Talk:Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit

DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors.[1] Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."[2][3]

DonorsTrust Funding

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy received $1,020,000 from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2010 and 2011.

A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated at least $8 million since 2005. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.[4]

Since its inception in 1999, DonorsTrust has been used by conservative foundations and individuals to discretely funnel nearly $400 million to like-minded think tanks and media outlets.[4] According to the organization's tax documents, in 2011, DonorsTrust contributed a total of $86 million to conservative organizations. Many recipients had ties to the State Policy Network (SPN), a wide collection of conservative state-based think tanks and media organizations that focus on shaping public policy and opinion. In 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy released a special report on SPN. Those who received DonorsTrust funding included media outlets such as the Franklin Center and the Lucy Burns Institute, as well as think tanks such as SPN itself, the Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and the Cascade Policy Institute.[5]

Labor relations writers

This was included under the section on open records requests, but I do not know if it is appropriately placed there.

The following are some of the policy staff that have written articles about Labor Relations:

  • Paul Kersey, Director of Labor Policy [6]
  • Robert Hunter, Senior Fellow in Labor Policy [7]
  • Patrick Wright, Senior Legal Analyst [8]

Edit notes

A lot of the material on the page was unreferenced so I have added tags for where citations are needed. Apart from being unnecessary and untidy the graphics can't be edited by others so I think they are better removed.

I removed "The SPN web site, in a section devoted to forming new conservative think tanks, offers a lobbying handbook" as this is more relevant to the SVN page (but without the graphic).

I'll return to do some more later.--Bob Burton 17:39, 28 July 2008 (EDT)


I used images because I couldn't fathom how to put up charts. But then how someone would actually edit them is beyond me: they are the result of my research and reading stacks of IRS documents. The funder graphic reflects that in the source note.

I'm also having trouble adding the references you ask for, when I add them the way I would with Wikipedia, they don't appear at the end of the article, and clicking on them has no effect. I can source all of this but until I figure out this particular kind of wiki code I'm not going to try to add any others.

greg steimel

Hi Greg, thanks for your note. While I appreciate the images are based on your work there are s couple of problems with using them. Firstly, as many of the foundations are already listed in SourceWatch, using the graphic means that the page doesn't link to other articles unless they duplicate the same information elsewhere here on the page. Secondly, over time both the funding and funders will change and then the page will need to be updated. As a graphic can't be edited, we would then have a mixture of graphic and wiki text or have to change the lot over to wiki text format. SO I think is going to be easier to change the information over to wiki format now.

As for for referencing problem, that should be fixed now. I'd forgotten to add the tag that displays the content of the ref tags. If there are other referencing problems, see Help:References or if you don't find the solution there, drop me a note.

Re tables -- here's an example Capital Research Center financial data Cheers --Bob Burton 07:23, 31 July 2008 (EDT)


I've got a day job so it might take a while for me to add all the references but I will do it. And the tables are much the same. Your example honestly, didn't help much. It showed me a table, which I gotta tell ya, I've seen before. But clicking the Edit link didn't help me learn how to produce one. I gave up long ago when it appeared I'd have to add tags on either side of every entry in the table. There's gotta be an easier way.

Anyway, until I figure out that easier way, I can't replace the graphics. Now back to that day job...

greg steimel

Foundations list

Mackinac Funders 2.JPG


  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2011
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006 $2,711,545

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found