14 Influencers: A Thorn with a Smile

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Most dinners benefiting Washington think tanks feel staid compared with the Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual gala. The libertarian group might treat its supporters to e-cigarettes, free rides on Uber or T-shirts that sport the message, "Rachel was wrong," deriding the famed conservationist, Rachael Carson.

"This is a place where people have fun," Says the group's new president, Kent Lassman, who joined April 6 from the public relaitons outfit DCI Group.

The institute, which ahs been around for more than three decades and opeates on a $7 million annual budget, does a lot more than put on its annual dinner, though the shindig has helped CEI cultivate its brand as a hub for free-market policy and advocacy. Steering it is now Lassman's job.

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