Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
This article is a breakout from the main article on the State Policy Network (SPN).
SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. 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.
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.'"
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.
Please see State Policy Network for more.
There are 64 "Affiliate Members" of SPN as of August 2016. Below are lists of SPN member state think tanks, associate members, and former members. In the past, SPN had a list of other organizations listed in its directory, but it no longer displays this on its website.
The SPN website states, "Membership in State Policy Network is voluntary and by invitation-only." There are regular members and associate members.
Affiliate Members: "A regular member operates as a full-service think tank, addressing a variety of relevant policy issues, not just a single-issue. They will operate independently with their state, and not as part of a state chapter, franchise, other effort of a separate organization. Their primary goal is to provide educational materials to the citizenry, public officials, and members of the media with a state-based focus. They refuse to accept or solicit government funding, and are IRS approved 501(c)(3)s."
Associate Members: "Like regular members, associate members are organizations that display a commitment to a market-oriented foundational public policy. They are also IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations primarily focused on education and operate independently of all government funding. However, unlike regular members, SPN Associate Members can be national in scope and are not necessarily oriented towards a single state."
"Affiliate Members" include, as of August 2016:
Alabama Policy Institute
Alaska Policy Forum
Arkansas Policy Foundation
Pacific Research Institute
Yankee Institute for Public Policy
Caesar Rodney Institute
James Madison Institute
Georgia Center for Opportunity (formerly Georgia Family Council)
Indiana Policy Review Foundation
Public Interest Institute
Kansas Policy Institute (formerly the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy)
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
Calvert Institute for Policy Research
Maryland Public Policy Institute
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Center of the American Experiment
Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Montana Policy Institute
Platte Institute for Economic Research
Nevada Policy Research Institute
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
Rio Grande Foundation
Empire Center for Public Policy
John Locke Foundation
Cascade Policy Institute
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Great Plains Public Policy Institute
Beacon Center of Tennessee
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Ethan Allen Institute
Thomas Jefferson Institute
Virginia Institute for Public Policy
Washington Policy Center
MacIver Institute for Public Policy
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
"Associate Members" include, as of August 2016:
- 1851 Center for Constitutional Law
- Acton Institute
- America's Future Foundation
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Legislative Exchange Council
- Americans for Prosperity Foundation
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Ashbrook Center
- Association of American Educators Foundation
- Atlas Network
- Ayn Rand Institute
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Benjamin Rush Institute
- Cato Institute
- Centennial Institute
- Center for Competitive Politics
- Center for Education Reform
- Charles Koch Institute
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Citizens Council for Health Freedom
- Compact for America Educational Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Docs4Patient Care Foundation
- Donors Trust
- Energy & Environment Legal Institute
- Eye on Sacramento
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums
- Foundation for Economic Education
- Foundation for Excellence in Educationb
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Free to Choose Network
- Free State Foundation
- Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquin
- Fund for American Studies
- Heartland Institute
- Heritage Foundation
- Independent Institute
- Independent Women's Forum
- Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Truth in Accounting
- Intellectual Takeout
- Jesse Helms Center
- John William Pope Center for Higher Education
- Judicial Watch Inc.
- Leadership Institute
- Liberty Foundation of America
- Lucy Burns Institute
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
- Mercatus Center at George Mason University
- Moving Picture Institute
- National Legal and Policy Center
- National Review Institute
- National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
- National Taxpayers Union Foundation
- Pacific Legal Foundation
- Prison Fellowship
- Property & Environment Research Center
- R Street Institute
- Reason Foundation
- Spark Freedom
- Steamboat Institute
- Students for Liberty
- Tax Foundation
- Think Freely Media
- Young America's Foundation
Former Members include:
- Accuracy In Media
- Advocates for Self-Government
- Allegheny Institute for Public Policy
- Alliance for School Choice
- American Association of Small Property Owners
- American Council of Trustees and Alumni
- American Majority
- American Principles Project
- American Tradition Institute
- Americans for Limited Government
- Atlantic Legal Foundation
- Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights
- Bastiat Society
- Bastiat Society of Charleston
- Bastiat Society of Charlotte
- Bastiat Society of Colorado Springs
- Bastiat Society of Indianapolis
- Bastiat Society of Portland
- Bastiat Society of Sacramento
- Bastiat Society of San Jose
- Bastiat Society of Wichita
- Bastiat Society of Wilmington
- Better Government Project
- Bill of Rights Institute
- Capital Research Center
- Center for Civic Renewal
- Center for Individual Freedom Foundation
- Center for the Study of Popular Culture
- Citizens' Council on Health Care
- Citizens in Charge Foundation
- Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
- Claremont Institute
- Coalition for Connecticut (CFC)
- Common Sense Institute
- Cornerstone Policy Research
- David Horowitz Freedom Center
- DCI Group
- Education Action Group Foundation
- Excellent Education for Everyone
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment (FREE)
- Foundation for Self-Government
- Fraser Institute
- Frontier Lab
- Galen Institute
- Headspring Group
- Institute of the North
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- Just Facts
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Program of the Rockies
- Limited Government Forum
- Lexington Institute
- Liberty Institute
- Louisiana Family Forum
- Maine Public Policy Institute
- Minnesota Free Market Institute
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Institute for Labor Relations Research
- National Tax Limitation Committee
- National Taxpayers Union
- New Jersey Family Policy Council
- New Jersey Family Research Council
- North Carolina Institute For Constitutional Law
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Opportunity Ohio
- Oregon Capital Watch Foundation
- Parents in Charge Foundation
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Promethius Foundation
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Public Policy Institute of New York
- Regular Folks United
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Small Business Hawaii
- Solutions for New Jersey, Inc.
- Southeastern Legal Foundation
- South Carolinians for Smaller Government
- State Budget Solutions
- Taxpayers Network Incorporated
- Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Tuerck Foundation For the Study of Economics, Law, and Humanities
- Utah Taxpayers Foundation
- Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Inc.
- Wyoming Policy Institute
- Youth Entrepreneurs
Other organizations in its directory
As of August 2016, SPN no longer maintains a directory of other organizations on its website.
- American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) Center for Policy Research
- Accuracy in Academia
- Adams Report
- Alliance Defense Fund
- Alliance for Choice in Education(ACE)
- Alliance for Maine's Future
- American Association of Small Property Owners
- American Center for Law & Justice
- American Conservative Union
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Dream Coalition
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Land Rights Association
- Americans for Fair Taxation
- Americans for Free Choice in Medicine
- Americans for Limited Government Foundation
- Americans for Prosperity - Arizona
- Americans for Prosperity - Colorado
- Americans for Prosperity - Georgia
- Americans for Prosperity - Illinois
- Americans for Prosperity - Michigan
- Americans for Prosperity - Missouri
- Americans for Prosperity - NC
- Americans for Prosperity - NJ
- Americans for Prosperity - North Dakota
- Americans for Prosperity - Oklahoma
- Americans for Prosperity - South Carolina
- Americans for Prosperity - South Dakota
- Americans for Prosperity - Texas
- Americans for Prosperity - Topeka, Kansas
- Americans for Prosperity - Virginia
- Americans for Prosperity - Wichita, Kansas
- Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin
- Americans United for Life
- Building Excellent Schools
- California Common Sense
- Center for Union Facts
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Christian Coalition of Alabama
- Citizen Outreach Foundation
- Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania
- Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA)
- Citizens for Limited Taxation
- Club for Growth
- Concerned Women for America
- Congressional Institute
- Consumers for Health Care Choices
- DC Progress
- DCI Group Inc.
- Eagle Forum
- Educate New Mexico
- Education Advancement Fund International
- Education Liberty Watch
- Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Family Action Council of Tennessee
- Family Research Council
- Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
- Florida TaxWatch
- Foundation for Free Enterprise
- Future of Freedom Foundation
- Houston Property Rights Association
- Indiana Family Institute
- Innosight Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Iowa Taxpayer Association
- John Jay Institute
- Justice Foundation
- Kansas Taxpayers Network
- Let Freedom Ring
- Liberty Fund
- Liberty on the Rocks
- Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
- Lincoln Legal Foundation
- Maryland Taxpayers Association Inc.
- Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA)
- Montana Taxpayers Association
- Mountain States Legal Foundation
- National Taxpayers United of Illinois
- Nebraska Tax Research Council
- Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom
- Nevada Taxpayers Association
- Open Government Institute of California
- Oregonians in Action
- Patrick Henry Center
- Pennsylvania Leadership Conference
- Performance Institute
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Property and Environment Research Center
- Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
- Public Service Research Foundation
- Religious Freedom Coalition
- Research Institute for Hawaii
- Rocky Mountain Foundation
- Sagamore Institute for Policy Research
- San Diego Institute for Policy Research
- Searle Freedom Trust
- Students in Free Enterprise
- Susan B. Anthony List
- Taxpayer Association of Oregon
- Taxpayers Federation of Illinois
- Teach New York State (Teach NYS)
- Tennessee for Tax Reform
- Tennessee Tax Revolt
- Tennessee Taxpayers Association
- Texas for Fiscal Responsibility
- The Atlas Society
- The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College
- The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism
- Victims of the Endangered Species Act (VESA)
- Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance
- Wyoming Heritage Foundation
State Policy Network
1655 N. Fort Myer St., Suite 360
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: (703) 243-1655
Fax: (703) 740-0314
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
- Brendan Fischer, Why Are the Franklin Center's "Wisconsin Reporter" and "Watchdog.org" Attacking the John Doe?, PRWatch.org, December 19, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship with Big Tobacco, PRWatch.org, December 16, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Did ALEC Found SPN? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda, PRWatch.org, December 12, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Tracie Sharp: Bursar of Mystery Money and "IKEA Model" Materials to Stink Tanks, PRWatch.org, November 19, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, Reports Expose Extreme Pressure Groups Masquerading as Think Tanks, press release, November 13, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters’ Guide to the "State Policy Network": the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Sara Jerving, ALEC and Heartland Aim to Crush Renewable Energy Standards in the States, PRWatch.org, November 27, 2012.
- Connor Gibson, Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: "Donors Trust" and "Donors Capital Fund", PRWatch.org, October 29, 2012.
- Brendan Fischer, Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2012.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 31, 2011.
- DeSmog Blog, Stink Tanks: Historical Records Reveal State Policy Network Was Created by ALEC, December 9, 2013.
- The Guardian, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, December 5, 2013.
- Portland Press Herald, "Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes," December 5, 2013.
- The Texas Observer, "The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid," December 5, 2013.
- Media Matters, North Carolina Newspapers Largely Ignore Conservative Funding Of Sham Think Tanks, December 3, 2013.
- Shepherd Express, Masters of Manipulation: Right-wing Billionaires, Corporations and the Bradley Foundation Pay for Junk Studies that Prop up Their Agenda, November 27, 2013.
- "Moyers & Company," How a Shadowy Network of Corporate Front Groups Distorts the Marketplace of Ideas, November 19, 2013.
- MSNBC "Rachel Maddow Show," November 18, 2013.
- Free Speech TV "Ring of Fire," Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T and Others Supporting Right Wing Propaganda Machine, November 18, 2013.
- Topeka Capital-Journal, Trabert dismisses report tying KPI to Koch agenda, November 16, 2013.
- The New Yorker (Jane Mayer), Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, November 15, 2013.
- Salon, Ted Cruz and Koch brothers embroiled in shadowy Tea Party scheme, November 15, 2013.
- St. Louis Business Journal, Beyond Sinquefield: Who else is funding the Show-Me Institute?, November 15, 2013.
- The Guardian, Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds, November 14, 2013.
- Huffington Post, Meet The Little-Known Network Pushing Ideas For Kochs, ALEC, November 14, 2013.
- CBS St. Louis, Show-Me Institute’s Ties Questioned in New Report, November 14, 2013.
- Talking Points Memo, Florida Conservative Group Helping Muck Up Obamacare In Alaska, November 14, 2013.
- Mint Press News, Reports Reveal SPN’s Secret Corporate Agenda Through Use ‘Expert’ Testimony, November 14, 2013.
- Media Matters, Shadowy Right-Wing Group Generates Media Coverage For Conservative Policy From Coast To Coast, November 14, 2013.
- The Institute for Southern Studies, Are conservative think tanks breaking lobbying laws?, November 14, 2013.
- Nonprofit Quarterly, Corporate Money in Network of Right-Wing State Policy Think Tanks, November 14, 2013.
- The Progressive, Right-Wing Think Tanks Push Privatization in the States, November 13, 2013.
- Politico, Report: Think tanks tied to Kochs, November 13, 2013.
- Lawrence Journal-World, Reports released by progressive groups are critical of Kansas Policy Institute, November 13, 2013.
- Maine Insights, Report: Maine Heritage Policy Center’s funding connection to Koch Brothers, November 13, 2013.
- The Florida Current, Liberal groups bemoan lobbying by conservative think tanks, November 13, 2013.
- The Oregonian, Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently, November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- Arizona Working Families and CMD, A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Progress Florida and CMD, Lawmaking Under the Influence of Very Special Interests: Understand the role of Florida ‘think tanks’ in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Maine's Majority Education Fund, Fooling Maine: How national conservative groups infiltrated Maine politics by founding and funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Michigan, Who's Running Michigan? The Far-Right Influence of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Who's in Charge: How Nationalized Corporate-Run Think Tanks Influence Minnesota Politics, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Missouri, What Missourians Need to Know About the Show-Me Institute, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Granite State Progress, Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- ProgressOhio, Smoke Screen: The Buckeye Institute, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Keystone Progress, Think tanks or corporate lobbyist propaganda mills?, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Texas, TPPF + ALEC, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- One Wisconsin Now, S is for Shill: Inside the Bradley Foundation's Attack on Public Education, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Pence and Right-Wing Are Taking Over Public Education, November 13, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Shawn Vestal: Idaho Freedom Foundation pushes limits of word ‘charity’, November 2, 2013.
- AZ Central, When this ‘watchdog’ pitches, taxpayers strike out, October 12, 2013.
- IndyStar, Daniels says speech to partisan group was a mistake, October 10, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Indiana Policy Review: Not an Independent News Source, October 2, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Idaho Freedom Foundation's charitable status scrutinized, September 15, 2013.
- CounterSpin, Lee Fang on 'The Right Leans In', April 5, 2013.
- FireDogLake, State Policy Network, an umbrella coordinating ALEC, Heritage, Heartland and others, April 4, 2013.
- Thom Hartmann with Lee Fang on MSNBC, The conservative State Policy Network is sneaking into your state & will change America, March 29, 2013.
- Current TV "War Room", Lee Fang discussing the State Policy Network, March 28, 2013.
- The Nation, The Right Leans In, March 26, 2013.
- Democracy Now, Donors Trust: Little-Known Group Helps Wealthy Backers Fund Right-Wing Agenda in Secret, February 19, 2013.
- Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Consider the Source, February 14, 2013.
- John R. Mashey, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax 2, DeSmog Blog report, updated October 23, 2012, p. 74.
- Urban Milwaukee, Stealth Conservatives, October 11, 2012.
- Rome News-Tribune, ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas, October 2012.
- Andy Kroll, The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions, Mother Jones, April 25, 2011.
- Guidestar, State Policy Network, IRS filings and other organizational information about SPN.
- Center for Policy Alternatives, ALEC and the Extreme Right-Wing Agenda, organizational brochure about ALEC and SPN.
- John J. Miller, Fifty Flowers Bloom: Conservative think tanks — mini–Heritage Foundations — at the state level, National Review, November 19, 2007.
- Bridge Project, State Policy Network, online resource listing grants to SPN and SPN's connections to other groups.
- People for the American Way, State Policy Network, RightWingWatch.org, organizational resource.
- Greenpeace, Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group: State Policy Network (SPN), organizational resource.
- 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.
- Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
- Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
- State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed August 2016.
- State Policy Network, SPN Membership Information, organizational site, accessed August 2011
- State Policy Network, Directory, organizational member directory, accessed August, 2016
- State Policy Network, Member Directory, organizational site, accessed August 18, 2011. The organization has changed its website, and pages listing these members are no longer available.