Judicial Watch

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

Judicial Watch, Inc., at www.judicialwatch.org, describes itself as "a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law."[1] It was initiated near the beginning of the Clinton Administration in 1994 and asserts that its role is "to serve as an ethical and legal 'watchdog' over our government, legal, and judicial systems to promote a return to ethics and morality in our nation's public life."

Judicial Watch is an "associate" member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country.[2]

Sate Policy Network

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. As of January 2017, SPN's membership totals 141. It is an $83 million right-wing empire as of the 2011 funding documents from SPN itself and each of its state "think tank" members. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.[3]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[4]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[5]

Funding

In 2002, Judicial Watch received $1.1 million from the Carthage Foundation and a further $400,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. The year before the Scaife Foundation had given $1.35 million and Carthage $500,000.

In all, between 1997 and 2002, Judicial Watch received $7,069,500 in 19 grants from a handful of foundations including. The bulk of this funding came from just three foundations - the Sarah Scaife Foundation, The Carthage Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.[6]

Judicial Watch received $77,500 from DonorsTrust between 2010 and 2014, a donor advised fund that serves to further disguise the identity of donors. (See all DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund contributions here.)

Core Financials

2015[7]

  • Total Revenue: $37,863,937
  • Total Expenses: $24,486,270
  • Net Assets: $47,131,962

2014[8]

  • Total Revenue: $30,811,460
  • Total Expenses: $21,638,212
  • Net Assets: $36,135,037

2013[9]

  • Total Revenue: $20,622,935
  • Total Expenses: $17,657,173
  • Net Assets: $27,453,495

2012[9]

  • Total Revenue: $20,210,502
  • Total Expenses: $15,902,133
  • Net Assets: $23,039,263

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of March 17, 2017:[10]

  • Tom Fitton, President
  • Paul Orfanedes, Legal Representative
  • Chris Farrell, Director of Investigations and Board Member

Staff

As of March 17, 2017:[11]

  • Thomas Fitton – President, Board Member, Officer
  • Paul Orfanedes – Director of Litigation, Board Member, Officer
  • Chris Farrell – Director of Research and Investigation, Board Member
  • Paul Orfanedes – Director of Litigation
  • Jason Aldrich – Attorney
  • Michael Bekesha – Attorney
  • Lauren Burke – Attorney
  • Ramona Cotca – Attorney
  • Christopher Fedeli – Attorney
  • Eric Lee – Attorney
  • Sterling “Ernie” Norris – Attorney
  • James Peterson – Attorney
  • Bob Popper – Attorney
  • Christina Rotaru – Paralegal
  • David Rothstein – Paralegal
  • Chris Farrell – Director of Investigations
  • Sean Dunagan – Senior Investigator
  • Bill Marshall – Senior Investigator
  • Geoff Lyon – Investigative Counsel
  • Micah Morrison – Chief Investigative Reporter
  • Kate Bailey – FOIA Program Manager
  • Kirsti Jespersen – Investigator
  • Justin McCarthy – Research Associate
  • Carter Clews – Director of Communications
  • Jill Farrell – Director of Public Affairs
  • Brandon Cockerham – Public Affairs Assistant
  • Matt Miano – Broadcast Coordinator
  • Irene Garcia – Investigative Reporter
  • John Britten – Director of Digital Strategy
  • Michael Love – Digital Media Associate
  • Mike Aquila – Digital Media Associate
  • Steve Andersen – Director of Development
  • John Albertella – Director of Direct Marketing
  • Ariana Azizkeya – Direct Response Marketing Manager
  • Tim Wathen – Direct Marketing Production Manager
  • Angel Azar – Major Gifts Officer
  • Steve Sheldon – Regional Development Manager
  • Jim Petruzzello – Regional Development Manager
  • Mark Spencer – Southwest Project Coordinator
  • Meagan Pfalzer – Manager of Development Operations
  • Candice Velazquez – Program Coordinator
  • Beth Avery – Development Coordinator
  • Victoria Sanders – Foundations Manager
  • Susan Prytherch – Chief of Staff
  • Patrick Roy – Operations Manager
  • Jerry Dunleavy – Administrative Assistant
  • Janice Rurup – Special Assistant to the President
  • Tim Gray – Controller
  • Stephen Wilson – Financial Operations Manager
  • Darlene Robinson – Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Connie Ruffley – Executive Assistant, CA

Contact

Employer Identification Number (EIN):

Judicial Watch, Inc.
425 3rd Street, SW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202).646.5172
Phone: 1.888.JW.Ethic
Fax: 202-646-5199
Email: info@judicialwatch.org
Web: http://www.judicialwatch.org/
Twitter: @JudicialWatch Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudicialWatch/

Southern Regional Headquarters
100 S.E. 2nd Street
Bank of America Tower
Suite 3920
Miami, FL 33131-2148
Tel: 305-349-2391
Fax: 305-374-9054

Western Regional Headquarters
2540 Huntington Drive
Suite 201
San Marino, CA 91108-2601
Tel: 626-287-4540
Fax: 626-237-2003

Southwestern Regional Headquarters
5735 Pineland Drive, Suite 275
Dallas, TX 75231
Tel: 214-739-7188
Fax: 214-739-8873

References

  1. Judicial Watch, home, organizational website, accessed March 17, 2017.
  2. State Policy Network, Directory, State Policy Network, 2016.
  3. Rebekah Wilce, 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.
  4. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  5. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  6. Media Transparency, Judicial Watch, organizational website, archived by WayBack Machine on December 19, 2005.
  7. Judicial Watch, 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, June 3, 2016.
  8. Judicial Watch, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, June 9, 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Judicial Watch, 2013 IRS Form 990, May 19, 2014.
  10. Judicial Watch, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed March 17, 2017.
  11. Judicial Watch, Staff, organizational website, accessed March 17, 2017.