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Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a right-wing pressure group based in Michigan. Founded in 1987, it is the largest state-level "think tank" in the nation. It was established by right-wing activists to promote "free market," pro-business policies. The Center voices its policy positions though publications and has moved beyond Michigan by helping the leaders of similar conservative institutions to ratchet up their operations in many other states and countries around the world. It 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. The organization has drawn fire for its advocacy of right wing positions.[1]

Leading academics have criticized the Center, saying that "Mackinac Center research is often of low quality and because of this it should be treated with considerable skepticism by the public, policy makers and political leaders. Much of the work of the Mackinac Center may have caused more confusion than clarity in the public discussion of the issues that it has addressed by systematically ignoring evidence that does not agree with its proposed solutions."[2]

Former Mackinac Center scholar and Vice President Joseph P. Overton invented the concept of the Overton Window, which describes policy positions that are acceptable to the public. "Shifting the window" is the process of making previously unthinkable positions appear acceptable, or vice versa.

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The Mackinac Center has received significant funding from the Koch family foundations as well as other funding organizations with ties to the Koch brothers. The Charles G. Koch Foundation donated $79,151 between 2005 and 2009, and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation gave Mackinac a donation of $5,000 in 2001. Between 2010 and 2012, the Mackinac Center received $1,494,000 from the Koch conduits DonorTrust and Donors Capital Fund.

Board member Richard Haworth has attended at least two Koch network summit meeting and was highlighted at the 2011 Vail summit for donating at least $1 million to Koch-approved causes.

Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit

DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors.[3] Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."[4][5]

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy received an aggregate of $1,494,000 in funding from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2010 and 2012.[6]

A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated nearly $9 million from 2005 to 2012. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.[7]

Since its inception in 1999, DonorsTrust has been used by conservative foundations and individuals to discretely funnel nearly $400 million to like-minded think tanks and media outlets.[7] According to the organization's tax documents, in 2011, DonorsTrust contributed a total of $86 million to conservative organizations. Many recipients had ties to the State Policy Network (SPN), a wide collection of conservative state-based think tanks and media organizations that focus on shaping public policy and opinion. In 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy released a special report on SPN. Those who received DonorsTrust funding included media outlets such as the Franklin Center and the Lucy Burns Institute, as well as think tanks such as SPN itself, the Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and the Cascade Policy Institute.[8]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been active in many "task forces" of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

The Mackinac Center also has ties to ALEC through its membership in the State Policy Network (SPN), which supports ALEC.[20]

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 Mackinac Center for Public Policy 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.[21] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[22] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[23][24] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[25]

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).[26] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[27] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[26]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[28] a conservative grant-making organization.[29]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[30] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[31] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[32] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[33] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

See below for more.

Other Controversies

Involvement in Michigan's 2012 "Right to Work" Bill

Right to Work promotional video

On December 11, 2012, governor Rick Snyder signed into law a "right to work" bill, undermining collective bargaining by allowing workers to freeload off the benefits of union negotiations without paying the costs of union representation. The Mackinac Center played a prominent role in supporting this action.

The Mackinac Center and its funders, such as the billionaire DeVos family of the Amway fortune, had been coordinating behind close doors to effect this change "for 25 years," as a Mackinac blog post boasted after the bill passed, going on to call the passage of the bill "a classic example of the Overton Window of what's politically possible moving in the proper direction. Mackinac Center experts have been pushing that window toward right-to-work since 1990."[34]

In fact, SPN singled out the Mackinac Center's president, Joseph Lehman, for its highest award at its 2013 annual meeting, the "Roe Award" named after SPN founder and building materials supply magnate Thomas A. Roe. Why? For "the passage of a right-to-work law in Michigan," another blog post boasted. Betsy DeVos presented the award to Lehman, and Dick DeVos was recognized as well.[35]

Mackinac created or helped create two new online publications -- called "Michigan Capital Confidential" and "Watchdog Wire Michigan" (a project of the Franklin Center, of which Mackinac is a "partner") -- to communicate its claims, gain public support, and put pressure on the governor to adopt its "right to work" changes to state law.

In audio released in early 2013 by Progress Michigan, Mackinac Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio was recorded as telling supporters at an Americans for Prosperity "Citizen Watchdog Training" that he had met with Michigan lawmakers to make a plan for ramming "right to work" laws through the state legislature.[36] And in a series of 2011 emails between Mackinac staffers and Michigan Rep. Tom McMillin about a different piece of legislation, Mackinac's Jack McHugh told McMillin, "Our goal is outlaw government collective bargaining in Michigan, which in practical terms means no more MEA" (Michigan Education Association, the state's teachers union). In another email, McMillin told Mackinac staffers, "my ability to impact this decision could be assisted by hearing your thoughts...soon (and again, this is off the record - ok?)"[37]

Based on these email exchanges and other evidence, U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) asked the IRS to investigate Mackinac and "take appropriate actions to ensure that the Mackinac Center is in full compliance with federal tax law."[38]

Major funders of Mackinac have included the DeVos Family, heirs to the founder of Amway, and the Walton Family, heirs to Walmart. Between 1998 and 2011, Mackinac received $560,000 from four DeVos foundations; and between 2000 and 2003, the Walton Family Foundation donated at least $300,000. Both Amway and Walmart were among the 3,100 business that signed a letter in 2009 opposing the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), legislation that would have made it easier for workers to unionize. Walmart fought extensively to take down the EFCA, spending $7.4 million in lobbying efforts. Mackinac shifted its position from questioning whether Michigan should be a Right to Work state in 1994 to adamantly supporting "Make Michigan Open for Business" in 1998, immediately after the the DeVos foundation donations appear to have begun.[39]

But, despite all its efforts to achieve major legal changes such as "right to work," and its own admission that it had been pushing the change and communicating with state legislators about it, the Mackinac Center reported no lobbying to the IRS in 2012,[40] 2011,[41] or 2010.[42]

See PRWatch.org for more.

Involvement in Michigan's 2011 Emergency Financial Manager Legislation

Mackinac has supported changes to Michigan law to give more power to emergency financial managers, according to Progress Michigan.[39] These managers, who are state appointed officials, are given a broad range of powers to financially fix and take over struggling cities or school districts. A 2011 report from Mackinac suggested that these managers be given powers including the abilities to override elected officials and toss out union contracts.[43]

In 2005, the Center published a paper arguing an emergency financial manager with extremely broad powers should take control of the finances of Detroit, long plagued by budgetary problems. The Center advocated four major policy changes. The policies advocated by the Center included that the manager should "replace and take on the powers of the governing body", have the power to alter the charter of a municipality or district, and be immune from litigation. Binding arbitration for union contracts after failed re-negotiation would also be abolished, allowing the manager the power to opt out of the use of union labor at the end of a union's contract.[44] All four of these changes were proposed in controversial legislation introduced by newly elected governor Rick Snyder in 2011.

Opposition to Environmental Protections

According to Progresse Michigan, Mackinac has received generous funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation in support of efforts to oppose environmental protection policies.[39] The foundation gave $79,151 between 2005 and 2009. During this period of time, Mackinac and Jack McHugh released reports supporting the "No-More-Stringent" law in Michigan, which prohibited the Department of Environmental Quality from adopting any regulation more stringent than the federal government. Opposition to environmental regulation would be beneficial to Koch Industries various interests and the corporation is a known repeat offender of EPA regulations.[45]

Climate Change Denial and Opposition to Renewable Energy

Mackinac has also called research on anthropogenic global warming a "pseudoscience," citing well-known climate change deniers Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling as evidence that the science behind global warming is falsified.[46] Mackinac has also advocated that Michigan lower its renewable portfolio standards (RPS) requirements to zero, citing Solyndra as an example of the unreliability of renewable energy. The Michigan RPS is 10 percent by 2015.[47] On wind power, Mackinac's senior environmental policy analyst Russ Harding has stated, "It is a given that households will pay for wind power through higher energy bills," and "Michigan legislators should repeal the renewable energy standard."[48]

Support of Privatization

Privatizing Prisons

Mackinac has been an ardent supporter of privatization of the correctional systems. According to Progress Michigan, the organization has released a series reports advocating privatization for the state with extensive "evidence" showing how the move towards private prisons would improve the finical state of Michigan.[39] These various reports state that privatization would alleviate problems such as overcrowding and improve overall quality of prisons. The reports fail to mention any possible downsides and work to push an agenda for funders who support private prisons.[49][50]

Privatizing Education

The Center has focused a great deal of its scholarly efforts on advancing school choice programs in Michigan, drawing great criticism for attacking teachers unions and public schools in the process. A 2002 study authored by three professors in the educational field, two from Columbia and another from Arizona State University, reviewed the Center's previous 11 years of work on education policy and found that "evidence presented in Mackinac Center studies is often weak and at times misleading." Continuing, they added that "it is hoped that this report has been helpful in revealing the shortcomings and the possible dangers inherent on basing public policy on the research of the Mackinac Center," and that the Center "is devoted to privatizing state institutions and to deregulating public education."[51]

The report analyzed the quality of Mackinac Center studies by employing the numerical scale used to determine whether or scholarly material written and researched by professors in the education field could be published in various scholarly journals in the education field. It adjusted these criteria to allow for the differences between original research, interpretive research, opinion essays and administrative and legislative guides, all of which were genres published in education journals. The report found that only 1 report out of 22 appropriately addressed its topic matter.[52]

Chilling Academic Freedom?

In March 2011, as protests over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to effectively end public sector collective bargaining continued to grow in Wisconsin, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for three Michigan Universities, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University. The request targeted any emails containing: “collective bargaining,” “Wisconsin,” “Madison,” “Scott Walker” or “Maddow.” The requests target labor studies faculty at each school. [53] USA Today wrote that Mackinac's "demands for professors' e-mails about Wisconsin's public employee labor strife is causing an uproar among some who suggest the Freedom of Information Act requests aim to intimidate pro-labor dissenters and stifle academic freedom." [53]

The FOIA request was very similar to one submitted by the Republican Party of Wisconsin to University of Wisconsin-Madison historian William J. Cronon during the same week, after the professor had published a blog post questioning the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Governor Walker's anti-union legislation. [54] Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote " there’s a clear chilling effect when scholars know that they may face witch hunts whenever they say things the G.O.P. doesn’t like." [55]

Like the Wisconsin GOP's request for Cronon's emails, Mackinac's request posed some concerns for university professors because the request could be an attempt to quell political opposition. [56] In a New York Times article, Director of Academic Freedom for the American Association of University Professors, Greg Scholtz, said, “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom. We’ve never seen FOIA requests used like this before.”[57]

The Overton Window: Moving Policies from "Unthinkable" to Enacted

The Overton Window is a tool used to visualize policy positions along the political spectrum. It was invented by Joseph P. Overton, a Mackinac Center scholar and Vice President, in the mid-1990's and has "gained national currency" since 2003.[58] In the Center's own description, it is designed to provide a spectrum which visualizes policies acceptable to the public with the various ends of the spectrum representing 'unthinkable' policies and the middle representing a policy that would be widely well received by the public. Any policy which would be deemed acceptable or desirable by the public is "in the window". The concept also holds that legislators can only act within the window out of their duty to constituents. According to the Center, the window is also finite and can be moved. The Center advocates action by think tanks and other non-political figures which would "shift the window", bringing policies that would once be thought of as radical or unthinkable into the realm of possibility, allowing legislators to enact them. Consequently, policies once looked upon acceptable or desirable would move out of favor with the public.[59]

Michigan Capitol Confidential

Michigan Capitol Confidential is a right-wing media source and the Michigan affiliate of the Franklin Center (see above for more). It produces articles and blog posts intended to appear like those of traditional news sources, but with a demonstrated conservative bias and pushing a right wing agenda.

Personnel:

  • Manny Lopez--Managing Editor
  • Tom Gantert--Senior Capitol Correspondant
  • Jack Spencer--Capitol Affairs Specialist
  • Jarrett Skorup--Research Associate for Online Engagement

Methods of Operation and Messaging

According to the Michigan Education Association, "The Mackinac Center receives attention not because of its objective scholarship but because it showers the media and governmental officials at all levels with publications designed to promote a conservative agenda. It is undoubtedly a very effective conduit for the policy wishes of its sponsors. It has shown great resourcefulness in creating new ways to spread its message. Between its presence in the Michigan Legislature, its many publications, news releases, its web site and conferences it might seem to be spreading its message in every way possible, but it continues to find new outlets"[1]:

  • It recently sponsored a contest to reward a student essay that best “exposes a scientific fallacy in a book, movie, song or other pop culture medium.”[60]
  • A new program “Students for a Free Economy” will visit Michigan colleges and universities “taking policy ideas to students … who may be unfamiliar with the ways that markets affect their lives and the issues they care about.”[61]
  • It’s Freedom in Fiction Prize competition offers $10,000 to the new book author who creates:
  • "…characters that demonstrate an appreciation for liberty, free markets and/or explicitly or symbolically oppose government oppression or restraints on their freedom…"

But the book must not:

  • "…advance themes or characters who promote government-sponsored solutions; vilify entrepreneurship; degrade personal initiative, self-reliance and responsibility, or regurgitate discredited myths and misconceptions about liberty and free enterprise… "[62]

History

The Mackinac Center was founded in 1987 with backing from the Cornerstone Foundation. According to a 2012 report by the Michigan Education Association, "The insurance industry (primarily Citizen’s) provided initial funding, amounting to $306,382 during this period. Various officials of Dow Corning and Dow Chemical paid $335,986.[63]"[1]

"Its creation was driven by the insurance industry’s call for product liability reform, its interest in the Accident Fund, and by Dow Corning’s concern over silicone breast implant liability. . . .[1]
"According to documents filed by the Center with the federal government, its activities are tax exempt because it is:
"'Conducting policy research on matters affecting Michigan residents and proposing approaches to public policy issues consistent with the traditional American values of free-markets, limited government, and respect for private property. . .'[64]
"In order to retain this tax exempt status, the Center states that it has not:
"'… attempted to influence national, state, or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum.'"[65][1]

The Mackinac Center is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), a network of state-based think tanks patterned after the Heritage Foundation. Mackinac Center President Emeritus Lawrence Reed serves on the SPN Board of Directors.[1]

Funding

In 2012, the Center's revenues totaled $3,222,455, after spiking to $5,778,257 in 2011.[66][67] The majority of its revenue comes from tax-deductible contributions and grants. Its funding has grown substantially over the years, from just over $1.7 million in 1998 to a high of $5.8 million in 2011.

Mackinac Center Revenues 1998-2010, Source: IRS 990s, from MEA Report[1]

The Mackinac Center refuses to disclose who pays for its operations. When asked by Detroit’s Metro Times in 1996, the Center’s then-President Lawrence Reed said, "Our funding sources are primarily foundations … with the rest coming from corporations and individuals," but that "… revealing our contributors would be a tremendous diversion…"[68] However, some information about the Mackinac Center's funding can be gathered from its donors' tax filings.

Partial List of Mackinac Center Non-Profit Funders, 1993-2012:

Foundation Amount Donated Foundation's funding source Years
Aequus Foundation $4,500.00 Free Market/Christian Science Advocacy 2001-2010[1]
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation $2,000 Community Foundation 2001-2010[1]
Beach Foundation $5,000 2001-2010[1]
Bradley Foundation, Lynde and Harry $907,500 Electronic and radio component heirs 1993-2012[69][70]
Brandon Foundation, David A. $3,500 Former Domino's Pizza CEO 2001-2010[1]
Bretzlaff Foundation, Hilda E. $1,000 2001-2010[1]
Broad Foundation, Eli & Edythe $27,500 Homebuilding and retirement 2001-2010[1]
Castle Rock Foundation $75,000.00 Coors founder's sons 2003-2011[69]
Chase Foundation of Virginia $93,150 JP Morgan banking heirs 2005-2009[69]
DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund $375,000 Automotive corporation 2001-2010[1]
Dart Foundation $20,000 Founder of Dart Container Corp 2001-2010[1]
DeVos Foundation, Daniel and Pamella $85,000 Amway founder son, CEO DP Fox Ventures 2001-2010[1]
DeVos Foundation, Dick & Betsy $175,000 Rep candidate for Gov./former State Rep. Chair 1995-2010[69]
DeVos Foundation, Douglas & Maria $120,000 Current Alticor (Amway) Co-CEO 2001-2010[1]
DeVos Foundation, Richard and Helen $180,000 Amway founder 1998-2011[69]
Donner Foundation, William H. $205,000 Heirs of Union Steel Co. founder 1998-2010[69]
Donors Capital Fund $3,128,000 anonymous donor-advised fund 2007-2012[69]
DonorsTrust $7,600 anonymous donor-advised fund 2004-2010[69]
Dow Foundation, Herbert H. and Grace A. $3,215,000 Dow Chemical founder widow 2001-2010[1]
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $999,000 Investment company founder 2002-2011[69]
Earhart Foundation $1,320,800 White Star Oil heirs 1997-2010[69]
ExxonMobil Foundation $25,500 Oil corporation 2001-2002[69]
Fisher Foundation, Max M. and Marjorie S $1,000 Gas stations and real estate 2001-2010[1]
Gelman Educational Foundation $10,000 Gelman Instrument Company 2001-2010[1]
General Motors Foundation $30,000 Automotive corporation 2001-2010[1]
Gerstacker Foundation, Rollin M. $160,000 Dow Chemical Chairman (retired) 2001-2010[1]
Hanover Insurance Group Foundation $5,500 Insurance corporation 2001-2010[1]
Hansen Foundation, Robert and Marie $45,000 Cogen Technologies founder (energy cogeneration) 2003-2006[69]
Heritage Mark Foundation $7,000 Christian causes, emphasis on evangelism 2001-2010[1]
Herrick Foundation $2,150,000 Tecumseh Engines founder's son 2001-2010[1]
Hickory Foundation $112,500 Investment company founder's former wife 1999-2011[69]
Hume Foundation, Jaquelin $830,000 Basic Vegetable company heir 1999-2011[69]
Humphreys Foundation, J. P $40,000 TAMKO roofing, composite decking founder's wife 2001-2010[1]
JM Foundation $115,000 Borden Milk Company heirs 1995-2006[69]
Kelly Services, Inc. Foundation, MI $3,500 Staffing corporation 2001-2010[1]
Koch Charitable Foundation, Charles G. $79,151 Koch Industries oil corporation co-owner 2005-2009[69]
Lambe Charitable Foundation, Claude R. $5,000 Koch Industries oil corporation heirs 2001[69]
Krieble Foundation, Vernon K. $1,500 Loctite Corporation heirs 2002[69]
Merillat Foundation, Orville D. & Ruth A $395,000 Cabinet manufacturer founder's widow 1995-2011[69]
Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation $36,000 Over-the-counter drug manufacturer 2001-2010[69]
Peters Foundation, Ruth and Lovett $525,000 Procter & Gamble heirs 2001-2010[1]
Pope Foundation, John William $5,500 Variety Wholesalers retail chain founder 2001-2010[1]
Prince Foundation, Edgar and Elsa $150,000 Prince Automotive founder's widow 2001-2010[1]
Rodney Fund $2,450,831 Detroit Forming founder/Mackinac Board member 1998-2011[69]
Roe Foundation $365,000 Builder Marts of American founder 1998-2011[69]
Scaife Foundation, Sarah $100,000 Mellon industrial, oil and banking heirs 1999-2000[69]
Schiavone Family Foundation $10,000 Construction company investigated for organized crime connections 2001-2010[1]
Staley Educational Foundation $1,000 2001-2010[1]
Strosacker Foundation, Charles J $68,750 Dow Chemical Board member 2001-2010[1]
Van Andel Foundation, Jay and Betty $20,000 Amway founder widow 2001-2010[1]
Walton Family Foundation $300,000 Walmart heirs 2000-2002[69]

In Strategic Grantmaking, Foundations and the School Privatization Movement, Richard Cohen of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy estimates that one-half to two-thirds of all corporate grant-making is “made through the CEO’s office or the marketing department, for which there is no public disclosure requirement.”[71]

The Media Matters Action Network has identified the organization's all-time biggest funder as the Rodney Foundation, an organization founded by Mackinac Center board member James Rodney.

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of June 2014:[72]

  • Joseph Fitzsimmons
  • Dulce Fuller (also chair of the Southeast Michigan Committee of the Heritage Foundation)
  • Richard Haworth
  • Kent Herrick, Vice Chairman
  • J.C. Huizenga (Founder, National Heritage Academies)
  • R. Douglas Kinnan (Senior Vice President and CFO, Amerisure Insurance)
  • Joseph Lehman, President (also on the board of directors of the Sam Adams Alliance, the advisory board of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and former VP for communications at the Cato Institute; formerly of Dow Chemical) - received SPN's 2013 "Roe Award" for "achievements . . . greatly advanc[ing] the free market philosophy"[73]
  • Edward Levy (President, Edward C. Levy Co.)
  • Rodney Lockwood (Chairman/CEO, Lockwood Companies; board member, First Independence National Bank of Detroit; former Chairman of the Board, Michigan Housing Council)
  • Joseph Maguire, Treasurer (President, Wolverine Development Corporation; board member, Michigan Chamber of Commerce)
  • Richard McLellan, Secretary (McLellan Law Offices)
  • D. Joseph Olson, Chairman Emeritus (Chairman from founding until end of 2012; Senior VP and Counsel - Government Relations, Amerisure Companies; former Michigan Commissioner of Insurance 1995-1997)
  • Clifford Taylor, Chairman (former Michigan Supreme Court, 1997-2008)[74]

Past board members include:

  • Paul Gadola (Judge, Reagan Campaign Chair, Federalist Society)
  • Mara M. Letica, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Letica Corp
  • Gail Torreano, Chief of Staff to Sen. Kevin Engler
  • Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center President Emeritus
  • Margaret Riecker, Republican National Committee, Dow Foundation
  • John Riecker, Hillsdale College and Comerica Bank, d. 2008
  • Linda Rodney, managing partner at LK Rodney Enterprises, LLC.
  • James Rodney, Chairman of the Board, Detroit Forming
  • William Rosenberg , Bush Presidential Campaign, Reagan, Milliken and Engler administrations
  • Robert Teeter, RNC Chairman, Pollster for Nixon, Ford, Bush campaign
  • Philip Van Dam, US Attorney under Ford
  • Gregory Kaza, Former Republican State Representative
  • Dick DeVos, Amway, Republican Candidate for Governor
  • Charles Van Eaton, Hillsdale College
  • Peter Cook, Great Lakes Mazda, major Republican campaign donor
  • Dick Antonini, Foremost Insurance

Policy Staff

  • Dan Armstrong, Marketing and Communications Team Leader
  • Christina Bolema, Communications Intern
  • Zachary Dawes, Research Intern
  • Tom Gantert, Senior Capitol Correspondent
  • James Hohman, Assistant Director of Fiscal Policy
  • Josiah Killmeyer, Research Intern
  • Michael LaFaive, Director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative
  • Joseph Lehman, President
  • Nathan Lehman, Research Intern
  • Manny Lopez, Managing Editor, Michigan Capitol Confidential
  • Jack McHugh, Senior Legislative Analyst
  • Ted O’Neil, Media Relations Manager
  • Michael Reitz, Executive Vice President
  • Dane Skorup, Research Intern
  • Jarrett Skorup, Research Associate
  • Audrey Spalding, Education Policy Analyst
  • Jack Spencer, Capitol Affairs Specialist
  • Michael Van Beek, Director of Education Policy
  • F. Vincent Vernuccio, Director of Labor Policy
  • Derk Wilcox, Senior Attorney
  • Zachary Woodman, Research Intern
  • Patrick Wright, Senior Legal Analyst

Former policy staff include:

  • Lindsey Dodge, Editor
  • Burton Folsom, Senior Fellow in Economic Education
  • David Littmann, Senior Economist
  • Anne Schieber, Senior Investigative Analyst
  • Lorie Shane, Managing Director of Advancement
  • Thomas Shull, Senior Director of Research Quality

Other

Craig Rucker of CFACT is a Mackinac Adjunct Scholar.[75]

Lawrence Reed was formerly listed as President Emeritus.

Staff Compensation

The Mackinac Center spends a significant part of its annual budget on staff compensation, with executive Vice President Joseph Lehman reporting an increase in his salary every year from 2008-2012. In 2012, Lehman received an annual salary of $197,967, with an estimated bonus of $10,076 from the organization and related organizations. In 2012, the Center spent over $2 million of its nearly $4.4 million budget on staff compensation and benefits.[66]

Projects, Publications and Related Websites

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy runs the following affiliated sites and publications:

Core Financials

2012[76]

  • Total Revenue: $3,222,455
  • Total Expenses: $4,395,247
  • Net Assets: $8,451,422

2011[77]:

  • Total Revenue: $5,778,257.00
  • Total Expenses: $3,925,505.00
  • Net Assets: $9,523,575.00

2010[78]:

  • Total Revenue: $3,511,159.00
  • Total Expenses: $3,401,252.00
  • Net Assets: $7,581,106.00

2009[79]:

  • Total Revenue: $3,310,018.00
  • Total Expenses: $3,377,168.00
  • Net Assets: $7,345,742.00

Contact Details

140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640
(989) 631-0900 Voice
(800) 22-IDEAS Voice
(989) 631-0964 Fax

Website: http://www.mackinac.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MackinacCenter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MackinacCenter

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

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