James Madison 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.
James Madison Institute (JMI) is a right-wing advocacy group that calls itself a "think tank" and describes its mission as "to keep the citizens of Florida informed about their government and to shape our state's future through the advancement of practical free-market ideas on public policy issues." It was founded in 1987 and is a member of the 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. An August 2013 board document of the related group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) alleges that JMI is a "former SPN member," but the SPN website still lists JMI as a full member as of December 2013, and a July 2013 JMI fundraising proposal to Searle Freedom Trust was included in a packet of SPN proposals in August 2013.
Questionable Campaign Contribution
JMI contributed $591 to the Republican Party of Florida in June 2006, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The IRS prohibits 501(C)(3) nonprofits from engaging in any political activity and explicitly states that campaign contributions are a prohibited campaign activity. It is not clear if this contribution was a reimbursement of some kind or what the legal rationale was for this money flowing from a charity to a political party.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
JMI has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was listed as a member of ALEC's Education Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force until it terminated its membership on February 13, 2013 because "SPN did not renew [JMI's] membership," according to an August 2013 ALEC board document obtained by The Guardian. It has also had ties through a member of its Research Advisory Council, James M. Taylor, also of the Heartland Institute. Mr. Taylor is involved with the ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force as a frequent guest speaker.
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.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The James Madison 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.
The James Madison Institute has received more than $1 million from organizations funded by the Koch brothers and has consistently advocated for policies that protect the Kochs' bottom line rather than the best interests of Floridians, according to a November 2013 report by Progress Florida and the Center for Media and Democracy.
The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation contributed $83,479 to JMI between 2007 and 2011. However, as the report notes, "the Kochs are known to fund special interest groups in ways other than through the charities in their name. For example, it has been discovered that Koch Industries funds some of the SPN groups directly, and because that corporation is not publicly traded, its donations are not publicly reported. Similarly, it has been documented that the Koch brothers fund special interests through personal checks and trust account transfers (not from their charities) to other groups that are not required to publicly report their donations."
JMI received $963,742 from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2005 and 2011, "two funds that have been closely tied to the Kochs but which obscure the percentage of their grants coming from Koch money. In 2011, contributions from the Donors groups made up 10 percent of JMI's grants," according to the report.
- Total Revenue: $1,966,419
- Total Expenses: $1,297,246
- Net Assets: $1,758,565
- Total Revenue: $1,785,368
- Total Expenses: $1,107,183
- Net Assets: $1,089,392
- Total Revenue: $909,458
- Total Expenses: $874,987
- Net Assets: $411,208
As of November 2013:
Board of Directors
- Allan G. Bense, Chairman (Former Florida House Speaker)
- J. Stanley Marshall, Vice-Chairman (Founding Chairman of JMI)
- J. Robert McClure III, Ex-Officio (President and CEO of JMI)
- Glen Blauch
- J.F. Bryan IV
- Charles E. Cobb
- Stan Connally (President and CEO, Gulf Power)
- Rebecca Walter Dunn
- George W. Gibbs III (Chairman and CEO, Atlantic Marine Holding Company)
- Robert H. Gidel Sr.
- L. Charles Hilton Jr., Chairman Emeritus (Chairman of the Board, Hilton, Inc.)
- John Hrabusa (Senior VP, Human Resources, Publix Super Markets)
- John F. Kirtley (Co-founder, FCP Investors)
- Fred Leonhardt
- Thomas K. Sittema
- Jeffrey V. Swain (Owner, Performance Video)
Research Advisory Council
- Dr. Susan Aud, Research Associate, Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation
- Dr. Michael Bond, Senior Lecturer, Department of Finance, University of Arizona
- Dr. Marshall DeRosa, Professor of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University
- Dr. Thomas DiBacco, Professor Emeritus of History, [[American University
- Dr. Dino Falaschetti, Executive Director, Property & Environment Research Center]]
- Dr. James Gwartney, Professor of Economics, Florida State University
- Dr. Bradley K. Hobbs, Professor of Free Enterprise, Florida Gulf Coast University
- Dr. Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics, Florida State University
- Dr. Barry Poulson, Professor of Economics, University of Colorado
- J.B. Ruhl, J.D., Professor of Law, Florida State University College of Law
- Peter Schweizer, Author and Speaker
- James M. Taylor, J.D., Senior Fellow of Environmental Policy, Heartland Institute
- J. Stanley Marshall, Founding Chairman
- J. Robert McClure, III, President and CEO
- Rebecca Liner, Executive Vice President
- Valerie Wickboldt, Vice President of Communications
- Francisco Gonzalez, Vice President of Advancement
- William Mattox, Resident Fellow
- Robert F. Sanchez, Director of Policy
- Scott Sholl, Florida Verve Editor
100 North Duval Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 386-3131
Toll-free (866) 340-3131
Fax: (850) 386-1807
Email: jmi AT jamesmadison.org
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
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