Maine Heritage Policy Center

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

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

The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) is a right-wing pressure group based in Portland, Maine. MHPC states as its mission to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise; limited, constitutional government; individual freedom; and traditional American values--all for the purpose of providing public policy solutions that benefit the people of Maine."[1] MHPC 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.

Funding

A report published by Maine's Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy listed the following known donors for the Maine Heritage Policy Center:

  • Castle Rock Foundation (CO): $25,000 in 2009.
  • Cato Institute (D.C.): $50,000 in 2006.
  • Donors Capital Fund (VA): $1,908,981 between 2005-2011.
  • DonorsTrust (VA): $7,500 in 2010.
  • Jaquelin Hume Foundation (CA): $135,000 between 2007-2011.
  • JM Foundation (NY): $45,000 between 2004-2007.
  • Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation (FL): $67,000 between 2003-2011.
  • State Policy Network (FL): $151,000 between 2007-2010.
  • Roe Foundation (SC): $140,000 between 2005-2011.
  • Known Total - $2,529,481 from 2003 until 2011.[2]

Right-Wing Advocacy

The Maine Heritage Policy Center aims to promote conservative public policy. According to Maine's Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy, the center has specifically focused on:

(1) Cutting Government Services -The Maine Heritage Policy Center advocates lowering taxes for the wealthy and reducing the government budget. The center strongly supported the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) proposal, which would have required voter approval of all tax and spending increases. TABOR failed in 2006. The bill was reintroduced in 2009, entirely rewritten by the Maine Heritage Policy Center. The act failed again, despite the center's direct contribution of $50,000 in support of TABOR. That same year, the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Citizens Against Government Waste ("a tobacco industry funded group that laundered money for Jack Abramoff") published three "piglet books" reporting on "wasteful government spending."[2]

(2) Opposing Healthcare Reform- In 2003, the Maine Heritage Policy Center firmly opposed then Governor John Baldacci's attempt to institute a universal healthcare system. More recently, the group has focused on opposing federal healthcare reform. In 2011, the Director of MHPC's Center for Constitutional Government wrote an article titled, "The Case Against Obamacare."[2]

(3) Privatizing Public Education- A "signature goal of ALEC and the LePage administration has been the diversion of public education resources to out-of-state for-profit online charter school companies, a process it refers to as 'school choice.'" Since 2010, the MHCP has written four reports in favor of for-profit online education. It has "also worked with a bevy of conservative lawmakers and administration officials in an attempt to pass the LePage online education plan."[2] Steve Bowen, the MHCP's former head of education initiatives, was appointed education commissioner under LePage, and is reportedly in charge of "the conversion to for profit online schools."[2]

(4) Attacking Workers' Rights- The MHCP is adamantly opposed to labor unions, "and actively seeks to curtail union rights in Maine." MHCP "supported two pieces of legislation aimed at undermining union power: LD 786, "An Act to Ensure the Voluntary Membership of Public Employees in Unions," and LD 831, "An Act to Prohibit Mandatory Membership in a Union or Payment of Agency Fees and as a Condition of Employment."[2] The MHCP advocates for "right to work" legislation, and in 2011 issued a report entitled "the Case for Right-to-Work in Maine: Examing the Evidence in Oklahoma." The report was allegedly "based on questionable data from Oklahoma."[2]

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

Through its media project The Maine Wire[3], The Maine Heritage Policy Center is listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau".[4] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[5] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[6][7] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[8]

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).[9] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[10] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[9]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[11] a conservative grant-making organization.[12]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[13] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[14] which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[15] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[16] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Ties to ALEC

The Maine Heritage Policy Center is a state think tank member of SPN, which is a private sector member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). MHPC also has ties to ALEC through its efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. MPHC hosted the director of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force, Christie Herrera, at a 2010 event it held in Portland: “ObamaCare: How Maine Can Fight Back.”[17]

MHPC has also participated in the ALEC Education Task Force. Stephen Bowen represented the Maine Heritage Policy Center at the task force meeting during ALEC's 2010 annual meeting.[18].

Bowen went on to become Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education in 2011.[19]

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.


Personnel

Staff

  • J. Scott Moody, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Economist
  • David Crocker, Director, Center for Constitutional Government
  • Joel Allumbaugh, Director, Center for Health Reform Initiatives
  • Jonathan Haines, Director of Communications
  • Heather Noyes, Director of Development
  • Sam Adolphsen, former Director of Government and External Affairs, now Deputy Commissioner of Finance at Maine DHHS
  • Kate Clark, former Development and Research Associate, now Deputy Press Secretary to Gov. Paul LePage
  • Amanda Clark, Education Policy Analyst
  • Steven Robinson, Government Transparency Policy Analyst

Other former MHPC staffers and associates now working in Maine State government:

  • Peter Steele, Press Secretary to Gov. Paul LePage
  • Scott Fish, Director of Special Projects at Maine Department of Corrections

Board of Directors

  • Peter Anania, President, Anania & Associates
  • John Chandler, Managing Partner, BerryDunn
  • Jinger Duryea, President, C. N. Brown Company
  • Hon. Neal B. Freeman, Chairman, The Blackwell Corporation
  • W. R. Jackson, Jr., Retired President, Pitt-Des Moines
  • Jeff Kane, President, National Distributors
  • James Ward, JD, President and Principal, Patient Advocates

Board of Advisors

  • Joel Allumbaugh, National Worksite Benefit Group
  • Deborah Dunlap Avasthi, HRH Northern New England
  • Hon. Joe Bruno, Community Pharmacies
  • David Crocker, Esq., Solicitor
  • Ronald Drouin, Retired
  • Scott Fish, As Maine Goes
  • Susan Hamill, The Dette Company
  • Hon. Philip E. Harriman, Lebel & Harriman
  • Chet Jordan, Digital Architecture
  • Lisa G. Martin, Manufacturers Association of Maine

Board of Adjunct Fellows

  • Joe Crosby, Council on State Taxation
  • James Frogue, Center for Health Transformation/Gingrich Group
  • James Hamilton, For Our Grandchildren
  • Roy W. Lenardson, Strategic Advocacy
  • Kyle Pomerleau, Georgetown University
  • John Reisman, University of Maine, Machias
  • Dr. Margo Thorning, American Council for Capital Formation
  • Dr. Wendy P. Warcholik, Public Choice Analytics for the U.S. States

Core Financials

2011[20]

  • Total Revenue: $716,761
  • Total Expenses: $855,821
  • Net Assets: $77,883

2010[21]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,071,606
  • Total Expenses: $1,153,631
  • Net Assets: $216,943

2009[22]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,306,093
  • Total Expenses: $1,291,520
  • Net Assets: $298,968

Contact Details

P.O. Box 7829
Portland, Maine 04112
Phone: 207 321 2550
Fax: 207 773 4385
E-Mail: info At mainepolicy.org
Website: http://www.mainepolicy.org/

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. "About Us", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Maine's Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy, "Fooling Maine: How National Conservative Groups Infiltrated Maine Politics by Founding and Funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center", Report, November 2013.
  3. Franklin Affiliates in Your State: Maine, organizational website, accessed November 2012
  4. Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
  5. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  6. Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  7. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  8. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  10. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  11. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  12. Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Maine Heritage Policy Center, "Portland Event - ObamaCare: How Maine Can Fight Back", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  18. American Legislative Exchange Council, Education Task Force meeting agenda and materials, October 28, 2010, on file with CMD
  19. Maine Department of Education, "Commission Bowen", organizational website, accessed January 2013
  20. Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2011 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 14, 2012.
  21. Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2010 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 15, 2011.
  22. Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2009 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, October 26, 2010.
This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.