The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), a conservative think tank based in Texas which had ties to a prominent Republican from the Sunshine State, is shutting its doors.
In an email sent out on Friday, the NCPA announced that financial problems ensured the group would be shutting down with its board voting to close shop.
“The thirty-four year old free market think tank has made significant contributions to free-market public policy research and implementation, including Health Savings Accounts, Roth IRAs, automatic enrollment in 401ks, and ongoing work in the areas of taxes, health-care, entitlements, economic development, energy and national security,” the NCPA emailed the media on Friday. “The decision to leave the world of think tanks comes after the organization has faced significant financial challenges over the last three years.”
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has been with the NCPA since they announced in November 2014 that he was named as CEO of the group.
“I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to lead one of the country’s pre-eminent think tanks,” West said when he was named to the post. “I have long admired the NCPA’s innovative research in health care, tax reform, entitlements, retirement, energy, environmental and education policy.”
West insisted being out of the Beltway was a blessing for the NCPA.
“I believe one of the NCPA’s strengths is that it is not headquartered in Washington, D.C.,” West said. “Working from the nation’s center, I believe the NCPA’s future is that of a leader in economic research as the most trusted policy analysis voice in America philosophical, principled and policy proficient.
“It will be policy, not politics that secures a sound economic future for Americans with growth, opportunity and returning the promise of the American dream for this generation and those to come,” West added.
Economist John Goodman founded the NCPA and led it for its first three decades but he was removed by its board in June 2014 in an acrimonious dispute. Goodman insisted he was removed in a “coup” while the NCPA insisted it was “personnel issues.”
Joe Barnett, the senior director of policy research for the NCPA, told the Dallas Morning News, that he blamed Goodman for the group’s problems.
“The difficult decision our board has taken due to our inability to recover financially and reputationally is directly traceable to the reckless actions of its former president and founder John Goodman,” Barnett insisted.
Goodman penned an op-ed published by the Dallas Morning News in July 2015 in which he insisted the NCPA hurt itself with its actions.
“The NCPA filed a lawsuit against the secretary of its own board (one of the most prominent lawyers in Dallas) and his entire law firm (one of the city’s largest). The NCPA is now suing another law firm on a related issue," he wrote. “These lawsuits are taking a toll. The Dallas Morning News reports that the NCPA’s annual giving is down by about 40 percent of its operating budget. In addition, it has lost about three times that amount in other funding. Several news stories have suggested that NCPA’s revenue losses are connected to me. This is simply not true.”
Goodman pointed to other factors, including the group losing some leading scholars and failing to replace them, the NCPA losing donors when it attacked him and changing its directors. While he had kind words for West, Goodman speculated he might have had a hard time keeping the NCPA’s donors on board.
“The appointment of Alan West as my successor seems to signal change,” Goodman noted. “I admire West. I hope he is successful. His tea party rhetoric may even attract a new type of donor. But past donors are not used to that.”
West defended his record at NCPA but did not point the blame at Goodman or other figures associated with the group. “I joined the NCPA in January 2015 and was able to raise nearly $900K to support our conservative free market policy analysis. NCPA had done phenomenal work expanding from its historic success in healthcare policy into more tax, economic growth, and national security policy,” West posted on Facebook on Friday. “However, even with a superb history and other outstanding policy work focused on individual liberty and conservative economic opportunity policy, times are strained for the 501c(3) non-profit world. Not to mention there were some issues with conservative organizations being targeted during the Obama tenure.”
Barely a year after he joined, West was out as CEO of the group, taking over as executive director and vice chairman of the board of directors so he could focus on policy. In January 2016, the NCPA turned James Amos, Jr., the former CEO of Mail Boxes Etc. and the past chairman of the International Franchise Association, to serve as president and CEO. The NCPA noted at the time that West “is taking on a more active policy role" as executive director, vice chairman of the board and will be a spokesman.
NCPA Board Chairman Steve Ivy praised both Amos and West when the new assignments were announced.
“Jim Amos brings a wealth of free-market business expertise and leadership that will support the NCPA’s mission to promote alternatives to government regulation and solve problems through the competitive, private sector,” Ivy said. “We are thrilled to have him at the helm.”
“Col. West is in great demand as a speaker nationwide with about 150 presentations in the past year,” Ivy continued. “This reorganization enables him to continue as a face and voice of the organization, focus on economic and national security policy issues, and lead the NCPA’s fundraising initiatives.”
After more than two decades of decorated service in the Army, West ran for Congress in 2008, losing to Democrat Ron Klein. Two years later, West beat Klein in a rematch. Despite becoming a favorite of conservatives at the national level, West was defeated in 2012 by Democrat Patrick Murphy. Since then, West’s name has garnered buzz as a possible U.S. Senate candidate but he hasn’t run for office.
Following his decision to take over at NCPA, West left his Allen West Guardian Fund PAC. Back in January 2015, West turned the PAC over to U.S. Rep. Barry Lourdermilk, R-Ga. to lead and it remains active at the national level.
West opened the door to returning to the Guardian Fund and politics on Friday.
“I look forward to continued writing, speaking, and advancing conservative policy solutions for our constitutional republic,” West noted. “As well, I can now assist military and minority conservatives once again to attain political office by resurrecting my involvement with the Guardian Fund…and possibly explore my own future political possibilities.”