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Lugar resigns from think tank board

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., has resigned from the advisory board of a think tank that his opponent in next year's Republican primary election called "functionally a branch of the Democratic Party."

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock criticized Lugar this week for being a member of the advisory board for Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. He said the board includes 13 people who are "powerful Democrats and liberal ideologues," including three who were high-ranking members of former President Bill Clinton's administration; the publisher of The Nation; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; and the brother of Howard Dean, who had sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

"This is an organization that is justifying wealth distribution through higher taxes and is glorifying the 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters," Mourdock said in a statement.

David Willkie, political director for Lugar's re-election campaign, said Lugar had quit the advisory board Thursday.

"He never really did anything with it," Willkie said. "It was a different organization when he signed on in 2008."

Willkie said later in an email the institute sought Lugar's participation "to broaden the political spectrum of the advisory board" but that Lugar has never participated in board meetings or activities.

The group's website says, "Founded in the wake of the 2004 election, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network was formed in order to strengthen the progressive movement by meaningfully engaging young people in politics."

The organization says it advocates, among other things, "decent" wages, hours and conditions for workers; easily accessible information; "inclusive communities founded on mutual respect, responsibility, and compassion"; and public spaces where diverse viewpoints can be expressed.

The New York-based Roosevelt Institute awarded a Freedom Medal to Lugar in 2007. Other recent winners have included Clinton; his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former South African president and apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela; and, collectively, World War II veterans.

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