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Institute of Economic Affairs

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The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a Westminster-based think tank that has long boasted an ‘E’ rating ("No or negligible relevant information provided.") from WhoFundsYou and zero stars out of five from Transparify for funding transparency.[1] It officially holds charitable status, despite being proven to act as a front for offering political access to large American corporations.[2] It lost a legal battle over being labelled a "hard right lobby group" according to openDemocracy.[3]

The IEA operates under a franchise of hard-right think tanks called the State Policy Network. As an associate member of this network they receive money from GlaxoSmithKline and State Healthcare; the Seale Freedom Trust correspondingly flaunts its aim to ‘reduce public sector services in healthcare’, including repealing Medicare in the US. To please their sponsors, the American 'journalist' Kate Andrews goes on a lot of BBC political programmes to advocate privatising the National Health Service.[4]

It has taken financial donations from tobacco[5] and gambling[6] companies. In an undercover leak it was revealed that the IEA was involved in the "Brexit influencing game"[7], offering a service to get in touch with important political figures like Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Liam FoxWikipedia, Steve Baker (politician)Wikipedia and David Davis (British politician)Wikipedia in addition to including the shaping of research, for example, it could help US chicken and cattle farmers sell chlorine soaked chicken and beef to the UK. This would help sell salmonella to the UK public[8], on the other hand, it would be profitable. Liam Fox was also being funded by Pfizer during the time of Atlantic Bridge and being David Cameron's aide[9], further inspection of the IEA's associations reveals a web of conservative lobbying.

Connections to other think-tanks and notable persons[edit]

The Hintze Family Charitable Donation, which Michael HintzeWikipedia is a trustee of, donated £100,000 to the IEA according to a (now dead) link to a report by the guardian from the charity commission[10], another report from them indicates donations of up to £50,000 In 2016.[11] Michael Hintze is a large donor to many conservative causes, and even seems to have privately dined with David Cameron in the past, he is linked to Liam Fox[12], who set up a dodgy charity that the charity commission striked off called The Atlantic BridgeWikipedia which was also founded by Margaret Thatcher. He is also linked to David Henderson who was academic advisor chairman of Global Warming Policy FoundationWikipedia, a climate denial charity that has come under scrutiny over its non-transparency around its financial donors and received donations from Hintze.[13] Henderson was responsible for articles like "Misguided Virtue: False Notions of Corporate Social Responsibility".[14]

GWPF Recently rebranded itself possibly to avoid easily being called out by getting a name change to NZW (Net Zero Watch).[15] Steve Baker happens to be a trustee of the think tank, showing us that he and Hintze seem to be good chums.

Its interests also sometimes align with the Adam Smith InstituteWikipedia, which has also been around and was a major ally for Margeret Thatcher for privitization. It also seems to want you to buy chlorine washed chicken.[16] It is worth noting that this think tank also had issues with the charity commission when it was offering lunches to get interviews with political figures[7]. In fact, the Adam Smith Institute is part of the Atlas NetworkWikipedia[note 1], the IEA also is in that group, with another controversial think tank called the Legatum InstituteWikipedia[17], this one was also grilled by the charity commission for not remaining politically impartial as a charity.[18]


Despite its funding being notoriously opaque, there is some information regarding it. A review of the IEA's funding tells us about some of its donors were from 1996 to 2013.[19] Among this group is the Cato Institute, and other Kochtopus fronts. Naturally, it is supportive of tobacco companies, given that they have been quite charitable to the institute.[20] Being that it received funding from BP oil[21], it is no wonder that it also engaged in climate denialism.[22]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Funnily enough, the wikipedia page itself says that the name of the Atlas Network is not in fact a reference to Ayn Rand.


  1. Who Funds You?
  2. Rightwing UK thinktank 'offered ministerial access' to potential US donors, Robert Booth
  4. Dissecting the IEA: the think tank committed to privatising and Americanising the NHS, Ruairi Wood
  7. 7.0 7.1