WASHINGTON -- Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will each receive $250,000 Wednesday from the conservative Bradley Foundation, as will lawyer and former George W. Bush Solicitor-General Paul Clement, and author Yuval Levin. The four men are winners of the 2013 Bradley Prizes, one of the nation's largest individual philanthropic awards.
The prize is sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a private philanthropic fund dedicated to promoting "American democratic capitalism." Over the past decade, the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation has given away more than $400 million to fund conservative causes, including school voucher campaigns, anti-union "right to work" laws, pro-marriage initiatives, global warming denial groups and efforts to combat voter fraud.
Named for its two founding brothers, the Bradley Foundation attracts less attention than the half-dozen different family foundations controlled by the better-known billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David. But over the years, the Bradley Foundation has quietly donated far more to conservative causes than the Kochs.
In Wisconsin, the Bradley Foundation is known for supporting local arts and educational organizations, including the Milwaukee Art Museum and the city's symphony orchestra. But outside the Badger State, Bradley Foundation dollars fund right-leaning think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the libertarian Cato Institute.
They also help to bolster corporate-backed, tea party astroturf groups -- so-named because they're designed to look like grassroots initiatives -- including FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
As in past years, Wednesday night's awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center promises to bring together a who's-who of wealthy conservative donors and Washington's right-wing political establishment.
But unlike similarly high-dollar foundation awards, such as MacArthur Fellowships, better known as MacArthur genius grants, the Bradley Prizes aren't intended to fund their recipients' future creative and scientific work. On the contrary, plenty of Bradley Prize winners are already millionaires. Among this year's winners, Daniels, a former president of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, has a net worth that was estimated a decade ago to be more than $15.7 million. Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, made $21 million in 2011.
A legendary Supreme Court litigator, Clement is best known for his lead role in recent cases challenging the Obama health care law (he lost) and Washington D.C's gun laws (he won). According to The Washington Post, Clement's fee for legal services is around $1,000 an hour.
The fourth Bradley Prize recipient, Levin, is an author and the editor of National Affairs, a quarterly magazine. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Bradley-funded think tank dedicated to applying "the Judeo-Christian moral tradition" to public policy. Previous Bradley Prize winners have included former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Edwin Meese, a former attorney general in the Reagan administration who was forced to resign over a contracting scandal.