Dec 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: New leader for conservative Hudson Institute

Incoming Hudson Institute President John Walters in shown.
John Walters. Courtesy photo.

The Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank that's been a center for political dialogue and forums for both Democrats and Republicans during the Trump era, has tapped its longtime COO John Walters as its new leader, Axios has learned.

The big picture: While left and center-left think tanks empty to help stock the incoming Biden administration, conservative groups are shuffling their leadership and welcoming back scholars and analysts who worked for President Trump.

Details: Walters, who was drug czar for President George W. Bush, has been serving as Hudson Institute's chief operating officer while also overseeing research and directing its substance abuse policy center. During the Bush administration his focus included countering narcoterrorism in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan.

  • Hudson's outgoing president and CEO Ken Weinstein will stay at Hudson as its Walter P. Stern distinguished fellow. He'd stepped down from day-to-day operations last spring in what turned out to be an ill-fated effort to become U.S. ambassador to Japan. His nomination was voted out of committee but never received a vote on the Senate floor.

Flashback: Weinstein is credited with nearly tripling the institute's annual budget, from $7.5m in 2005 to $20m in 2019, with an endowment of more than $60m.

  • “Ken turned Hudson into the policy powerhouse that it is today,” said Sarah May Stern, chair of Hudson's board of trustees. "Under John's leadership, Hudson will continue to build on all that has been accomplished through his shared efforts with Ken."
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