Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions (BIPPS) is a conservative think tank which promotes itself as "an independent research and educational institution offering free-market solutions to Kentucky's most pressing problems." The institute was created and initially funded by Chris Derry, a businessman from Bowling Green, Kentucky. BIPPS is a member of the State Policy Network.
Research and Agenda
Using its website, BIPPS promotes the founding ideas of liberty, free markets, limited government and secure property rights as the basis for the future of public policy in Kentucky.
In many cases the credentials or experiential background of BIPPS content contributors is unknown; and some policy documents have been created by individuals with no direct experience in the field they are critiquing. The site promotes business oriented, anti-labor positions; politically the Institute claims neutrality but the content contributors overwhelming express Republican or Libertarian political interests and issues.
BIPPS begins all of its research clearly stating its "warranty of scholarship excellence": "The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions commits itself to delivering commentary and research on Kentucky issues with unquestionable quality and reliability. Thus we guarantee that the information we originate is true and accurate, and the sources from which we quote are accurately represented. We invite you to investigate our work and encourage you to report any material error, inaccuracy or misrepresentation you find. If you do, we will respond to your inquiry in writing. If we have made a mistake, we will prepare an errata sheet and attach it to all future distributions of the particular publication, which will be the complete and final resolution under this warranty." Any person or organization challenging the academic rigor of any of its publications can contact BIPPS at 270-782-2140.
The organization's website, as of November 2007, averages 1530 unique visitors monthly and focuses predominantly on a Kentucky based audience. The Institute acknowledges the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for assistance with the development of its website.
The largest print media outlet in the state, The Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) has described BIPPS as generally having a "libertarian anti-government negativism" and downgrades the reliability of its analysis in comparison to the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center. 
When asked to reveal the sources of funding, BIPPS reports, "We accept contributions from any individual, corporation or foundation on one condition: No one tells us what to say or write." It relies on the conditions of its 501(c)(3) IRS status as a non-profit corporation and the guarantee of anonymity to its donors as reasons for not revealing the sources of funding or its member lists. It does not solicit nor accept funding from any government entity. On its website BIPPS states that it is "supported through the generous contributions of our members. No government funds are accepted and no contract research is performed." In October 2007 The Courier Journal noted that "the group's spokesman wouldn't tell our reporters the sources of its income or size of its dues-paying membership."
BIPPS 2006 IRS return states that total revenue for the group that year was $356,827.  It also identifies BIPPS total income for earlier years as being $35,650 in 2003, $208,280 in 2004 and $277,865 in 2005.
Also in its 2006 IRS return, BIPPS president, Chris Derry, is listed as working 50 hours a week and was paid $59,999.  The report indicates that Derry's time is split 60/40% between fundraising and "management and general." BIPPS does not provide a complete staff list but its 2006 IRS return identifies $132,872 being spent on "salaries and wages of employees" in addition to that of Derry's. 
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions hosts writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
Franklin Center Funding
Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
The Bluegrass Institute sponsored model legislation that was supported by the ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force. According to a BIPPS press release from December 5, 2012, the model legislation, the so-called "Intrastate Coal and Use Act," will now go "to the ALEC board for final approval, following which it will officially be made available to states for adaptation to their individual needs."
Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
- Kathy Gornik, Board Chair
- Chris J. Derry, Founder
- Warren Rogers, Vice Chair
- Matth. Toebben
- Dawn Cloyd
- Tim Yessin
- Jim Waters, President
- Kelly Smith, Vice President of Strategic Partners
- Logan Morford, Vice President of Transparency
- Dick Innes, Education Analyst
- Phil Impellizzeri, Policy Coordinator
- Dr. John Garen, Chair, Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics, University of Kentucky
- Dr. Cathy Carey, Professor of Economics, Western Kentucky University
- Dr. Stephan Gohmann, BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise, University of Louisville
- Dr. Eric D. Schansberg, Professor of Economics, Indiana University Southwest
- Dr. Brian Strow, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Western Kentucky University
- Caleb O. Brown
- Total Revenue: $400,403
- Total Expenses: $374,062
- Net Assets: $212,718
- Total Revenue: $430,686
- Total Expenses: $422,875
- Net Assets: $196,526
BIPPS's first IRS return for 2003 listed Derry as the unpaid President and CEO and Morris L. Grubbs and Tommy Adams as directors. 
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
400 E. Main Avenue, Suite 306
P.O. Box 51147
Bowling Green, KY 42102
Phone: (270) 782-2140
Fax: (305) 675-0220
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters’ Guide to the "State Policy Network": the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Sara Jerving, ALEC and Heartland Aim to Crush Renewable Energy Standards in the States, PRWatch.org, November 27, 2012.
- Connor Gibson, Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: "Donors Trust" and "Donors Capital Fund", PRWatch.org, October 29, 2012.
- Brendan Fischer, Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2012.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 31, 2011.
- Center for Media and Democracy and Arizona Working Families, A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, March 14, 2013.
- Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Consider the Source, February 14, 2013.
- John R. Mashey, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax 2, DeSmog Blog report, updated October 23, 2012, p. 74.
- Andy Kroll, The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions, Mother Jones, April 25, 2011.
- Guidestar, State Policy Network, IRS filings and other organizational information about SPN.
- Center for Policy Alternatives, ALEC and the Extreme Right-Wing Agenda, organizational brochure about ALEC and SPN.
- John J. Miller, Fifty Flowers Bloom: Conservative think tanks — mini–Heritage Foundations — at the state level, National Review, November 19, 2007.
- Bridge Project, State Policy Network, online resource listing grants to SPN and SPN's connections to other groups.
- People for the American Way, State Policy Network, RightWingWatch.org, organizational resource.
- Greenpeace, Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group: State Policy Network (SPN), organizational resource.
- ↑ SiteAnalytics, BIPPS.org, accessed November 2007.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Just look at the facts", The Courier Journal editorial, October 27, 2007.
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute, "About Us: Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions", Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, accessed November 2007.
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Form 990 2006, BIPPS, June 2007, page 1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Form 990 2006, BIPPS, June 2007, page 4
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Form 990 2006, BIPPS, June 2007, page 17.
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Form 990 2006, BIPPS, June 2007, page 2.
- ↑ Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
- ↑ Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
- ↑ The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
- ↑ Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
- ↑ Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
- ↑ Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
- ↑ The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute News Alert, "BIPPS-supported ALEC model bill seeks to protect Kentucky coal from EPA overreach", organizational website, accessed December 2012
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
- ↑ Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.