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Goldwater Institute

  (Redirected from The Goldwater Institute)

The Goldwater Institute is a conservative and libertarian public policy think tank located in Phoenix, Arizona.[4] The institute's stated mission is "to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all fifty states."[5] The organization was established in 1988 with the support of former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. The organization was primarily a public policy research organization until 2007, when it added a litigation arm, becoming the first state-based policy organization to do so.[4][6] Goldwater's litigation arm, the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, engages in lawsuits against government entities across the United States.[7]

Goldwater Institute
Established 1988; 30 years ago (1988)
President Victor Riches
Chairman Eric Crown[1]
CEO Victor Riches
Staff 32[2]
Budget Revenue: $4,428,236
Expenses: $5,616,214
(FYE December 2015)[3]
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°28′05″N 112°03′54″W / 33.468°N 112.065°W / 33.468; -112.065Coordinates: 33°28′05″N 112°03′54″W / 33.468°N 112.065°W / 33.468; -112.065
Address 500 East Coronado Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85004



The Goldwater Institute was founded in 1988 by conservative activists with the blessing of Barry Goldwater. It is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.[8] Victor Riches was named president and CEO on July 10, 2017. [9] Darcy A. Olsen previously served as the Institute's president, having joined Goldwater in 2001 as executive director.[10] The organization's board of directors includes Barry Goldwater, Jr.[4]

The Goldwater Institute is a proponent of increased educational choice through charter schools and school vouchers.[11][12] The organization has helped state lawmakers draft "right to try" laws, which allow terminally ill individuals to try experimental medications that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.[13]

Public interest litigationEdit

Senator Rand Paul speaking at the Goldwater Institute dinner in 2014.

The Goldwater Institute created the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation in June 2007. The center, previously directed by lawyer Clint Bolick, engages in lawsuits against federal, state, and local governmental bodies to advocate adherence to constitutional law and to protect individual rights, such as property rights and entrepreneurial freedom, from potential government intrusion.[4]

In Turken v. Gordon the Goldwater Institute sued the city of Phoenix over a $100 million corporate subsidy to the CityNorth development, which the Goldwater Institute argued was illegal under the Arizona Constitution.[14][15]

In another case, Preston v. Hallman, the Goldwater Institute successfully sued the city of Tempe, Arizona on behalf of a tattoo parlor owner whose permit to operate was denied by the city council though it complied with zoning laws.[16][17] In 2010, the Goldwater Institute successfully defended the right of voters to wear Tea Party T-shirts to the polls.[4]

In Tombstone v. United States, the Goldwater Institute sued on behalf of the City of Tombstone, Arizona, which had been denied permission to use machinery to repair its water lines in an environmentally sensitive area.[18][19]

In February 2015, the Goldwater Institute filed suit in Massachusetts, challenging the state’s century-old ban on corporate contributions to political candidates.[7]

In November 2017, the Institute threatened to sue on behalf of UCF Knights football kicker Donald De La Haye, who was earlier in the year kicked off the team for ineligibility.[20]


  1. ^ "Contact Us, Board of Directors". Goldwater Institute. 10 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Staff". Goldwater Institute. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Lacey, Marc (December 25, 2011). "A Watchdog for Conservative Ideals". New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Mission". Goldwater Institute. 
  6. ^ "The Art of Public Policy Philanthropy: Donors Go to Court | Philanthropic Freedom | The Philanthropy Roundtable". Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  7. ^ a b Scharfenberg, David (February 25, 2015). "State campaign finance law faces legal challenge". Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.  Also see "Quickview data" (PDF). GuideStar. 
  9. ^ "Darcy Olsen stepping down as Goldwater Institute CEO". Phoenix Business Journal. July 10, 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "The Goldwater Institute: 20 years later". Arizona Republic. September 28, 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Beard Rau, Alia; Schmidt, Karen (March 14, 2014). "Divisive school plan advances in Legislature". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Mitchell, Tia (July 31, 2014). "Parents, Goldwater Institute seek to intervene in voucher lawsuit". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Walters, Edgar (February 25, 2015). "Lawmakers Push "Right to Try" Experimental Drugs". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Olsen, Darcy (June 6, 2009). "Arizona's Landmark 'Bailout' Battle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Fenske, Sarah (January 25, 2010). "CityNorth Subsidy Sent Back to Court of Appeals". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Montini, Ed (May 19, 2009). "Tattoo parlor gets under skin of a stereotype". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Fischer, Howard (September 7, 2012). "Court ruling: 1st Amendment protects Mesa tattoo shop". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Poindexter, Joel (April 27, 2012). "Tombstone, Water, and the Bureaucrat Standing In Between". Tenth Amendment Center. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Nicholas, Samantha (December 28, 2012). "Federal Appeals Court Rejects Tombstone's Appeal". Tombstone News. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  20. ^

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