Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
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). 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. 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.
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. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
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). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. 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:
- Cato Institute: $40,000 (2006)
- DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund: $1,602,000 (2010-2014)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $15,000 (2014)
- State Policy Network: $231,100 (2012-2015)
- 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:
- 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:
- Stanford D. Swim, Chairman
- Brent A. Andrewsen
- Joseph Kerry
- Brent McKinley
- Mark Stoddard
- Jan M. Zogmaister
- Hal G. Anderson
Gateway Tower West Building
15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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
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