The total cost of the Heritage Foundation's four training sessions for political appointees is $800. An incorrect figure was reported Saturday.
The Heritage Foundation has invited top Reagan administration officials to learn how to avoid being "captured" by the federal bureaucracy -- a lesson that may be taught at government expense.
Each of four training sessions next month carries an $800 entrance fee, and the conservative research group has suggested that its guests send the bills to the government agencies they will be learning to manage.
The foundation, which enjoys an unusual degree of influence with the administration and has provided a home for many of its former officials, has mailed invitations to about 400 senior political appointees.
"The administration has expressed a continuing concern about the need for training for political appointees," the letter said.
"In keeping with this, the Heritage Foundation is sponsoring a training program for new and current political appointees within the administration . . . to enhance effectiveness in promoting the president's agenda over the next four years."
The letter also offered advice on how to pay the bill. "Please contact your training office as soon as possible to ensure your prompt registration," it said. " . . . Please make agency vouchers payable to the Washington International Studies Center," a nonprofit group that is cosponsoring the conference.
The February meetings will examine such topics as how to "formulate a political agenda," "political control over financial questions," "the need to form networks," "the role of the political executive in the regulatory process" and "the interaction of political appointees with the career bureaucracy."
One session will focus on "the process of 'capture,' whereby political appointees are converted into proponents of the interests of their own bureaucracies and begin to work against the philosophy of the president."
One regulatory official who received an invitation found some irony in the financing arrangement. "Here the course is designed to avoid capture by the bureaucracy, and the whole thing is based on a presumption that the bureaucracy will pay for it," the official said.
But Heritage Vice President Phil Truluck said the conference is similar to previous training programs financed by the federal government. "Each agency has a certain amount of money for management training programs," he said.
Truluck said the $3,200 fee for the four sessions is a legitimate expense because such training "makes the whole system work better."
The courses grew out of a series of briefings that Heritage held for top administration officials on its new policy blueprint, "Mandate for Leadership II," Truluck said.
"We had a lot of interest from numerous people that maybe we should turn it into some kind of training program," he said. "It's not something Heritage normally does, but we're going to give it a stab. The market will determine whether there's enough interest to continue it."
Conference speakers will include Office of Personnel Management Director Donald J. Devine, former presidential aide Morton C. Blackwell, former assistant treasury secretary Paul Craig Roberts, White House assistant Robert W. Sweet and former Office of Management and Budget official Christopher C. DeMuth.
Devine said yesterday that the administration, the Brookings Institution and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government have sponsored similar conferences at government expense, some of them exclusively for political appointees.
"They go on all the time in the government," he said. "We have to train political executives so they know how to deal with this environment."
Devine said he planned to balance "the rough edges" of the Heritage presentation by stressing "the real interactive nature of the relationship" between political and career officials.