South Carolina Policy Council

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

Follow the money in the Koch wiki.

The South Carolina Policy Council(SCPC) is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research and education foundation. Established in 1986, it focuses on "innovative policy ideas that advance the principles of limited government and free enterprise," according to its website.[1] The South Carolina Policy Council is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN).

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and the United Kingdom. As of June 2017, SPN's membership totals 143. 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.[2]

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.'"[3]

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.[4]

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

South Carolina Policy Council has deep ties to the Koch brothers. The organization has received funding from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, and DonorsTrust. (See below)

As of December 2016, SCPC is listed as a "partner organization" in the Charles Koch Institute's Liberty@Work program.[5]

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The South Carolina Policy Council has a media project called The Nerve.[6][7] The South Carolina Policy Council was listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau".[8] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[9] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[10][11] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[12]

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).[13] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[14] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[13]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[15] a conservative grant-making organization.[16]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[17] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[18] which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[19] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[20] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Funding

The South Carolina Policy Council is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of the IRS filings. Here are some of the known funders of the South Carolina Policy Council:

Core Financials

2015[22]

  • Total Revenue: $587,587
  • Total Expenses: $747,353
  • Net Assets: $442,778

2014[23]

  • Total Revenue: $1,011,002
  • Total Expenses: $825,365
  • Net Assets: $602,544

2013[24]

  • Total Revenue: $747,384
  • Total Expenses: $966,908
  • Net Assets: $416,907

2012[25]

  • Total Revenue: $1,144,999
  • Total Expenses: $1,115,784
  • Net Assets: $636,431

2011[26]

  • Total Revenue: $1,014,882
  • Total Expenses: $1,197,673
  • Net Assets: $607,216

2010[27]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,248,397.00
  • Total Expenses: $1,391,461.00
  • Net Assets: $790,007.00

2009[28]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,426,970.00
  • Total Expenses: $1,257,078.00
  • Net Assets: $933,071.00

Personnel

Staff

As of December 2016:[29]

  • Ashley Landess, President
  • Eric Tilley, Executive Vice President
  • Dave Schwartz, Development Director
  • Melissa Levesque, Development Executive
  • Lauren Mullis, Development Coordinator
  • Barton Swaim, Communications Director
  • Phillip Cease, Research Director
  • Hannah Hill, Policy Analyst
  • Duncan Taylor, Policy Analyst
  • Elisabeth Parker, Research Assistant
  • Lindsay Elliott, Project Manager
  • Winky Zeberlein, Operations Director

Board of Directors

As of June 2015:[30]

  • John Mahoney, Chairman
  • Mary Lou Lineberger, Vice Chairman
  • Philip Warth, Secretary
  • William Lowndes, III
  • Jake Rasor, Jr.
  • Thomas L. Wilcox, Jr.
  • Ashley Landess, President

Former Directors

Contact Information

South Carolina Policy Council
1323 Pendleton St.
Columbia, S.C., 29201
Phone: 803-779-5022
Fax: 803-779-4953
E-mail: info@scpolicycouncil.org
Website: http://www.scpolicycouncil.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scpolicycouncil
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scpolicycouncil

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. South Carolina Policy Council, "About us," organizational website, accessed July 2009.
  2. 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.
  3. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  4. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  5. Charles Koch Institute, Partner Organizations, Charles Koch Institute, 2016.
  6. Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, "Franklin Affiliates in Your State", organizational website, accessed December 2012
  7. Statehouse News Bureaus, Source Watch, accessed March 23, 2012
  8. Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
  9. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  10. Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  11. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  14. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  15. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  16. Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
  18. Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  19. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Cato Institute, IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, 2006, pages 19-23.
  22. South Carolina Policy Council, [paper copy IRS Form 990, 2015], organizational tax filing, October 24, 2016.
  23. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS Form 990, 2014, organizational tax filing, June 30, 2015.
  24. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS Form 990, 2013, organizational tax filing, August 15, 2014.
  25. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS Form 990, 2012, organizational tax filing, August 15, 2014.
  26. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS Form 990, 2011, organizational tax filing, August 7, 2012.
  27. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  28. South Carolina Policy Council, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  29. South Carolina Policy Council, Staff, South Carolina Policy Council, 2016.
  30. South Carolina Policy Council, 2014 IRS 990 Form, South Carolina Policy Council, June 30, 2015.