Richard Mellon Scaife

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Richard Mellon Scaife (1932 - 2014) was a nephew of Andrew W. Mellon and billionaire heir to the Mellon family fortune made on oil, banking, and aluminum businesses. He was the chief financier behind the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" that spent most of the 1990s trying (and failing) to get Bill Clinton out of the White House. A number of conspiracy theories surround Scaife, and he himself was given to whacked-out conspiracy theories.

In the 1960s and '70s, he donated to the campaigns of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon (some of the money for which ended up in a Watergate slush fund) and helped co-found the Heritage Foundation.

During the 1990s, he bankrolled a number of organizations and news outlets that attempted to dig up dirt on Clinton, including Accuracy in Media, American Spectator, Christopher Ruddy of Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (who ironically gave Clinton a positive review in a 2007 article[1]) and Judicial Watch, which filed a number of lawsuits against Clinton. These groups pushed a number of Clinton conspiracy theories, mostly surrounding the death of Vince Foster and allegations that Clinton had run a drug smuggling ring in Arkansas in collaboration with the CIA. A common moonbat conspiracy is that Scaife had intimate ties to Kenneth Starr and the two orchestrated the vast right-wing conspiracy in a smoke-filled room somewhere.[2] Another moonbat conspiracy is that Scaife put a hit on Steve Kangas, a Las Vegas-based investor in gambling operations and proprietor of a website called "Liberalism Resurgent" (which contained anti-Scaife material), who committed suicide in 1999.[3]

Scaife himself had an interest in intelligence operations and was prone to seeing "Reds under the bed" and some of his outlets like Accuracy in Media push Bircher-esque conspiracy theories about socialist and United Nations takeovers of the US. They are also big backers of global warming conspiracy theories and denialism.

In a notable exception to his usual nutty politics, he was pro-choice and donated to Planned Parenthood, as well as to the Reason Foundation, which advocates against the War on Drugs.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • Burnett, Thom. Conspiracy Encyclopedia. pp. 128-130 [1]
  • Knight, Peter (ed.) Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. pp. 645-646 [2]


  1. Bill Clinton Gives Interview to Former Foe, New York Times
  2. Starr did in fact belong to a couple of Scaife-funded organizations including the Washington Legal Foundation, but there is no evidence the two met to work together against Clinton. In addition, it was Starr's investigation that ruled Foster's death a suicide while Scaife-backed propaganda organs continued to push the conspiracy theories.
  3. Death Sparks Conspiracy Theory, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette