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The Irony of the Pew Trusts

In response to:

Can Romney Get a Majority? from the September 27, 2012 issue

To the Editors:

Andrew Hacker’s otherwise thoughtful essay on the Pew Research Center’s Trends in American Values study [“Can Romney Get a Majority?,” NYR, September 27] contained an inaccurate parenthetical reference to the relationship between the Pew family and the research center. The Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trusts, operating independently but ultimately accountable to the Trusts’ board of trustees. Composed of members of the Pew family as well as outside directors, the board proudly maintains the original mission of our founders, using a nonpartisan analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and stimulate civic life.

Rebecca Rimel
President and CEO
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Andrew Hacker replies:

Not only is the Pew Trust nonpartisan: its research on health, environment, and state government are philanthropic models. If this was the intent of its founders—Joseph Pew Jr. (1886–1963) and J. Howard Pew (1882–1971)—they also deployed much of their fortune in efforts to eviscerate the New Deal. I doubt that their grandchildren and great-nephews on the current board—two are physicians—are unaware of the irony.

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