Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, will resign from his seat in the U.S. Senate to take over the Heritage Foundation, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal reports.
When you think about it, this is an amazing thing. Usually think tanks are where people hang around hoping to eventually influence a senator, get a law passed, or get a job in the government. Here you have someone who was actually a senator, part of the government, quitting to go work at a think tank.
Maybe he thinks he can be more influential as a think tank president than as a senator. Or maybe he's aware of a Washington secret, which is that the "permanent government" of interest-group executives is often better-compensated, and more powerful, than the actual government of elected officials. Mr. Feulner, according to the most recent tax return of Heritage, which is for 2010, earned total compensation of $1,098,612. The charity checked the box that indicated it provided executives with "personal services, e.g., maid, chauffeur, chef)." A U.S. senator earns, by contrast, a relatively paltry $174,000 a year. And while the Heritage president can live in the Washington area more or less full time, a senator has to commute back and forth to the state he or she represents, maintaining residences in both places (or sleeping on the office couch and showering in the gym in Washington).
Mr. DeMint's book Saving Freedom was reviewed here back in 2009.