California Policy Center

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

The California Public Policy Center (formerly the California Public Policy Center) is a right-wing pressure group based in California. Founded in June 2010, it is a state affiliate of the $83 million right-wing State Policy Network (SPN), a web of state pressure groups that denote themselves as "think tanks" and drive a right-wing agenda in statehouses nationwide.[1] See SPN Members for more.

Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[2]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[3]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[4]

Core Financials

2015[5]

  • Total Revenue: $716,119
  • Total Expenses: $600,424
  • Net Assets: $222,826

2014[6]

  • Total Revenue: $346,890
  • Total Expenses: $274,905
  • Net Assets: $105,161

2013[7]

  • Total Revenue: $170,147
  • Total Expenses: $167,792
  • Net Assets: $33,176

2012[8]

  • Total Revenue: $36,797
  • Total Expenses: $27,241
  • Net Assets: $30,821

2011[9]

  • Total Revenue: $160,063
  • Total Expenses: $136,884
  • Net Assets: $-30,821

2010[10]

  • Total Revenue: $105,000
  • Total Expenses: $52,914
  • Net Assets: $52,086

Personnel

As of August 2016:[11]

Staff

  • Ed Ring, President
  • Will Swaim, Vice President of Communications
  • Buckley Morlot, Vice President of Development
  • Paul Olivett, Development Director
  • Scott Kaufman, Research Associate
  • Kevin Wen, Research Associate
  • Carl DeMaio, Senior Fellow-Fiscal Policy
  • Kevin Dayton, Policy Analyst
  • Marc Joffe, Policy Analyst
  • Chad Morgan, Legal Counsel
  • Craig Alexander, Legal Counsel

A list of "Contributors and Advisors" can be accessed here.

Former Staff

  • Jack Dean
  • John Dickerson
  • William Fletcher (former Senior Vice President, Rockwell International; formerly employed by Bechtel Corporation, McKinsey and Company, Inc., and Combustion Engineering’s Nuclear Power Division; formerly an officer and engineer in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear program)
  • Marcia Fritz (President and founding board member, California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility)
  • Gloria Romero (former California State Senator; State Director, Democrats for Education Reform)
  • Larry Sand (president, California Teachers Empowerment Network)

Board of Directors

  • Robert W. Loewen, Chairman
  • Mark W. Bucher, Chief Executive Officer
  • David L. Bahnsen, Board Director
  • John Kruger, Board Director
  • Jim Palmer, Board Director

Former Director

  • TJ Zane

Contact Details

California Policy Center
18002 Irvine Blvd.,Suite 108
Tustin, CA 92780
Phone: (714) 573-2201
Email: contact@calpolicycenter.org
Web: http://californiapolicycenter.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CalPolicyCenter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CalPolicyCenter/

Resources and Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. State Policy Network, Members, organizational website, accessed December 2013.
  2. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  3. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  4. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  5. California Public Policy Center, 2015 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, April 21, 2016.
  6. California Public Policy Center, 2014 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 29, 2015.
  7. California Public Policy Center, 2013 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, May 14, 2014.
  8. California Public Policy Center, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, May 19, 2013.
  9. California Public Policy Center, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, March 6, 2012.
  10. California Public Policy Center, 2010 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, May 11, 2011.
  11. California Policy Center, About Us, California Policy Center, 2016.