Richard Mellon Scaife

Richard Mellon Scaife

Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife may have single-handedly funded the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton claimed was plotting against her husband.

In 1999 the Washington Post declared Richard Mellon Scaife the “funding father of the Right.” A billionaire philanthropist and owner-publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Scaife became so active in his efforts to dig up dirt against President Bill Clinton that many Democrats were convinced that Hillary Clinton’s claim that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was persecuting her husband was a reference to Scaife.

Scaife was the principal backer of the American Spectator and the “Arkansas Project,” whose mission was to discover the “real facts” about Clinton. Although the “project” did publicize Paula Jones and her accusations of sexual harassment against Clinton, the allegations of financial misconduct and a number of additional sexual indiscretions were largely dismissed. The greatest misfire of the Arkansas Project was the claim that the Clintons had worked with CIA rogue agents in a drug smuggling ring out of Mena, Arkansas, and that they had ordered the murder of Vince Foster to silence him.

Richard Mellon Scaife became interested in politics when his father, Alan Scaife, served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II and the family lived in Washington, D.C. In 1956 the younger Scaife became a committeeman for the Allegheny Republican Party, and in 1964 he was drawn to Barry Goldwater’s campaign for president because of his mother’s friendship with the candidate. For a time, Scaife headed Forum World Features, a publishing company that was later exposed as a front organization for the CIA. His first venture into circumventing campaign finance laws occurred when he donated $999,000 to the 1972 reelection fund of Richard M. Nixon. After the Watergate scandal broke in 1973, Scaife refused to speak with Nixon ever again.

Scaife is regarded by those who know him as a very private, taciturn man who never grants interviews and who seldom speaks—even during his own board meetings.

Over the past thirty years, the Scaife Foundations have given over $340 million to such right-wing groups as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute. Although he has received the most publicity for his generous financial support to conservative political causes, Scaife also controls the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Allegheny Foundation. He is key benefactor for many art galleries, museums, orchestras, and educational institutions, such as the University of Chicago, Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Bowling Green State University. He controlled the Scaife Family Foundation until 2001, when that position was shared by his son and daughter. In 2005, Scaife, the principal heir to the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune was ranked No. 283 on the Forbes 400.

Although Scaife’s efforts to remove President Bill Clinton from office were well-known, in the autumn of 2007 he reversed his opinion of Clinton because of the work that the former president’s foundation was accomplishing on a global basis. To the astonishment of all who had followed Scaife’s anti-Clinton machinations over the past several years, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, a Scaife-controlled newspaper, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president two days before the Pennsylvania presidential primary.

To the chagrin of some of his fellow conservatives, Scaife is a major donor to prochoice advocates and has given millions to Planned Parenthood. His mother Sarah’s favorite causes were population control, environmental conservation, and hospitals. Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine in a Sarah Scaife–sponsored laboratory.

Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Trib Total Media, the newspaper company of the late billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife that publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, began contracting following Scaife's death in July 2014.
But 20 years after the so-called Arkansas Project, the multimillion-dollar campaign financed by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife that turned Whitewater and Troopergate into household names, opposition researchers face a conundrum: Considering that the first expedition for dirt on the Clintons culminated in impeachment proceedings, are there any stones left unturned in Little Rock?
Just as Bill Clinton was able to forgive another architect of the vast right-wing conspiracy, Richard Mellon Scaife, once Scaife was charmed by Hillary in person and began giving money to the Clinton foundation, so, too, was Bill won over by Brock's book, "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative,'' and Brock's Media Matters and Correct the Record websites, which ferociously push back against any Hillary coverage that isn't fawning.
This robust newspaper competition has been the situation in Pittsburgh since industrialist Richard Mellon Scaife in the early 1990s stepped into the void left by the closure of the Pittsburgh Press to establish the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in direct competition with the Pittsburgh PostGazette.
Gormley's investigation establishes that conservative Republicans, amply funded by billionaire publisher Richard Mellon Scaife and others, provided legal counsel to plaintiffs (Bork himself offered to assist in the Jones lawsuit), dug up evidence for prosecutors, and continually goaded the Office of the Independent Counsel to act more aggressively.
Neoconservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife has had a change of heart concerning Hillary Clinton.
The unexpected nod came from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper, whose owner and publisher, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, in the 1990s helped support conservative groups and publications investigating the then-president's financial dealings and sex life.
Neither his story nor an exhaustive investigation by Kenneth Starr and his legion of gumshoes, plus the right-wing scandal machine financed by Richard Mellon Scaife and other Clinton haters, found proof of involvement by the Clintons in anything crooked connected with Whitewater.
Richard Mellon Scaife, the gazillionaire who spent over $2 million publicizing the Clintons' involvement, however fictitious, in drug running, murder, and scandalous land deals, apparently now wants to take it all back.
When its principal patron, Richard Mellon Scaife, withdrew his massive financial support in a fit of pique over the Spectator's refusal to give a good review to a shoddy book, the magazine, for all practical purposes, collapsed into irrelevance.)
Short of turning the broadcast day over to Rush Limbaugh or Richard Mellon Scaife, it's difficult to imagine a more calculated effort to undermine PBS's intended mission of providing alternative programming than this subsidy to a wealthy, conservative corporation to produce yet another right-wing cable chat show.
The Center for Media & Democracy's "Disinfopedia" entry for the IWF (see www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Independent_Women%27s_Forum) describes the group as "an anti-feminist organization funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, Koch Industries, and other rightwing ideologues" and "a secular counterpart to Religious Right women's groups like Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America."