The Passing of the Vast Right-Wing Conspirator
July 4, 2014 4:15 AM Subscribe
The New York Times
reports the death of Richard Mellon Scaife
, the Mellon heir and noted financial backer of conservative organizations and publications
such as the Heritage Foundation
, The American Spectator
, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy
, following his battle with cancer.
Scaife is perhaps best known for funding a staggering number of anti-Clinton projects in the 1990s that set the stage for the Whitewater investigation, efforts which won him derision from some quarters
and approbation from others
Scaife spent close to two million dollars
backing investigations into Bill and Hillary Clinton as part of The Arkansas Project
. (He eventually pulled the plug when he became concerned about how how the money was being spent
.) At one point, Scaife was called to testify before a grand jury
over questions about how the anti-Clinton initiatives were funded. His efforts were criticized in the documentary The Hunting of the President
, which identified Scaife as a key figure
in the conservative effort to oust or discredit Bill Cllnton. Hillary Clinton famously referred to the privately-funded investigations as a "vast right-wing conspiracy"
However, Scaife's opinions of at least one of the Clintons changed in more recent years, and in 2008 his newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
, endorsed Hillary Clinton
in her bid for the Democratic nomination. Scaife himself remarked, "I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today. And it’s a very favorable one indeed."
Somewhat less known is his longtime support of Planned Parenthood and of birth control and access to abortion in general, such that he wrote a full-page editorial
that was published as a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal
. However, some have tied Scaife's support of birth control and abortion access to his and his late sister's opposition to immigration