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 Independence Institute's "Center for the American Dream" opposes zoning in cities, and argues against Colorado's rail public transit initiative called "Fastracks," saying that "rail transit reduces the livability of every urban area in which it is found."
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Independence 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.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
The Independence Institute has ties to ALEC through membership in "task forces." Barry Poulson, a senior fellow at the institute's Fiscal Policy Center, is an advisor to ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. Mr. Poulson participates in the Public Pension Reform Working Group. He gave a report on their behalf to the task force at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
Another senior fellow, Rob Natelson, is member of the International Relations Task Force. He is listed as an "advisor" to the Federal Relations Working Group on the agenda from the ALEC Nation and State Policy Summit in 2010, where he spoke about convening an Article 5 convention . At ALEC's 38th Annual Meeting in 2011, Natelson gave another presentation to the Federal Relations Working Group titled "Where’s the Line? How States Protect the Constitution," along with Representative Ken Ivory (UT).
Ben DeGrow, a public policy analyst at the Independence Institute, represents the think tank on on ALEC's Education Task Force. He sponsored amendments to ALEC’s “Open Enrollment Act” and gave a presentation entitled “Collective Bargaining Transparency” at the 2010 States and Nation Policy Summit.
The institute also has ties to ALEC through its membership with the State Policy Network which itself is a member of ALEC.
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.
The Independence Institute is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of the IRS filings of those foundations.
Partial List of 1995-2011 Funders
According to the American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, the Independence Institute was funded by the following major foundations:
- Donors Capital Fund: $1,525,000 (2005-20110
- Jaquelin Hume Foundation: $487,911 (2000-2011)
- The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $715,000 (2004-2011)
- William H. Donner Foundation: $258,000 (1998-2011)
- The Roe Foundation: $262,500 (1998-2011)
- DonorsTrust: $202,000 (2010-2011)
- State Policy Network: $122,113.18 (2002-2011)
- Windway Foundation: $5,000.00 (2010)
- The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation: $85,500 (2001-2009)
- JM Foundation: $95,000 (1997-2009)
- Castle Rock Foundation: $760,000 (1995-2008)
Partial List of 1985-1990 Funders
According to a 1991 report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the Independence Institute was funded in part by the following corporations, organizations, and foundations from 1985 to 1990:
- Corporations & Organizations:
- Amex Corp.
- American Furniture Warehouse
- Arapahoe Community College
- Arco Coal
- Automated Business Services
- Bailey Companies
- Ball Corp.
- Benson Mineral Group
- Caim Companies
- Calcon Constructors
- Captiva Corp.
- Celtech Corp.
- Chevron Oil
- Ciruli Associates
- Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
- Colorado Association of School Executives
- Colorado Bar Association
- Colorado Interstate Gas Co.
- Colorado National Bankshares, Inc.
- Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce
- Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph
- Columbine Venture Fund, Ltd.
- Cooley Gravel Company
- Coopers & Lybrand
- Custom Envelope Corp.
- David, Graham & Stubbs
- Deloitte Haskins & Sells
- Denver Technological Center
- Denver West, Inc.
- Dixon Paper
- DTM Products
- Duncan Cattle Company
- Embassy Suites Hotel
- Equity Syndication
- Flatiron Companies
- D.E. Frey and Co.
- Frontier Oil and Refining
- G.E. Johnson Construction
- General Motors
- Gerald Phipps Inc.
- Great Southwest Construction Co.
- Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce
- Hewlett Packard
- High Valley Group
- Home Builders Association of Metro Denver
- Hyatt Regency Denver
- Ideal Basic Industries
- Jostens Inc.
- Kelmore Association
- Keystone Resort Inc.
- King Soopers
- Koelbel and Co.
- Louisiana Pacific Corp.
- Lucas Oil and Gas
- Martin Marietta
- Marriott Hotels
- Mobil Oil Corp.
- Mountain States Employers Council
- North Central Life Insurance Co.
- Oklahoma Publishing
- One Source Management
- Peat Marwick Main & Co.
- Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Denver
- Phelps, Inc.
- Gerald Phipps Inc.
- [Potential Inc.] (illeg.)
- Presto Print
- Public Service Co. of Colorado
- The Pueblo Chieftain
- Ralston Purina Co.
- Ready-Mixed Concrete
- Ridgewood Realty
- Robinson Dairy
- Roche Constructors
- Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association
- Rocky Mountain Orthodontics
- Saunders Construction
- Shuck Corp.
- Security Life of Denver
- Step Thirteen
- Stock Imagery Inc.
- Storage Technology
- True Oil
- United Banks of Colorado, Inc.
- United Bank of Denver
- U.S. West Communications
- Vail Association
- Vessels Oil and Gas Co.
- Welbourne Co.
- Woodford Manufacturing
- Amoco Foundation
- Anschutz Foundation
- Atlas Foundation
- Howard W. Callaway Foundation
- Adolph Coors Foundation
- Dobbins Foundation
- El Pomar Foundation
- Farley Foundation
- Garvey Kansas Foundation
- Gates Foundation
- G.D. Searle Charitable Trust
- Hawkins Foundation
- JM Foundation
- [Mon Foundation] (illeg.)
- Powell Family Foundation
- Rawlings Foundation
- Ruth and Vernon Taylor Foundation
- White Foundation
- Total Revenue: $1,965,509
- Total Expenses: $1,963,635
- Net Assets: $2,417,013
- Total Revenue: $1,965,509
- Total Expenses: $1,963,635
- Net Assets: $2,417,013
- Total Revenue: $1,469,690
- Total Expenses: $1,527,047
- Net Assets: $2,403,353
Board of Trustees
- Jon Caldara, President
- Jeffrey Coors
- Joseph Ignat, Treasurer
- Mike McCarty
- Catherine Shopneck, Chairman
- Joseph Smith
- Katherine Whitcomb, Secretary
- James MacDougald, Honorary Life Trustee
- Jay Ambrose, Contributing Columnist
- Pam Benigno, Education Policy Center Director
- Christina "CJ" James Buchanan, Development
- Jon Caldara, President
- Ben DeGrow, Policy analyst, Education Policy Center
- Marya DeGrow, Research Associate, Education Policy Center
- Joanne D. Eisen, Senior Fellow, Criminal Justice
- Susan Evans, Director of Major Gifts
- Barry Fagin, Senior Fellow, Technology
- Paul Gallant, Senior Fellow, Criminal Justice
- Raaki Garcia-Ulam, Hispanic outreach coordinator, School Choice for Kids
- Linda Gorman, Health Care Policy Center Director
- J. Craig Green, Senior Fellow, Water Policy
- Mark Hillman, Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
- Fred Holden, Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
- Krista Kafer, Senior Fellow, Education Policy Center
- Dave Kopel, Research Director & Second Amendment Project Director
- Mike Krause, Vice President of Operations & Justice Policy Center Director
- Kait Lochner, Assistant to the Vice President of Operations
- Justin Longo, Web Master
- Mary MacFarlane, Development Associate
- Julie Mallon, Vice President of Development
- Robert Natelson, Senior Fellow, Constitutional Jurisprudence
- Amy Oliver, Energy Policy Center Director
- Randal O'Toole, Center for the American Dream Director
- Penn Pfiffner, Fiscal Policy Center Director
- Dennis Polhill, Senior Fellow, Public Infrastructure
- Barry Poulson, Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
- Paul Prentice, Senior Fellow, Fiscal Policy Center
- Cherish Shaffer, Intern Coordinator
- Brian Schwartz, Research Associate, Health Care Policy Center
- Todd Shepherd, Investigative Reporter
- Tracy Smith, Graphic Designer
- William Yeatman, Policy Anaylst, Energy Policy Center
- Karen Zuppa, Accountant
Notable Former Associates
- Gale Norton - Secretary of the Interior. Former Senior Fellow and Board Member of the Independence Institute.
- Donald Hodel - Secretary of the Interior, 1985-1989. Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Independence Institute.
- Tom Tancredo - Sixth Congressional District of Colorado. Former President of the Independence Institute.
- John Andrews - Colorado State Senate Minority Leader and founder of the Independence Institute.
- Rob Fairbank - Colorado House Republican Caucus Chair Third-ranking Republican in the Colorado House. Former Office Director.
- Shawn Mitchell - Colorado State Representative - Chair, House Information and Technology Committee. Former Senior Fellow.
- Ted Harvey - Colorado State Representative - Former Office Director.
- Rick Grice - Director Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation. Former Senior Fellow
- Jack McCroskey - Regional Transportation District Director. Former Senior Fellow.
- Paul Danish - Boulder County Commissioner. Former Senior Fellow.
- Bruce Benson - Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado, 1994. Former Board member.
- Mike Rosen - News Radio 850 KOA talk show host and newspaper columnist. Former Board Member.
- Greg Bledsoe - Colorado Counties. Legislative Liaison for agricultural, wildlife and rural affairs issues
- Wendell Cox
Web site: http://www.i2i.org
13952 Denver West Parkway, Suite 400
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 279-6536
Articles and Resources
- 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
- 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.
- The Texas Observer, "The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid," December 5, 2013.
- 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.
- MSNBC "Rachel Maddow Show," November 18, 2013.
- 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.
- Huffington Post, Meet The Little-Known Network Pushing Ideas For Kochs, ALEC, November 14, 2013.
- 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.
- ProgressOhio, Smoke Screen: The Buckeye Institute, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- Current TV "War Room", Lee Fang discussing the State Policy Network, March 28, 2013.
- The Nation, The Right Leans In, March 26, 2013.
- Democracy Now, Donors Trust: Little-Known Group Helps Wealthy Backers Fund Right-Wing Agenda in Secret, February 19, 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.
- Urban Milwaukee, Stealth Conservatives, October 11, 2012.
- Rome News-Tribune, ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas, October 2012.
- 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.
- Independence Institute About Us, web site, accessed December 30, 2009
- Independence Institute Center for the American Dream [http://www.i2i.org/main/page.php?page_id=10 Independence Institute: Center for the American Dream], Web page, accessed December 30, 2009
- 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.
- 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.
- "i2i: Barry Poulson", organizational website, accessed October 2012
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- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force meeting agenda and materials, October 27, 2011, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, International and Federal Relations Task Force meeting and Federal Relations Working Group, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, 38th Annual Meeting, agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
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- American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Recipient: Independence Institute, Bridge Project conservative transparency website, accessed December 2013.
- National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Special Report: Burgeoning Conservative Think Tanks, organizational report, Spring 1991.
- Independence Institute, IRS form 990, 2011. GuideStar.
- Independence Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
- Independence Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.