Non-profit

New America (New America Foundation)

Website:

www.newamerica.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-2096845

DUNS Number:

03-550-1203

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $37,973,732
Expenses: $37,245,071
Assets: $31,923,636

Formation:

1999

Type:

Center-Left Think Tank

Formerly:

New America Foundation

Founder:

Ted Halstead

President and CEO:

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Ted Halstead (1999-2007)

New America, formerly the New America Foundation, is a left-of-center think tank in the United States. It focuses on a range of public policy issues, including national security studies, technology, asset building, health, gender, energy, education, and the economy. The think tank’s scholars and affiliated commentators include former and some current journalists and former members of the Obama administration.

New America was criticized for firing a scholar in 2017 after that scholar had praised regulatory action against Google, whose former CEO, Eric Schmidt, is a major donor to the think tank. [1]

Background

New America, based in Washington, D.C. is a left-of-center think tank founded in 1999, originally called New America Foundation. The organization also professes to develop political, legal and technological tools “to build democratic capacity.” [2]

Ted Halstead founded New America and was president and CEO from 1999-2007. Halstead convinced liberal commentator Bill Moyers, the former press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson, to back the project. [3] Halstead had previously founded the center-left think tank Redefining Progress, which folded in 2008. [4]

Halstead and New America fellow Michael Lind wrote the 2001 book, The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics. They claimed that their think tank would represent a “radical center” unrepresented by the two-party system. [5] The book argued that America was about to experience new political realignments in the midst of “increasingly dogmatic two-party system,” that were “captured by their extremes,” and many Americans could not “find even a faction within a major party with which they can identify.” [6]

The foundation has focused heavily on California politics, and has a sister office in Sacramento, and includes a special section of the website for “New America California.” [7]

Obama Administration Ties

Despite claiming to reject ideology, the top echelon of the organization includes alumni from Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration. New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter served the administration as director of policy planning for the State Department from 2009 to 2011, working under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was previously the dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002 to 2009. [8]

Slaughter took the helm of the organization in 2013. During a 2018 interview with Politico, she seemed to advocate for Democratic victories in the midterm elections:[9]

New America is non-partisan, but this presidency is imperiling our democracy, our national security, our commitment to the rule of law, our belief in the search for truth and knowledge, and our sense of common humanity […] In a system of party politics, we all have presidents we like and dislike, but we still respect the office of the presidency. This is different. Trump is defiling and degrading that office. I only hope that he provokes a counter-reaction so strong, at the polls and in our lives and hearts, that it provides the energy and vision for the scale of change we need to create the next America.

New America president and chief operating officer Tyra A. Mariani previously served as the chief of staff at the Department of Education during the Obama administration. [10]

Cecilia Munoz is the think tank’s vice president for public interest technology and local initiatives. Munoz served for eight years on President Obama’s senior staff, first as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs followed by five years as Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Before working for the Obama White House, she was the senior vice president for UnidosUS (then the National Council of La Raza), an organization that supports granting legal status to illegal immigrants. [11]

In 2009, at the start of the Obama administration, the think tank began getting federal contracts with the State Department to help development wireless networks for dissidents in Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cuba. This raised concerns among alumni of the organization who felt it could inhibit the group’s independence from government. [12]

Even a conservative-sounding division—Fix the Debt—had an Obama connection. Fix the Debt became a division of the New America Foundation in 2012, with the former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles running the division. President Obama had appointed the two to co-chair a bipartisan presidential commission to produce ways to reduce the debt that includes both tax hikes, spending cuts and entitlement reforms. Fix the Debt was one of the bigger moneymakers for the think tank, with Republican businessman Pete Peterson reportedly giving the most to the division. [13]

Fix the Debt is no longer part of New America and is now a division of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. [14]

Others are top officials in the organization are tied to the left-leaning mainstream and openly left-wing media outlets.

The former CEO of New America from 2007 to 2012, Steve Coll, is a Pulitzer Prize winner and former managing editor at the Washington Post. While at the helm of New America, he wrote the book Private Empire, a book highly critical of ExxonMobil. This occurred after the environmentalist-aligned Rockefeller Foundation—also a critic of ExxonMobil—contributed more than $1 million to New America. After departing New America, Coll became the dean of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. [15]

New America’s vice president for global studies Peter Bergen is an author and journalist who has made numerous documentaries for HBO, PBS and CNN. [16]

The think tank’s board is intermingled closely with several mainstream media outlets. The board of directors includes David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media; New York Times columnist David Brooks; James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic; and CNN talk show host Fareed Zakaria. [17]

Mark Schmitt, the director of the government reform program, is a former executive editor of the liberal magazine the American Prospect. [18]

Controversies

Barry Lynn Firing

When Eric Schmidt first joined the New America board of directors, he was till the CEO of software company Novell, and said, “the government is no longer ignoring us, so we have to get organized,” adding, “The ideas that come out may well include some I might not agree with.” [19] Schmidt later become CEO of Google (later reorganized under Alphabet, Inc.).

In 2017, New America fired the head of its pro-antitrust-enforcement Open Markets division, Barry Lynn, after he criticized Google. Lynn praised a $2.7 billion fine levied by the European Union against Google, saying the EU “is protecting the free flow of information and commerce upon which all democracies depend.” [20]

The Google corporation and Schmidt’s family foundation had donated $21 million to New America over the years, while New America’s main conference room was reportedly named the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab,” after the then-CEO of Google’s parent company. [21]

In emails reported on in the media, New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter seemed to take the side of Meredith Hanley, New America’s director of development over Lynn in a dispute about critique of Google. As published by far-left website the Intercept, Slaughter reportedly wrote, “I have to say I am with Meredith on this. We worked so hard with you to get you 11th Hour funding; just THINK about how you are imperilling [sic] funding for others.” [22] Susan Molinari, a former Republican member of Congress and now a lobbyist for Google, reportedly spoke to Slaughter amid the controversy. [23]

In a public statement Slaughter said the organization fired Lynn because he “repeatedly refused to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality.” [24]

Funding

According to the group’s 2017 tax returns, New America took in $39.3 million in revenue and spent $36 million. [25]

The group reported taking in substantial contributions from a number of corporations, left-of-center foundations, and foreign governments. [26] The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Family Foundation, Foundation to Promote Open Society, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation are all among the substantial contributors to New America. [27]

References

  1. Dayen, David. “New Think Tank Emails Show ‘How Google Wields Its Power’ In Washington.” The Intercept. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://theintercept.com/2017/08/31/new-america-google-open-markets-barry-lynn-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  2. About. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-story/ ^
  3. Cohen, Rachel M. “Has the New America Foundation Lost its Way?” The Washingtonian. June 24, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/06/24/has-new-america-foundation-lost-its-way-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  4. Ted Halstead. Echoing Green. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/ted-halstead ^
  5. Hallstead, Ted; Lind, Michael. “The Radical Center.” New America. October 2, 2001. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/new-america/books/radical-center/ ^
  6. Tanenhaus, Sam. “The Radical Center: The History of an Idea.” The New York Times. April 14, 2010. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/25/books/review/Tanenhaus-t.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&mtrref=undefined&gwh=36F681A4273D5F4C7B3CEF63981AD7E4&gwt=pay ^
  7. New America California. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/ca/. ^
  8. Anne-Marie Slaughter. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  9. Politico Staff. “Birthday of the Day: Anne Marie Slaughter, New America Foundtion CEO.” Politico. September 27, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/27/playbook-birthday-anne-marie-slaughter-846223 ^
  10. Tyra A. Mariani. New America. Accessed May 28, 2018. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/tyra-a-mariani/ ^
  11. Cecilia Munoz. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/cecilia-mu%C3%B1oz/ ^
  12. Cohen, Rachel M. “Has the New America Foundation Lost its Way?” The Washingtonian. June 24, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/06/24/has-new-america-foundation-lost-its-way-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  13. Cohen, Rachel M. “Has the New America Foundation Lost its Way?” The Washingtonian. June 24, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/06/24/has-new-america-foundation-lost-its-way-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  14. About. Fix the Debt. Accessed May 29. https://fixthedebt.org/about-us ^
  15. Motley, Seton. “Fake News: When Leftist Foundations Fund Activism Posting as Journalism.” Red State. January 12, 2017. https://www.redstate.com/setonmotley/2017/01/12/fake-news-leftist-foundations-fund-activism-posing-journalism/ ^
  16. Peter Bergen. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/peter-bergen/ ^
  17. Board of Directors. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/board/ ^
  18. Mark Schmitt. New America. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/mark-schmitt/ ^
  19. Cohen, Rachel M. “Has the New America Foundation Lost its Way?” The Washingtonian. June 24, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/06/24/has-new-america-foundation-lost-its-way-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  20. Quoted in Editorial Board. “Google Goes from Leftwing Hero to Goat Overnight.” Investor’s Business Daily. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/google-goes-from-left-wing-hero-to-goat-overnight/ ^
  21. Editorial Board. “Google Goes from Leftwing Hero to Goat Overnight.” Investor’s Business Daily. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/google-goes-from-left-wing-hero-to-goat-overnight/ ^
  22. Dayen, David. “New Think Tank Emails Show ‘How Google Wields Its Power’ In Washington.” The Intercept. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://theintercept.com/2017/08/31/new-america-google-open-markets-barry-lynn-anne-marie-slaughter/ ^
  23. The Economist Staff. “The New American Foundation Falls into a Familiar Trap.” The Economist. September 7, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019.  https://www.economist.com/united-states/2017/09/07/the-new-america-foundation-falls-into-a-familiar-trap ^
  24. Editorial Board. “Google Goes from Leftwing Hero to Goat Overnight.” Investor’s Business Daily. August 31, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/google-goes-from-left-wing-hero-to-goat-overnight/ ^
  25. New America, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), Part I ^
  26. “2018 Donors and Partners.” New America. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-funding/our-funders/. ^
  27. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted June 4, 2019. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Ted Halstead
    Founder, Former President (1999-2007)
  2. Anne-Marie Slaughter
    President and CEO
  3. Jonathan Soros
    Board Member
  4. Cecilia Munoz
    Vice President for Public Interest Technology and Local Initiatives
  5. K. Sabeel Rahman
    Former Fellow
  6. Bill Moyers
    Founding Supporter
  7. Eric Schmidt
    Former Board Chair, Major Donor
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $37,973,732 $37,245,071 $31,923,636 $8,352,035 N $36,528,168 $15,563 $50,597 $2,405,814
    2015 Dec Form 990 $33,509,594 $25,649,786 $26,286,378 $3,443,282 N $33,232,227 $14,456 $72,642 $1,523,060 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $20,315,920 $21,539,240 $16,714,848 $1,731,560 N $20,219,546 $16,002 $78,946 $696,179 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $19,874,779 $19,408,369 $17,873,179 $1,666,571 N $19,432,725 $6,593 $106,718 $1,353,727 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $22,258,222 $21,634,831 $18,102,949 $2,362,751 N $21,814,326 $3,305 $182,469 $1,282,542 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $17,188,491 $15,424,254 $16,830,752 $1,713,945 N $16,734,129 $0 $217,820 $363,201 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    New America (New America Foundation)

    740 15TH ST NW STE 900
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-1031