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The Independent "Women's" Voice? Most Known Donors Are Men

The Independent Women's Voice touts its "independent" brand in reaching potential voters.

But is it even women's voices it is throwing? Let alone independent women?

The reported data from the Federal Election Commission data says no. New research shows that the overwhelming majority of its known donors are men.

Very rich men.

Yes, men have provided most of the disclosed donations to fund election-related expenditures under the name of the "Independent Women's Voice." Read the rest of this item here.

AARP To Drop ALEC after Members’ Outcry

AARP will drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has a long history of peddling bills that harm the interests of retirees and other Americans.

The statement comes just days after the Center for Media and Democracy reported that AARP had joined ALEC and was a sponsor of ALEC's 2016 Annual Conference. AARP joins more than 120 private sector members that have publicly cut ties with ALEC since CMD launched the ALEC Exposed investigation in 2011. Read the rest of this item here.

The Anti-Transparency Agenda Hailed Inside ALEC

WI Senator Leah Vukmir
By Rep. Chris Taylor--I walked into my sixth ALEC conference over a week ago as one of two familiar Wisconsin myths was being told by the queen of the American Legislative Exchange Council, state Senator Leah Vukmir.

It wasn't the one Governor Walker continues to repeat. That's the one where newly elected tea party politicians who had all the power took away workers' rights and faced down thousands of school teachers, firefighters and high school kids (a/k/a "the union bosses," who were actually exercising the First Amendment rights our founding fathers had envisioned). Read the rest of this item here.

ExxonMobil Top Sponsor at ALEC Annual Meeting

ExxonMobil, facing multiple state investigations connected to its funding of climate change denial, is listed as a top corporate sponsor of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting, taking place this week in Indianapolis, Indiana. ALEC has long promoted climate change denial to state legislators, and promotes a legislative agenda of "model" bills designed to protect the interests of its oil, gas and coal funders.

The ALEC meeting agenda includes discussion of a new "model" bill, designed to block implementation of the Obama administration Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution. Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Mike Pence is due to speak at the ALEC event on Friday. Read the rest of this item here.

Black Lives, Blue Lives, and the Fight Over Criminal Justice in America

Tamir Rice
PHILADELPHIA--Two people from Milwaukee took to the national stage at the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to present two very different perspectives on one of the most divisive issues of our time, the shootings of unarmed African Americans by police and civilians.

The conventions took place against a backdrop of traumatic news stories. Read the rest of this item here.

Recent Articles from

Casino Dollars Now Funding ALEC

Centaur Gaming, which runs casinos, horse tracks, and off-track betting parlors in Indiana, was not previously known as a funder of ALEC, but is a Vice Chair-level sponsor of the 2016 Annual Meeting. That’s the meeting where ALEC introduced a draft "model" bill on for-profit fantasy sports "contests."

Centaur's Vice President and head lobbyist has publicly criticized a new Indiana law that would legalize and regulate fantasy sports, saying the $50,000 registration and annual renewal was too pricey. ALEC’s draft bill offers a steeply discounted application fee and requires renewal only once every five years. Read the rest of this item here.

ALEC 2016 Agenda Boosts Charters, Coal, and Other Corporate Funders

The American Legislative Exchange Council will push bills to protect failing charter schools, silence political speech, and obstruct environmental protections in the ALEC 2016 agenda introduced at its annual meeting in Indianapolis.

ALEC faces renewed public attention. As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, Donald Trump chose an ALEC ally, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, as his running mate, while his party’s 2016 platform was clearly stamped in the Koch-fueled ALEC mold. Read the rest of this item here.

Trump Promises Law and Order for an America He Says Is in Crisis

Squadrons of police and Secret Service were mobilized in full riot gear in Cleveland last night for the conclusion of the Republican National Convention (RNC). Even the police horses were sporting face shields.

Although it is true that a small parade of doctors and nurses, armed with stethoscopes, did approach the Quicken Arena, thankfully they were turned back by an army of police who had been imported from across the country. Read the rest of this item here.

Gingrich Audio on Donald Trump

Watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) once again is the source behind breaking news revealing the truth behind the politics on issues in our media and democracy. As reported in ProPublica's story "" What Newt Gingrich Really Thinks of Donald Trump," audio obtained by CMD revealed that VP Finalist Newt Gingrich expressed his thoughts on Trump to Republicans in a private February speech, stating that he believed Trump would lose in a landslide if he didn't change his campaign tactics and calling Trump "an American nationalist" who is "not a conservative." Read the rest of this item here.

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Exposed by CMD

Independent Women's Forum and Independent Women's Voice Use "Independent" Brand to Push Right-Wing Agenda to Women Voters

The Independent Women's Forum and its 501(c)(4) affiliate, the Independent Women's Voice, market themselves to the media and voters as "non-partisan," "independent," and "neutral."

However, a new investigation of the groups by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveals them to be anything but that. Joan Walsh in The Nation broke this story today along with other new details about these not-so independent women's groups.

CMD's Reporters' Guide exposes the groups' leaders admitting to—and boasting about—their true role for what it is: finding ways to sell right-wing policies and candidates favored by their funders to reach independent women voters under the guise of neutrality.

The full CMD Reporters' Guide is available here. Read the rest of this item here.

Expedia Latest to Exit ALEC

The Guardian is reporting that the online travel company Expedia has dumped the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The Center for Media and Democracy has been flagging Expedia's financial support for ALEC and asking activists if they are using Expedia-connected hotel and air travel booking services.

In an email to Common Cause, Expedia confirmed it had severed ties" with the corporate bill mill. Read the rest of this item here.

Featured SourceWatch Article is an interactive wiki website that depends on readers like you to improve content. If you want to help us grow SourceWatch with well documented research and become a volunteer editor, click here for more information.

Excerpts from longer SourceWatch article:


AARP is a U.S. nonprofit organization representing people age 50 years and older, with 37 million members.[1] The national headquarters is in Washington, D.C. with local offices in each state. AARP provides information of interest to older people through publications such as the monthly AARP Bulletin and the bimonthly AARP The Magazine, advocates on public policy issues by doing extensive lobbying, and along with business partners sells auto, homeowners and life insurance, long-term health care insurance, and Medicare supplement insurance.

Federal Lobbying

AARP reported $3,890,000 in federal lobbying expenses in the first half of 2016, and $7,559,000 in 2015.[2]

Read the entire SourceWatch page on the AARP here.


  1. "AARP Profile," Hoovers, accessed July 2016.
  2. Center for Responsive Politics, "AARP," lobbying profile, Open Secrets database, accessed July 2016.

Editors' Pick

Koch Money Trail Reveals Great Interest in 2016 State Elections In WI, OK, and TX

In July, Charles and David Koch held their semiannual meeting with billionaire donors in the rightwing stronghold of Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor, a luxury hotel at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

The national media focused much of its reporting on who Charles Koch has said he is not supporting in the 2016 election cycle: Donald Trump.

Though Koch has previously floated the idea of voting for former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, at this most recent meeting, he told the hundreds of donors who each provide at least $100,000 a year to fund the network: "At this point I can't support either candidate, but I'm certainly not going to support Hillary." Read the rest of this item here.

Revealed: AARP Is Funding ALEC

ALECexposed Logo CMD200px.jpg
AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.

The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016. Read the rest of this item here.

Featured Video

Arizona's NBC 12 and CMD Expose ALEC's Corporate Influence on State Laws

Sunday Square Off, December 9, 2015
Phoenix Arizona's NBC affiliate KPNX hosted the Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director Lisa Graves on the December 6 episode of "Sunday Square Off" to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) effort to push corporate backed model legislation in state legislatures.

Koch Exposed

Follow the Money!

The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.

Read about Koch Funding Vehicles:

Visit Koch Exposed for more.

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We Track Corporations and PR Spin

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch to track corporations.
  • We provide well-documented information about corporate public relations (PR) campaigns, including corporate front groups, people who "front" corporate campaigns, and PR operations.
  • Dating back to when tobacco companies deployed doctors to try to prevent labeling of cancer-causing cigarettes, many corporations use the "tobacco playbook" to hide behind neutral-looking "experts" as well as think tanks or non-profits in their efforts to influence or distort public policy to protect their bottom line or agenda--often a narrow agenda at odds with the broader public interest.
  • This specialized encyclopedia watches those sources and provides detailed information about corporations and special interests, using the collaborative "wiki" platform, like Wikipedia.

CMD relies on concerned citizens like you to keep this research online. You can contribute here.

Please visit SourceWatch's sister websites PRWatch, to read our original reporting, and ALECexposed, to see our award-winning investigation of a corporate front group where corporate lobbyists actually vote as equals with elected legislators on "model" legislation to change our rights.

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Lisa Graves, Executive Director

Praise for SourceWatch!

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."
—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.

"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."

Craig Newmark, Craig's List

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