Liberty Foundation of America

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

The Liberty Foundation of America is a right-wing organization based in Oklahoma. Its stated mission is "to leverage local resources and partnerships to assert state primacy and personal liberty as national public policy."[1] It is an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN) and was a "Director"-level sponsor of the 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Conference.

Ties to the State 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.[2]

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.'"[3]

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.[4]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Liberty Foundation of American was a "Director"-level sponsor of the 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Conference, indicating a $15,000 sponsorship based on ALEC's state sponsorship rates.[5] As CMD has documented, about 98 percent of ALEC's revenue comes from corporations and sources other than legislative dues.[6]

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.

Issues and Activities

Workforce Participation Project

In October 2014, the LFA announced a project related to the national workforce participation rate[7] that was reported on by the Franklin Center's Watchdog.org site.[8] According to the LFA's website, the project involves a coalition of groups from 32 states, nearly all of which appear to be members of the State Policy Network (SPN).

Personnel

Staff

As of January 2015:[9]

  • ​Michael C. Carnuccio, President
  • Matt A. Mayer, Chief Operating Officer. Mayer has written for FoxNews.com, including collaboratively with the American Enterprise Institute,[10] and has contributed to Politico.[11]
  • Cameron Smith, National Director. Smith writes a regular opinion column for the Alabama Media Group, hosted at AL.com. Smith also has a position as a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and was previously a vice president and general counsel at the Alabama Policy Institute.[12]
  • Trent England, National Coordinator
  • Jennie Kleese, Director of Development
  • Elizabeth Lincicome, Communications Director
  • Teresa Yoder, Director of Operations

Board of Directors

As of January 2015:[13]

Contact Information

Liberty Foundation of America, Inc.
1401 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Phone: 405-602-2524
Fax: 888-707-0998
Twitter: @liberty_found[14]

References

  1. Liberty Foundation of America, "About," organizational website, accessed January 5, 2015.
  2. 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.
  3. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  4. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  5. Lisa Graves, ALECexposed: List of Corporations and Special Interests that Underwrote ALEC's 40th Anniversary Meeting, PRWatch.org, August 15, 2013.
  6. Lisa Graves, ALECexposed: List of Corporations and Special Interests that Underwrote ALEC’s 40th Anniverary Meeting, PRWatch, August 15, 2013.
  7. Liberty Foundation of America, "National Labor Force Participation Rate," organizational website, October 24, 2014, accessed January 22, 2015.
  8. Jason Hart, "Liberty Foundation teams up to tackle national workforce woes," Watchdog.org, October 9, 2014, accessed January 22, 2015.
  9. Liberty Foundation of America, "Team," organizational website, accessed January 5, 2015.
  10. Mackenzie Eaglen and Matt Mayer, "Paris attacks: Why ISIS is still more dangerous than any Al Qaeda group," Fox News, January 14, 2015. Accessed January 22, 2015.
  11. Matt Mayer, "John Kasich’s Victory-That-Wasn’t," Politico Magazine, November 24, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2015.
  12. R Street Institute, Cameron Smith, organizational website, accessed January 22, 2015.
  13. Liberty Foundation of America, "Board," organizational website, accessed January 5, 2015.
  14. Liberty Foundation of America, "About," organizational website, accessed January 5, 2015.
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