Cascade Policy Institute
Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
The Cascade Policy Institute is an Oregon-based think tank and member of the State Policy Network (SPN). It was co-founded by Tracie Sharp, who as of August 2016 was the President and CEO of SPN. Cascade states as its mission "to develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity."
|Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives|
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.
- 1 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 2 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 3 Criticism
- 4 News and Controversies
- 5 Funding
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 Articles and Resources
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
The Cascade Policy Institute has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through their former vice president, Todd Wynn, who in 2012 was the director of the ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.
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.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Cascade Policy Institute has hosted 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.
At least one Cascade Policy Institute critic points out that the particular formulations of "individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity" promoted by the institute are similar or identical to agendas commonly favored among large business interests and wealthy individuals. Also noted is the apparent irony of how notions like "free markets and limited government," as promoted by organizations like Cascade Policy Institute, often translate into support for "billions in pork-ridden expenditure, insurance mandates, heavy-handed central planning initiatives, property seizures..., metastatic bureaucracy at local, state and federal levels and massive expansions in law enforcement."
News and Controversies
Opposed Tobacco Taxes in Oregon
According to an article written by Lee Fang for The Nation Institute, when Tracie Sharp worked at CPI they "corresponded with Philip Morris's state lobbyist in Salem on promoting opposition to tobacco taxes." CPI also published an article by a doctor which stated that tobacco taxes could result in "drive-by shootings and mob-style assassinations — turf wars — over the control of black market cigarette sales."
Produced Climate Change-Denying "Documentary"
In 2009 CPI released a film called "Climate Chains." The film features commentators almost exclusively from Koch and SPN-affiliated groups including the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The primary message of the video is to denounce prospective cap-and-trade legislation and promote deregulation. The commentators and narrator insist that climate change is both a conspiracy and an "eco-fad." The narrator states that "Although carbon dioxide is not an actual pollutant, doesn’t cause any negative human health effects, and is an essential element of life, Congress is poised to pass misguided and imprudent legislation that will stifle economic recovery and destroy personal freedoms."
From 2010-2014, the Cascade Policy Institute received $570,000 from Donors Capital Fund and $7,500 from DonorsTrust. In its 2006 annual report, the Cato Institute contributed $25,000 to the Cascade Policy Institute. The Searle Freedom Trust gave $30,000 directly to CPI in 2004.
- Total Revenue: $555,489
- Total Expenses: $542,827
- Net Assets: $457,240
- Total Revenue: $622,288
- Total Expenses: $591,571
- Net Assets: $444,578
- Total Revenue: $591,483
- Total Expenses: $610,929
- Net Assets: $413,861
- Total Revenue: $687,838
- Total Expenses: $696,969
- Net Assets: $433,307
- Total Revenue: $943,525
- Total Expenses: $984,233
- Net Assets: $442,438
- Total Revenue: $988,404
- Total Expenses: $976,227
- Net Assets: $483,146
- Total Revenue: $912,019
- Total Expenses: $981,683
- Net Assets: $470,969
Board of Directors
As of August 2016:
- John A. Charles, Jr., President and CEO
- William B. Conerly, Ph.D., Board Chair (also a Senior Fellow at the Koch & ALEC-affiliated National Center for Policy Analysis)
- Michael L. Barton, Ph.D.
- Manuel Castañeda
- Lawrence “Larry” W. Dennis, Sr.
- Gilion Dumas
- Jon Egge (currently on the Oregon Leadership Advisory Council of the National Federation of Independent Business)
- David W. Gore
- Pamela Morris (degree holder from the Antonin Scalia School of Law of George Mason University)
- William Udy, Finance Director
As of August 2016:
- Steve Buckstein, Senior Policy Analyst
- Kathryn Hickok, Publications Director and Development Coordinator
- Tracie Sharp, former Executive Director and Co-Founder (also President and CEO of SPN as of August 2016)
- Todd Wynn, former Vice President (and former Director of ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force)
- Tina Pisenti, former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
- Sarah Ross, former Communications Coordinator
Cascade Policy Institute
4850 SW Scholls Ferry Road
Portland, Oregon 97225
Phone: (503) 242-0900
Fax: (503) 242-3822
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
- Brendan Fischer, Why Are the Franklin Center's "Wisconsin Reporter" and "Watchdog.org" Attacking the John Doe?, PRWatch.org, December 19, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship with Big Tobacco, PRWatch.org, December 16, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Did ALEC Found SPN? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda, PRWatch.org, December 12, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Tracie Sharp: Bursar of Mystery Money and "IKEA Model" Materials to Stink Tanks, PRWatch.org, November 19, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, Reports Expose Extreme Pressure Groups Masquerading as Think Tanks, press release, November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- DeSmog Blog, Stink Tanks: Historical Records Reveal State Policy Network Was Created by ALEC, December 9, 2013.
- The Guardian, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, December 5, 2013.
- Portland Press Herald, "Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes," December 5, 2013.
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- Media Matters, North Carolina Newspapers Largely Ignore Conservative Funding Of Sham Think Tanks, December 3, 2013.
- Shepherd Express, Masters of Manipulation: Right-wing Billionaires, Corporations and the Bradley Foundation Pay for Junk Studies that Prop up Their Agenda, November 27, 2013.
- "Moyers & Company," How a Shadowy Network of Corporate Front Groups Distorts the Marketplace of Ideas, November 19, 2013.
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- Free Speech TV "Ring of Fire," Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T and Others Supporting Right Wing Propaganda Machine, November 18, 2013.
- Topeka Capital-Journal, Trabert dismisses report tying KPI to Koch agenda, November 16, 2013.
- The New Yorker (Jane Mayer), Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, November 15, 2013.
- Salon, Ted Cruz and Koch brothers embroiled in shadowy Tea Party scheme, November 15, 2013.
- St. Louis Business Journal, Beyond Sinquefield: Who else is funding the Show-Me Institute?, November 15, 2013.
- The Guardian, Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds, November 14, 2013.
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- CBS St. Louis, Show-Me Institute’s Ties Questioned in New Report, November 14, 2013.
- Talking Points Memo, Florida Conservative Group Helping Muck Up Obamacare In Alaska, November 14, 2013.
- Mint Press News, Reports Reveal SPN’s Secret Corporate Agenda Through Use ‘Expert’ Testimony, November 14, 2013.
- Media Matters, Shadowy Right-Wing Group Generates Media Coverage For Conservative Policy From Coast To Coast, November 14, 2013.
- The Institute for Southern Studies, Are conservative think tanks breaking lobbying laws?, November 14, 2013.
- Nonprofit Quarterly, Corporate Money in Network of Right-Wing State Policy Think Tanks, November 14, 2013.
- The Progressive, Right-Wing Think Tanks Push Privatization in the States, November 13, 2013.
- Politico, Report: Think tanks tied to Kochs, November 13, 2013.
- Lawrence Journal-World, Reports released by progressive groups are critical of Kansas Policy Institute, November 13, 2013.
- Maine Insights, Report: Maine Heritage Policy Center’s funding connection to Koch Brothers, November 13, 2013.
- The Florida Current, Liberal groups bemoan lobbying by conservative think tanks, November 13, 2013.
- The Oregonian, Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently, November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- Arizona Working Families and CMD, A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Progress Florida and CMD, Lawmaking Under the Influence of Very Special Interests: Understand the role of Florida ‘think tanks’ in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Maine's Majority Education Fund, Fooling Maine: How national conservative groups infiltrated Maine politics by founding and funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Michigan, Who's Running Michigan? The Far-Right Influence of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Who's in Charge: How Nationalized Corporate-Run Think Tanks Influence Minnesota Politics, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Missouri, What Missourians Need to Know About the Show-Me Institute, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Granite State Progress, Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
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- Keystone Progress, Think tanks or corporate lobbyist propaganda mills?, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Texas, TPPF + ALEC, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- One Wisconsin Now, S is for Shill: Inside the Bradley Foundation's Attack on Public Education, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Pence and Right-Wing Are Taking Over Public Education, November 13, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Shawn Vestal: Idaho Freedom Foundation pushes limits of word ‘charity’, November 2, 2013.
- AZ Central, When this ‘watchdog’ pitches, taxpayers strike out, October 12, 2013.
- IndyStar, Daniels says speech to partisan group was a mistake, October 10, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Indiana Policy Review: Not an Independent News Source, October 2, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Idaho Freedom Foundation's charitable status scrutinized, September 15, 2013.
- CounterSpin, Lee Fang on 'The Right Leans In', April 5, 2013.
- FireDogLake, State Policy Network, an umbrella coordinating ALEC, Heritage, Heartland and others, April 4, 2013.
- Thom Hartmann with Lee Fang on MSNBC, The conservative State Policy Network is sneaking into your state & will change America, March 29, 2013.
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- Democracy Now, Donors Trust: Little-Known Group Helps Wealthy Backers Fund Right-Wing Agenda in Secret, February 19, 2013.
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- Rome News-Tribune, ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas, October 2012.
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