Richard Mellon Scaife, billionaire newspaper publisher, dies at 82

BY Talia Mindich  July 4, 2014 at 5:50 PM EDT

Richard Mellon Scaife, a philanthropist and newspaper publisher, who has been credited with reviving conservative politics in the U.S., died Friday morning. He was 82.

Scaife’s death was reported in his newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which recently reported that its owner had an untreatable form of cancer.

As heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortune, the notoriously reclusive Scaife spent hundreds of millions on libertarian and conservative causes like high-profile think tanks, foundations, and political campaigns.

In the 1990s, Scaife funded investigations seeking to prove the Clintons committed fraud and that Bill Clinton engaged in sexual misconduct. The accusations fueled by Scaife’s money were part of what Hillary Clinton described as “a vast right-wing conspiracy” in 1998. Scaife’s investigations lead to more than a dozen criminal convictions and contributed to President Clinton’s impeachment.

“I am not a politician, although like most Americans I have some political views,” Scaiffe wrote to the Washington Post in 1990. “Basically I am a private individual who has concerns about his country and who has the resources that give me the privilege and responsibility to do something to help my country if I can.”

Scaife was born July 3, 1932 in Oakland, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his daughter, son, and two grandchildren.