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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).

News and Controversies

Sutherland Behind Campaign to Rescind Bears Ears Monument

The Sutherland Institute is behind the campaign to rescind Utah's Bears Ears Monument that was established in December 2016 by President Obama.[2] According to Jimmy Tobias, "Sutherland and affiliates have set up a website calling on the federal government to rescind the new national monument. They have produced anti-monument video advertisements. They have organized a petition drive. They have testified before the Utah legislature. They have traveled to Capitol Hill. They have churned out op-ed after op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune and other Utah papers."[2]

The website Rescind Bears Ears can be viewed here.

President Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of monuments created or expanded since 1996.

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

In 2014, the Sutherland Institute received $15,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Sutherland also may have received some of a $1.25 million grant to the American Conservative Union Foundation.

Bradley detailed the most recent grants in internal documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). Below is a description of the grants prepared by CMD. The quoted text was written by Bradley staff.

2015 (Barder Fund): $1.25 million to the American Conservative Union Foundation to work with Sutherland to create a “Family Prosperity Initiative (FPI).” “With FPI, they want to numerically and reliably measure the dynamic relationship between economic and social variables to show the impact of public politics on family health and translate that research into helpful analysis, resources, training, and support that grassroots groups and activists can use to try reversing the negative consequences of changing family structure.” An FPI index report was issued in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Utah.

2014: $15,000 to host the World Congress of Families. Bradley also funded the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society for this annual convention, which will take place in May 2017 in Tbilsi, Georgia under the theme “Civilization at the Crossroads: The Natural Family as the Bulwark of Human Values.” Bradley explains: “In the face of ever-increasing attacks by radical groups that seek to undermine the traditional family, especially in the West, the World Congress of Families represents a significant opportunity on an international scale to affirm the traditional family as the natural, fundamental and most sustainable unit of society” (HCFRS, Grant Proposal Record, 2016).

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Sutherland Institute was a co-sponsor of ALEC's 2012 annual meeting in Salt Lake City.[3] 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 ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org 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.[4] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[5] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[6][7] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[8]

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).[9] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[10] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[9]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[11] a conservative grant-making organization.[12]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[13] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[14] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[15] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[16] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Funding

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

2014[18]

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

2013[19]

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

2012[20]

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

2011[21]

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

2010[22]:

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

2009[23]:

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

Personnel

Staff

As our September 2017:[24]

  • Boyd Matheson, President
  • Rick Larsen, Vice President Development and Communications
  • Stan Rasmussen, Vice President Policy and Operations
  • Derek Monson, Executive Director
  • William C. Duncan, Director of The Center for Family and Society
  • Christine Cooke, Education Policy Director
  • Matt Anderson, Director of the Coalition for Self-Government in the West
  • Teresa Dix, Development Coordinator
  • Kylie Neslen, Assistant to the President/University Outreach
  • Emily Samantha Bleazard, Communications Manager
  • Kelsey Köenen Witt, Manager of Media Relations
  • Pamela Whitmore, Editor
  • Erika Huff, Film Producer
  • Amanda Meyer, Operations Director
  • Kyle Treasure, Office Manager

Former Staff

  • David Buer, Director of Communications
  • Joseph Price, Fellow

Board of Directors

As our September 2017:[25]

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

Former Directors

  • Hal G. Anderson

Contact Information

Sutherland Institute
Gateway Tower West Building
15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Email: si@sutherlandinstitute.org
Phone: 801-355-1272
Fax: 801-355-1705
Website: http://sutherlandinstitute.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sutherlandinst
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/SutherlandInstitute/

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. Sutherland Institute, About Us, organizational website, accessed March 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jimmy Tobias, Awash in Dark Money, A Western Think Tank is Leading the Charge Against the Antiquities Act, Pacific Standard, May 11, 2017.
  3. Sutherland Institute, "ALEC Besieged by the Left", organizational website, accessed December 2012.
  4. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  5. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  6. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  7. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  8. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  10. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  11. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  12. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  18. Sutherland Institute, 2014 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 13, 2016.
  19. Sutherland Institute, 2013 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 14, 2015.
  20. Sutherland Institute, 2012 IRS 990, organizational tax filing, May 15, 2014.
  21. Sutherland Institute, IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, February 4, 2013.
  22. Sutherland Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  23. Sutherland Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  24. Sutherland Institute, Team, Sutherland Institute, 2017.
  25. Sutherland Institute, Team, Sutherland Institute, 2017.