The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a public policy [[think tank]] based in Washington, D.C. Established in 1938, it is one of the oldest and most influential think tanks in the United States. AEI is primarily known for its [[conservative]] and free-market-oriented policy research and advocacy. AEI's mission is to defend the principles of [[free markets]], limited government, individual liberty, and a strong national defense, which it believes are the foundations of American prosperity. To achieve its goals, the organization conducts research, publishes articles and reports, and hosts events featuring experts and policymakers. The institute is organized into various policy research divisions, focusing on areas such as [economics](, foreign and defense policy, health care, education, and energy and environmental policy. Researchers at AEI provide analysis and recommendations on a wide range of issues, and their work often informs public policy debates in the United States. ## AEI oligarch donors AEI is a non-profit organization and primarily relies on contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund its operations. It claims to maintain a commitment to intellectual independence, although critics note that the majority of the organization's funding tends to come from the [right-wing]( side of the spectrum. Notable wealthy conservative donors through the years have included [[Charles Koch]], David Koch before his death in 2019, [[Richard Mellon Scaife]], [[Harlan Crow]] (who currently sits on AEI's board), and [[Lynde and Harry Bradley]]. Over the years, AEI has been associated with many prominent conservative scholars and policymakers, including Irving Kristol, Charles Murray, and Arthur C. Brooks. The institute's research and policy proposals have had a significant impact on American public policy, particularly during periods of [Republican]( political dominance.