Concord Coalition

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Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

The Concord Coalition a 501(c)(3) non-profit that describes itself as "a non-partisan, grassroots organization."[1] It is devoted to inciting fear of federal budget deficits and slashing earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare. According to the organization, "The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late former Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA), former Senator Warren Bruce Rudman (R-NH), and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson. Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) was named a co-chair of the Concord Coalition in January 2002."[2] The organization is a partner in Pete Peterson's Fix the Debt Campaign.

Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

The Concord Coalition is a partner organization in the Fix the Debt Campaign.[3] It specializes in taking the fiscal austerity message outside the beltway with costly tours and town hall meetings.

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.


Activities with "Fix the Debt"

On January 28, 2013, the Concord Coalition announced that it is partnering with Fix the Debt on a series of public forums. According to the Concord Coalition's website, "This joint project will focus its efforts on ten programs in six states: Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee."[4] All of the states the programs are featured in, with the exception of Tennessee, were swing states in the 2012 presidential election.[5] This tracks with what Fortune characterized as the "next stage" for Fix the Debt and its partner organizations: "Up to this point, Fix the Debt's ad campaigns have been largely Washington-focused, combined with a heavy dose of CEO-lobbying. The next phase, Romano says, is national outreach. The campaign increasingly resembles a presidential race, with grassroots-style organizing and offices in places like New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida and Michigan."[6]

The first Concord Coalition forum on January 29, 2013 featured Timothy Pagliara, founder of Enact the Plan, a group created explicitly to promote support for the Simpson-Bowles Plan[7] (see below for more).

Similarly in 2010, the organization engaged in a "Fiscal Solutions Tour," which was launched on September 28, 2010 prior to the conclusion of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Had the commission succeeded in advancing a bill to Congress, the tour could have been the deficit hawks' main vehicle for rallying grassroots support to a Simpson-Bowles austerity bill. Economist James K. Galbraith called the tour "the latest Peter G. Peterson Foundation effort to rouse the public against deficits and the national debt -- and in particular (though they manage to avoid saying so) to win support for measures that would impose drastic cuts on Social Security and Medicare."[8]

The tour was conducted with support from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and included the following primary speakers: Robert Brixby of the Concord Coalition,[9] Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the CRFB,[10] William Novelli (former CEO of the AARP),[11] Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institute,[12] and former Peterson Foundation Director and founder of the Comeback America Initiative David M. Walker.[13] The tour visited Iowa three times, as well as California, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Texas and Georgia (see below for more).

Peter G. Peterson is a co-founder of the Concord Coalition.[14] According to the Huffington Post, the Concord Coaliton is Peter Peterson's "original vehicle for deficit reduction activities."[15]

Funding

The Concord Coalition received $6,036,060 (including $1,500,000 in matching funds) from the Peterson Foundation from 2009 to 2012:[16]

Fiscal Year 2012[17]

  • $57,5000 to support the 2012 Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Internship Program
  • $750,000 in general operating support
    • plus $500,000 matching

Fiscal Year 2011[17]

  • $47,000 to support the 2011 Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Internship Program
  • $1,000,000 in general operating support
    • plus $500,000 matching
  • $75,000 to support the Fiscal Solutions Tour
  • $60,000 to support the creation of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Fiscal Internship Program

Fiscal Year 2010[17]

  • $1,000,000 general operating support
    • plus $500,000 matching
  • $46,560 to support the Youth Action Conference

Fiscal Year 2009[17]

  • $,500,000 to support the Fiscal Wake Up Tour

Personnel Ties

Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Timothy Penny, William H. Gray, John P. White, Charles Walter, Donald Marron, Charles Bowsher, Paul Allaire, Maya MacGuineas, Sam Nunn, Bob Kerrey, Warren Rudman, Timothy C. Collins, Charles Robb, James E. Burke, Daniel Yankelovich, Ed Lorenzen, Eugene Freedman, John G. Turner, and Paul Tsongas all have known ties to Peter Peterson.[18]

Activities

"Solving the Debt Crisis" Tour

In January of 2013, the Concord Coalition announced that it is partnering with Fix the Debt on a series of public forums. According to the Concord Coalition's website, "This joint project will focus its efforts on ten programs in six states: Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee."[19] All of the states the programs are featured in, with the exception of Tennessee, were swing states in the 2012 presidential election.[20] The first forum on January 29, 2013 featured Timothy Pagliara, founder of Enact the Plan, a group created explicitly to promote support for the Simpson-Bowles Commission.[21]

"Fiscal Solutions" Tour

The Fiscal Solutions tour, according to the Concord Coalition, "is designed to help Americans think constructively about how to build a stronger economic future by meeting the challenges of unsustainable budget policies, spiraling debt, low savings rates, dangerous reliance on foreign lenders, and the growing needs of an aging population."[22] The tour was conducted with support from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and included the following primary speakers: Concord Coalition's Robert Brixby, Comeback America Initiative's Douglas Holtz-Eakin, William Novelli, the Brookings Institution's Isabel Sawhill, and then-Peterson Foundation Director David M. Walker. It visited California, Iowa (three stops), Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Texas, Illinois, and Georgia.[23]

"Fiscal Wake-Up" Tour

The Fiscal Wake-Up tour began in 2005 and was a joint initiative by the Concord Coalition, the Budgeting for National Priorities Project, the Brookings Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and David M. Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.[24] Much like the Fiscal Solutions tour, the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour was intended to educate its audience with a fiscally conservative point of view, emphasizing that reducing the debt is not only an economic issue, but a moral one.[24]

Personnel

Board of Directors

  • Warren Bruce Rudman, Co-Chairman
  • Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman
  • Paul E. Tsongas (1941-1997)
  • Peter G. Peterson, Co-founder
  • Charles A. Bowsher, Secretary-Treasurer/Budget Chairman
  • Eugene M. Freedman, Finance Chairman
  • Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director[25]

Vice Chairs:[26]

Contact Details

1011 Arlington Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: 703-894-6222
Fax: 703-894-6231
Email: concordcoalition AT concordcoalition.org
Web: http://concordcoalition.org

Resources and Articles

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

Other Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources

External Articles

References

  1. Concord Coalition, "Mission Statement," organizational website, accessed January 16, 2013.
  2. Concord Coalition, Concord Coalition, organizational website, accessed 2003.
  3. "Partners", Fix the Debt, Accessed January 25, 2013.
  4. Concord Coalition, Concord Is Partnering With Fix the Debt on Public Forums, organizational statement, January 28, 2013.
  5. 2012 Swing States, Politico, update December 24, 2012, accessed January 2013.
  6. Anne VanderMey, Fix the Debt isn't going anywhere, Fortune, January 30, 2013.
  7. Enact the Plan, Executive Summary, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  8. James K. Galbraith, What I learned from hanging out with deficit hawks, Salon, February 11, 2011.
  9. Concord Coalition, Bob Brixby, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  10. CRFB, Douglas Holtz-Eakin Joins the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, organizational statement, January 4, 2006.
  11. Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, William D. Novelli, university faculty profile, accessed January 2013.
  12. Brookings Institute, Isabel Sawhill, organizational personnel profile, accessed January 2013.
  13. Comeback America Initiative, Our Staff, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  14. "About the Concord Coalition", Concord Coalition, Accessed January 18, 2013.
  15. Paul Blumenthal, Christina Wilkie"Fix The Debt Campaign's Bipartisan Veneer Masks Conservative Backing", Huffington Post, December 3, 2012.
  16. Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Concord Coalition Corporation, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 "Concord Coalition Corporation", Peter G. Peterson Foundation, August 1, 2012.
  18. "Peter G Peterson Interlocks: People in Common Orgs" LittleSis, Accessed January 17, 2012.
  19. Concord Coalition, Concord Is Partnering With Fix the Debt on Public Forums, organizational website, January 28, 2013.
  20. 2012 Swing States, Politico, updated December 24, 2012, accessed January 2013.
  21. Enact the Plan, Citizens for Enacting The Simpson-Bowles Plan Executive Summary, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  22. "Fiscal Solutions Tour", Concord Coalition, Accessed January 18, 2012.
  23. Concord Coalition, Fiscal Solutions Tour, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "About the Tour", The Concord Coalition, Accessed January 18, 2013.
  25. Concord Coalition, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed February 2013.
  26. Concord Coalition, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed February 2013.