions, I've spoken on Heritage-organized briefings on Capitol Hill, and I ate their food.
I have accepted complimentary dinner tickets from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Mercatus Center, and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. I ate a lunch provided by the Heritage Foundation in two press gaggles (both with Bobby Jindal). The Cato Institute paid for my lunch (like one of the Heritage lunches, this was Chick-Fil-A) at a meeting on Capitol Hill.
At the Republican National Convention, I had free coffee provided by two of the following: Facebook or Twitter or Google; I can't recall which two. And someone was serving free smoothies. AT&T sponsored free ice cream. At the DNC, I grabbed free salami and cheese from some guy saying "wine and cheese." I don't know who provided it.
When Politico named me to their Politico 50 list, the list was sponsored by Boeing.
Investments, Liabilities, etc...
I do not own securities in any individual companies, industries, or commodities. All of my investments (retirement accounts with Vanguard and Great West [I think this may have changed its name] [plus some money stuck with Charles Schwab and Scottrade]) are in broad-based mutual funds, such as S&P index funds -- mostly stocks, but also U.S. Treasury funds. A little bit of my HSA money is invested in a few JP Morgan mutual funds (I think), including a bonds fund. I have life insurance with USAA, and employer-sponsored health insurance with Cigna (now being bought by Anthem thanks to Obamacare-aided consolidation across the industry).
My home mortgage is with Wells Fargo, and we still own our previous house as landlords (Wells Fargo is also the lender there). My college loan (on pace to be paid off shortly before my 39th birthday) is with Navient, a spinoff of Sallie Mae. These are my only debts.
I received less than $500 in interest income this year from my bank accounts.
My wife's labor--raising a husband and six kids, and keeping a home--is all unremunerated. For her toil, she is paid in love, and probably many years off of purgatory.
My brother John is writer at the Wall Street Journal. My brother Brian manages corporate communications for Rivada Networks, a telecom company dealing in wireless broadband; for this reason, I try to avoid writing about wireless spectrum issues. My brother Mike is a lawyer at a small firm in Louisiana, focusing on elder law and estate planning.
My father is a self-employed, largely retired lawyer in New York, and my mother is his paralegal/secretary/boss/wife. I know nothing of their current clients or cases.