Goodman v. NCPA

June 16

John Goodman, founder and president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, has split with the Dallas-based think tank, but it’s not yet clear what precipitated his departure. News of Goodman’s exit was first reported by National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru in a series of postscripts to a post critiquing Goodman’s assessment of GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby’s proposed Obamacare reforms.

* I called NCPA half an hour or so ago, and was told that its board had unanimously voted to dismiss Goodman because of “serious” misconduct. The NCPA spokesman did, however, kindly give me his cell-phone number, and if he returns the call to give his side of the story I’ll post it. This move was recent enough that both Wikipedia and Forbes still list him as the group’s president.

Update: Goodman called me back. “I’m afraid the NCPA is engaged in serious misconduct. But we are engaged in a legal struggle at the moment. . . . Pete duPont and I are leaving the NCPA. We’re going somewhere else.” Asked what the dispute was about, he said, “There was a fight on the board, we had board members threatening to sue each other, board members threatening to sue me, it’s been a whirlwind. These things happen.”​

Update 2: After talking to his lawyer, Goodman called back again to say, first, that the organization is now being run by a board that does not know how think tanks work and, second, that the underlying dispute involves illegal activities by NCPA “which I don’t want to get into right now.” So it sounds like the lawyers will be busy.

On Friday, NCPA put out one release, then another.  The first characterized Goodman’s departure as a “confidential” “personnel” matter. The second alleges “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty.”  Goodman, for his part, told the Dallas Morning News that his ouster was a “coup” and that NCPA has given a series of inconsistent explanations for terminating him. His lawyer says NCPA’s most recent allegations are defamatory and it appears Goodman will be pursuing legal action. In another report, Goodman claimed the NCPA board is “scared” and “grasping at straws” to justify his ouster.  To be continued.

Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.
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Eugene Volokh | June 16