The Goldwater Institute
Usually, there is one person within an organization who stands out as the most influential. The Goldwater Institute, however, deserves an exception.
Earning friends and foes, the libertarian think-tank expanded into a law firm and a news resource, and its combined power was in full force in 2010.
The Goldwater Institute’s litigation director, Clint Bolick, started off the year with a victory when the Arizona Supreme Court delivered a legal opinion that drew a clearer distinction as to when municipal governments can offer subsidies and other benefits to developers. Bolick filed the lawsuit against the city of Phoenix, an entity also forced by the institute to reveal its public records on a sales-leaseback arrangement with a downtown Phoenix hotel. Similar lawsuits dogged the city of Glendale’s hush-hush pursuit of finding a new owner for the Phoenix Coyotes and derailed a Congress school district’s attempt to stop parents from accessing public records.
However, the Goldwater Institute proved it was more than a force to be reckoned with when attorney Nick Dranias convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the 2010 distribution of matching funds to publicly funded candidates. The court’s order was hailed as an affirmation of free-speech rights of privately funded candidates, and stands as a likely omen that similar systems will be soon banned across the country.
Reporter Mark Flatten also pitched in with well-researched projects that detailed the underbelly of government property lease excise taxes and the various roadblocks that prevent the firing of malfeasant public employees.
Love them or hate them, it’s hard to argue that the Goldwater Institute’s team isn’t making its presence felt.