Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire philanthropist and longtime champion of conservative causes, died Friday in his home. Scaife's passing was reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper he owned.
"He’s a man who has absolutely changed the course of this country several times," Glenn Beck said in a moving tribute to his friend back in May, after Scaife told him his health was not well. "I think he is the man who is responsible for Reagan. ... He knew this guy would be good. In his words, 'Not as good as he turned out,' but he knew he would be good in the 1960s."
In this Oct. 23, 1997, file photo, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, owner and publisher of the Tribune Review newspapers in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Pa., greets visitors as they enter the paper's new facility in Warrendale, Pa. during the dedication of the building. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
"His father helped bring down the Nazis and then made him promise at a very young age that he would help bring down the communists here in America," Beck continued. "His great-uncle was probably the most hated man by FDR, and one of the most maligned and hated men of the entire progressive movement, mainly because he was the architect of the roaring 20s."
Scaife helped fund conservative organizations across the country, including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and Judicial Watch, according to the New York Times. He was also a driving force behind former President Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998, spending millions on what some called a "moral crusade" against the Clintons.
“Dick Scaife was the epitome of a libertarian,” Scaife's attorney, H. Yale Gutnick, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He resented government intrusion into our lives while vigorously defending free speech, freedom of the press, the separation of church and state, a woman's right to choose, and other individual liberties.
“The liberty to give was at the top of his priority list, and he gave to his community in abundance,” Gutnick added.
Scaife, whose family made its fortunes in banking and oil, among other ventures, was meeting congressmen and senators at a young age. He was related to Andrew W. Mellon, the treasury secretary in the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover administrations.
Beck said Scaife "has met every president, good and bad, since FDR," and that it took him a while to realize that when Scaife "said names like Jack or Ron, he was talking about JFK and President Reagan."
You can watch Beck's complete tribute to Scaife below:
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