James Madison Institute

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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."[1] 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,"[2] but the SPN website still lists JMI as a full member as of December 2013,[3] and a July 2013 JMI fundraising proposal to Searle Freedom Trust was included in a packet of SPN proposals in August 2013.[4]


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.[5] The IRS prohibits 501(C)(3) nonprofits from engaging in any political activity and explicitly states that campaign contributions are a prohibited campaign activity.[6] 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.[2] 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.[7][8]

JMI was listed as a new member of ALEC's Education Task Force as of April 2012.[9]

Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.

About ALEC
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.[10] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[11] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[12][13] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[14]

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).[15] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[16] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[15]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[17] a conservative grant-making organization.[18]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[19] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[20] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[21] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[22] 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.[23]

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."[23]

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.[23]

In its 2006 annual report, the Cato Institute states that it gave a grant of $100,000 to the James Madison Institute.[24]

Core Financials


  • 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:[28]

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

Contact Details

The Columns
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
Website: http://www.jamesmadison.org

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. James Madison Institute, About JMI, organizational website, accessed March 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting Board Meeting packet, organizational documents, August 6, 2013, released by The Guardian December 3, 2013.
  3. State Policy Network, Directory: Florida, organizational website, accessed December 2013.
  4. State Policy Network, Searle Tax and Budget Grant Proposals, organizational fundraising proposal packet, July 29, 2013, obtained and released by The Guardian December 5, 2013.
  5. National Institute on Money in State Politics, Florida 2006: Contributions to FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PARTY From JAMES MADISON INSTITUTE, Follow the Money national database of money in state politics, accessed November 2013.
  6. U.S. Internal Revenue Service, The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations, federal government agency website, accessed November 2013.
  7. "Research Advisory Council", organizational website, accessed October 2012
  8. Common Cause "35 Day Mailing to Members of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force", June 30 2011
  9. American Legislative Exchange Council, Education Task Force meeting agenda and materials, April 6, 2012, on file with CMD.
  10. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  11. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  13. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  16. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  17. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  18. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  19. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  22. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Progress Florida and Center for Media and Democracy, [LINK The James Madison Institute and the Foundation for Government Accountability: Lawmaking under the Influence of Very Special Interests], organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  24. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  25. James Madison Institute, 2011 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, September 14, 2012.
  26. James Madison Institute, 2010 form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, October 5, 2011.
  27. James Madison Institute, 2009 form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 15, 2010.
  28. James Madison Institute, About, organizational website, accessed November 2013.
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