Independent Institute

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FounderDavid J. Theroux

The Independent Institute (TII) was founded in 1985 by David J. Theroux who is also the president of this institute.


TII seems to be not as independent as the name suggests.


The New York Times had on September 18, 1999 an article by Joel Brinkley called "‘Unbiased’ Ads for Microsoft Came at a Price". The 'Ads' had the form of a letter signed by 240 academic "experts" and purported to be a scholarly, unbiased view of why the government had gone overboard in its case against the Microsoft. In reality, according to that article, Microsoft had not only paid for the ads, but was in fact the single largest donor to 'The Independent Institute'. David J. Theroux, the founder and president of this institute, confirmed in his reply that they received money from Microsoft. However, that was ± 8% of their total revenues and he stated that Microsoft was not their largest supporter. Despite Jacob Sullum's denail, it later turned out that Microsoft paid $203,217 to 'The Independent Institute' in 1999 which made Microsoft the largest supporter. [1]

Tobacco Industry

Robert D. Tollison, Richard E. Wagner and Thomas Gale Moore are members of the Board of Advisors at TII, Gary Anderson, Robert Ekelund, Dwight R. Lee, Mark Thornton and S. Fred Singer are Research Fellows at TII and Richard Vedder is Senior Fellow at TII. Most of them have a long history of working for the Tobacco Institute (TI) and/or Philip Morris and all nine were also members of the 'Academic Advisory Board' for the pro-tobacco junk science report 'Science, Economics, and Environmental Policy: A Critical Examination' published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI) on August 11, 1994. AdTI received money from both TI and Philip Morris. (See: AdTi-Funding)


The Independent Institute received from Philip Morris in 1997 a donation of $10,000 [2] and in 1998 a donation of $25,000. [3]

Exxon donated $10,000 in 1998 [4] and again $10,000 as Exxon Mobil in 2002. [5]

'The San Francisco Foundation' gave in fiscal year 2000 (July 1, 1999-June 30, 2000) to 'The Independent Institute' $10,000 ([6])

Grants according to 'Media Transparency'

What adds up to the total amount of $296,095.

Board of Advisors

In Memoriam Board of Advisors

  • Stephen E. Ambrose, Professor of History Emeritus, University of New Orleans
  • M. E. Bradford, Professor of English, University of Dallas
  • Arthur A. Ekirch Jr., Professor of History, State University of New York, Albany
  • Jonathan Kwitny, Author, Endless Enemies and The Crimes of Patriots
  • Merton H. Miller, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science; Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Professor of Finance Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Murray N. Rothbard, S. J. Hall Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Julian L. Simon, Professor of Business Administration, University of Maryland
  • William E. Simon, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Aaron B. Wildavsky, Class of 1940 Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley



Donald Downs Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus The Independent Institute and Cambridge University Press, 2005

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