Non-profit

Political Forum Institute

Website:

thepfi.org/

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Right-Leaning Non-Profit Publisher

Parent Organization:

American Principles Project Foundation

President:

Mark Mechler

Website:

www.wokecapital.org

The Political Forum Institute is a right-leaning blog and content publisher that was founded by former Prudential Securities investment bankers Steve Soukup and Mark Melcher as a project of the right-leaning advocacy group the American Principles Project Foundation and its affiliated American Principles Project.

The organization focuses on publishing content critical of left-leaning environmental, social and governance investment practices as well as critical race theory-aligned diversity equity and inclusion trainings and hiring quotas adopted by investment firms and large companies. Most of the organization’s work revolves around publishing a blog detailing opposition to left-leaning ideology on corporate America and promoting a book on the issue published by Soukup. [1]

The organization has announced its intent to reorganize as an independent nonprofit while maintaining a relationship with the American Principles Project. [2]

Background

The Political Forum Institute was founded by Mark Melcher in 2002. In 2003, Mechler brought in Steve Soukup as a partner. Mechler and Soukup worked together in the Washington, D.C. offices of Prudential Securities, where Mechler ran the firm’s Washington Research Office, and at Lehman Brothers. The Political Forum Institute later became a project of the American Principles Project Foundation, the educational research arm of the right-leaning American Principles Project, which was founded in 2009. [3]

In 2021, the organization announced that it had been established as a separate nonprofit organization. The organization’s blog, titled “Woke Capital,” detailed funding priorities for the new organization including a target to raise $500,000 to $700,000 over two years to fund more published books, freelance content writers, and marketing the organization particularly within the financial services industry. The organization claims that its blog and newsletter have 700 weekly readers. [4]

Activity

As of late 2021, the content of the organization was mostly housed within its blog titled “Woke Capital.” The organization also published a book in 2020 by Steve Soukup titled The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business, which explains how companies such as Amazon and Disney have adopted left-leaning ideology in their corporate and financial practices. [5]

The content of the organization’s “Woke Capital” blog includes many criticisms of large American companies and their leaders for agreeing to left-leaning principles that in some cases the organization argues, are harmful to business. The organization and its founders focus on criticizing ESG investing practices and shareholder activist efforts and cover both topics substantially. [6] [7]

People

Mark Mechler is the founder and president of the Political Frum Institute. Mechler had a long career in investment banking before starting the Political Forum in 2002. He began his career at Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1973 and in 1983 became the head of the Washington Research Office of Prudential Securities. Following his time at Prudential he worked briefly at Lehman Brothers before founding the Political Forum institute. [8]

Steve Soukup is the vice president and publisher of the organization and is the main author of most of the organization’s content as of late 2021. Soukup worked with Mechler at both Prudential and Lehman Brothers. He is also currently a fellow at the Culture of Life Foundation. [9]

References

  1. “About Us.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/page/about-us/ ^
  2. “About Us.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/page/about-us/ ^
  3. “About Us.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/page/about-us/ ^
  4. “About Us.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/page/about-us/ ^
  5. Soukup, Steve. “The Dictatorship of Woke Capital.” Encounter Books. December 17, 2021. https://www.encounterbooks.com/books/dictatorship-woke-capital/ ^
  6. “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/esg-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ ^
  7. “Woke Capital and Fossil Fuels: An Update.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/woke-capital-and-fossil-fuels-an-update/ ^
  8.  “About Us.” The Political Forum Institute. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://thepfi.org/page/about-us/ ^
  9. “Stephen Soukup.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 17, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-soukup-22129b152/ ^
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