January 18, 2012
Brian McClung: 612-965-2729

Two leading conservative think tanks to combine forces
Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Free Market Institute
will focus on building a culture of prosperity

Minneapolis, MN — Two influential Minnesota-based conservative public policy organizations – Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Free Market Institute – today announced they are joining forces to form one new organization.

The announcement was made jointly by Center of the American Experiment Chairman Chuck Spevacek and President Mitch Pearlstein, and Minnesota Free Market Institute Chairman Tom Kelly and President Kim Crockett.

The new organization will continue to be known as Center of the American Experiment (CAE). Pearlstein, who founded CAE in 1990, will continue serving as President of the combined organization. Crockett will serve as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel.

Pearlstein and Crockett said the new organization will combine the strengths of CAE, Minnesota’s first conservative public policy institution, with the economic focus of Minnesota Free Market Institute. The new organization’s mission will be “building a culture of prosperity.”

“For 22 years, Center of the American Experiment has served as the preeminent Minnesota voice championing conservative and free market solutions,” Chuck Spevacek said. “The Minnesota Free Market Institute has more recently emerged as one of the most creative, dynamic and innovative champions of the same ideals. Working together, Mitch Pearlstein and Kim Crockett, along with their colleagues Katherine Kersten, Peter Nelson, John LaPlante and others, will accomplish great things.”

“This is a great opportunity for Minnesotans interested in moving our state and nation in a positive direction,” Tom Kelly said. “Both organizations have been working for similar objectives and by combining we will make the most of the strengths of both. If ever there was a situation where 1+1=3, this is it.”

“In early 2011, I approached Kim Crockett about joining forces for a variety of reasons,” Mitch Pearlstein said. “One of the primary ones was ensuring the financial strength of our organizations in an increasingly crowded marketplace. I’m exceedingly pleased with our new institution as it will expand and strengthen our capacity to work with policymakers in transforming our ideas and innovations into effective results. I also assure that Center of the American Experiment will remain the intellectually serious, provocative, and civil institution it has been for more than two decades.”

“There is an urgent need to break the bad habits that undermine a vibrant culture and dynamic economy,” Kim Crockett said. “Unfortunately we have strayed from the successful moorings of individual responsibility, free markets and a limited, frugal government. Our new organization’s reinforced purpose is reminding Minnesotans about what works, as well as challenging policies and regulations that are choking vibrancy and growth.”

Keith Kostuch, a CAE director who led the effort to combine the organizations said, “We hope the prospect of a stronger voice for conservative and free market ideas and principles in Minnesota excites current supporters of the two organizations. Given the current economic and political environment, we also expect it to attract new supporters. Ideas do have consequences and we expect the ideas and accompanying actions coming out of the new Center of the American Experiment to strengthen economic prosperity – starting with its cultural and social underpinnings – in Minnesota and beyond.”