- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conservative pioneer Howard Phillips, founder of the Conservative Caucus 35 years ago, was being honored Wednesday evening by Texas GOP Rep. Ron Paul, fundraisers Richard Viguerie and Richard Norman, and other top conservative figures at a gala celebration at an Arlington hotel.

Mr. Phillips became a household name among conservatives in the 1970s and 1980s for spearheading a national movement to defund the left — barring the federal government from using taxpayer money to subsidize what he called left-wing activist organizations.

Educated at Harvard, Mr. Phillips came to Washington as a moderate Republican to head the federal Office of Economic Opportunity under President Nixon, but quickly became disillusioned with moderate Republicanism and eventually broke with the GOP altogether.

He resigned his post when Mr. Nixon failed to kill funding for President Johnson’s Great Society programs and he then formed the nonpartisan Conservative Caucus.

“In a town where very few are guided by principle, Howard has always followed principle over personal gain or political power,” Mr. Norman told The Washington Times. “It absolutely cost him dearly — politically and otherwise. He could have gone far with his ties to Nixon administration and Harvard — could have become a wealthy and influential lobbyist.”

Under his leadership, the Conservative Caucus has opposed both Democratic and Republican policies and initiatives including the Panama Canal treaty, arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union and the NAFTA and World Trade Organization trade pacts. Mr. Phillips also was a major backer of California’s Proposition 187 in 1994 to stop state benefits from taxpayers to illegal immigrants.

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