Sutherland Institute

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The Sutherland Institute describes itself as "a conservative public policy think tank committed to shaping Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles," including "private initiative, self-reliance, and family as the fundamental unit of society. The Institute seeks to influence law and society, and provide an effective vehicle for fellow Utahns to influence public policy as well" (emphasis added).[1] It is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella organization for "free market" state think tanks that has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Direct Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Sutherland Institute was a co-sponsor of ALEC's 2012 annual meeting in Salt Lake City.[2] Sutherland also has ties to ALEC through its membership in SPN, which itself is an ALEC member. 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.

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Sutherland Institute has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process.[3] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[4] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[5][6] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[7]

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).[8] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[9] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[8]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[10] a conservative grant-making organization.[11]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[12] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[13] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[14] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[15] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.


The Sutherland Institute 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 Sutherland Institute:

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $3,102,581
  • Total Expenses: $2,114,604
  • Net Assets: $837,408


  • Total Revenue: $2,027,205
  • Total Expenses: $2,332,305
  • Net Assets: -$150,569


  • Total Revenue: $1,424,010
  • Total Expenses: $1,414,353
  • Net Assets: $154,531


  • Total Revenue: $1,309,705
  • Total Expenses: $1,511,379
  • Net Assets: $144,874


  • Total Revenue: $1,453,952
  • Total Expenses: $1,321,873
  • Net Assets: $346,548


  • Total Revenue: $1,335,989
  • Total Expenses: $1,273,550
  • Net Assets: $214,469.00



As our January 2017:[23]

  • Boyd Matheson, President
  • Stan Rasmussen, Director of Public Affairs
  • David Buer, Director of Communications
  • Derek Monson, Director of Public Policy
  • William C. Duncan, Director of The Center for Family and Society
  • Pamela Whitmore, Editor
  • Amanda Meyer, Operations Manager
  • Matt Anderson, Policy Analyst for the Coalition for Self-Government in the West
  • Erika Huff, Manager of Communications
  • Emily Samantha Bleazard, Administrative Assistant
  • Christine Cooke, Education Policy Analyst
  • Joseph Price, Fellow

Board of Directors

As our January 2017:[24]

  • Stanford D. Swim, Chairman
  • Brent A. Andrewsen
  • Joseph Kerry
  • Brent McKinley
  • Mark Stoddard
  • Jan M. Zogmaister
  • Hal G. Anderson

Contact Information

Sutherland Institute
Gateway Tower West Building
15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: 801-355-1272
Fax: 801-355-1705

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. Sutherland Institute, About Us, organizational website, accessed March 2008.
  2. Sutherland Institute, "ALEC Besieged by the Left", organizational website, accessed December 2012.
  3. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  4. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  5. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  6. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  7. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  9. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  10. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  11. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  17. Sutherland Institute, 2014 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 13, 2016.
  18. Sutherland Institute, 2013 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 14, 2015.
  19. Sutherland Institute, 2012 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 15, 2014.
  20. Sutherland Institute, IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, February 4, 2013.
  21. Sutherland Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  22. Sutherland Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  23. Sutherland Institute, Staff, Sutherland Institute, 2017.
  24. Sutherland Institute, Board Members, Sutherland Institute, 2017.