Montana Policy Institute

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 Montana Policy Institute (MPI) is a "free market think tank"[1] located in Bozeman, Montana. The MPI's mission is to help "citizens and decision makers to argue for policies that are based upon a respect for individual freedom, an expectation of individual responsibility, and the notion that government should be the avenue of last rather than first resort."[1] The MPI is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN).

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Montana Policy Institute founded Montana Watchdog. The Montana Policy Institute is listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau".[2] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[3] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[4][5] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[6]

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).[7] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[8] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[7]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[9] a conservative grant-making organization.[10]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[11] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[12] which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[13] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[14] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The MPI has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through the SPN, which is an ALEC member. Additionally, MPI Senior Fellow, Rob Natelson,[15] has authored an ALEC handbook for state lawmakers entitled "Proposing Constitutional Amendments by a Convention of the States"[16]. Mr. Natelson was also invited to speak at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting of the Federal Relations Working Group during its 2010 States and Nation Policy Summit[17].

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, and check out breaking news on our site.


Board of Directors

  • Carl Graham
  • Lisa Hazlett, founder
  • Sam Staley, founding trustee and Chairman
  • David Keene, President, National Rifle Association
  • William Wilson
  • Harry Hyatt
  • Chris Helland, President, Two Rivers Growth

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $593,452
  • Total Expenses: $428,425
  • Net Assets: $269,659


  • Total Revenue: $242,105
  • Total Expenses: $347,747
  • Net Assets: $104,632

Contact Information

67 W Kagy Blvd Ste. B
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 219-0508

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Montana Watchdog

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "About MPI",organizational website, accessed September 2012
  2. Franklin Center,, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
  3. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  4. Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  5. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  6. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  8. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  9. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  10. Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  11. Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Montana Policy Institute,"March 15th Health Care Freedom Panel", organizational website, accessed September 2012
  16. American Legislative Exchange Council,"Article V Handbook"
  17. American Legislative Exchange Council,"Memorandum to Members of the International Task Force and Federal Relations Working Group", organizational mailing, October 28, 2010, obtained and released by Common Cause, April 2012
  18. Montana Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  19. Montana Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.