NGO Watch was a right-wing lobby group launched in June 2003 (defunct as of 2007) by the American Enterprise Institute and Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies that lobbies to diminish government support for NGOs.
As of March 2009 its old website, www.ngowatch.org, is redirected to www.globalgovernancewatch.org. The organization called Global Governance Watch appears from the website to be a second incarnation of NGO Watch.
Right Wing Connections
To coincide with the launch of NGO Watch, the AEI co-hosted a conference called "We're Not from the Government, But We're Here to Help You - Nongovernmental Organizations: The Growing Power of an Unelected Few" with the right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia.
The list of speakers shows some of the interconnections of key individuals working against the environmental movement and other progressive NGOs across the globe. Speakers from other right-wing think tanks included:
- John Fonte - Hudson Institute
- Gary Johns and Mike Nahan - Institute of Public Affairs
- Fred Smith, - Competitive Enterprise Institute
- David Riggs - Capital Research Center that runs www.greenwatch.
The conference and IPA's activities are obviously having an effect. In September 2003, the Christian Science Monitor reported how "Spurred by conservative rumblings over the growing clout of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Australian government is taking a closer look at such groups' activities at home and abroad". The article noted how the investigation "could potentially cut off some charities from further government access, funding, or tax breaks, experts say".
The month before, in July 2003, the Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello released draft legislation threatening to remove tax exemption status from NGOs if they were deemed to be more involved in political lobbying and advocacy than in community work. It was a move widely condemned as a bid by the Government to silence its most strident critics.
The result is that suddenly the two primary sources of funding for NGOs - tax deductible donations and government grants or payments for carrying out consultative work - are under simultaneous attack.
- NGOWatch - Mission Statement
- J. Kremmer (2003) "Australia Scrutinizes Influence of Nongovernmental Groups", Christian Science Monitor, 5 September, p7
- Brendan Nicholson and Gary Hughes, "Attack on covert project for IPA", The Age, August 10, 2003