From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to SourceWatch!

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes this wiki, SourceWatch.

Please check out our sister sites, PRWatch and ALECexposed, to read our original reporting and see our award-winning investigations.

Lisa Graves, Executive Director

Click here to keep this research online with a tax-deductible gift today!

Featured Work

Randa Redux: Federal Judge OK's Dark Money Coordination in WI

by Brendan Fischer

Judge Rudolph Randa
Wisconsin candidates can now coordinate with "dark money" nonprofits that accept secret, unlimited donations and run sham "issue ads," under a ruling from the same federal judge who blocked the criminal coordination investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker earlier this year.

If the decision from Judge Rudolph Randa is upheld, some candidates elected this November will know exactly who bankrolled their campaign -- but the public will be left in the dark.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Citizens for Responsible Government, a group tied to Wisconsin Club for Growth, against the Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee's District Attorney, John Chisholm. Judge Randa issued his order before the GAB and Chisholm had even spoken with the attorney assigned to represent them. Read the rest of this item here.

War on Witches: Reagan Judge Denounces Myth of Voter Fraud

by Brendan Fischer

frameJudge Richard Posner (Image by chensiyuan)
Voter ID is “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government,” federal appellate Judge Richard Posner wrote in a scorching dissent published October 10.

“As there is no evidence that voter-impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that the Legislature says it’s a problem turn it into one" that could justify voter ID restrictions, Posner asked.

"If the Wisconsin Legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?” Read the rest of this item here.

U.S. Supreme Court Puts ALEC-Inspired Voter ID on Hold in Wisconsin

by Mary Bottari

US Supreme Court building200px.jpg
With only weeks left in the election, the U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to the implementation of voter ID in Wisconsin for this election cycle.

Voting rights advocates were jubilant, “This is wonderful news and a victory for voters in Wisconsin,” said Andrea Kaminsky, executive director of Wisconsin's League of Women Voters.

Kaminsky and other advocates had challenged Wisconsin’s voter ID law in the courts. Voter ID laws swept the nation after President Obama was elected in 2008 with huge voter turnout in black communities and on college campuses. The American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) and its member politicians helped spread the voter suppression laws, but ALEC subsequently attempted to distance itself from its model Voter ID Act. Read the rest of this item here.

News Corp and Occidental Among Latest Firms to Cut Ties with ALEC

by Rebekah Wilce

Cut Ties to ALEC 200px.jpg
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Occidental Petroleum, International Paper, and are the latest corporations to say they have left the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after a wave of technology companies led by Google and Facebook announced their departures in September.

News Corp. had been a member of ALEC's Education Task Force and Communications and Technology Task Force. Occidental Petroleum, at $24.5 billion in annual revenue, is one of the largest global oil and gas exploration and production companies based in the United States. It had been a member of ALEC's Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force. Read the rest of this item here.

Rolling Stone Report Rocks Koch Industries

by Rebekah Wilce

Rolling Stone logo200px.jpg
A recent Rolling Stone article documenting Koch Industries' "lucrative blend of pollution, speculation, law-bending and self-righteousness" over the last few decades has sparked a string of personal attacks on the reporter, Tim Dickinson, by "" and a point-by-point rebuttal from Rolling Stone.

The Rolling Stone article details the polluting activities, regulatory violations and penalties, and extractive goals of a privately-held company with larger annual revenues than IBM, Honda, or Hewlett-Packard. A company whose predecessor was founded on the design of a "near carbon copy" of another company's breakthrough piece of equipment with "only tiny, unpatentable tweaks" and sold equipment and technology to Stalin's Soviet Union, and which in its current iteration did business with Iran "every single chance they had" between when President George W. Bush branded it a member of the "Axis of Evil" in 2007. Read the rest of this item here.

In Paid Sick Days Fight, Open Records Dropbox Dodge Reemerges in Florida

by Brendan Fischer

Earned sick days-poster200px.jpg
A tactic used by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to evade state public records laws has popped up in Florida, prompting a lawsuit against the Orange County mayor for allegedly using an internet dropbox to dodge transparency surrounding the county's latest effort to thwart paid sick day legislation.

Organize Now, with assistance from the Florida First Amendment Foundation, filed a lawsuit last month against Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, alleging her office has used the cloud-based file sharing service Dropbox to undermine the Sunshine State's sunshine laws. Organize Now's Executive Director Stephanie Porta suspects that Mayor Jacobs not only deleted public records, but also may have given non-county employees -- like lobbyists -- access to files that were kept hidden from the public.

The increasing use of technology like Dropbox pose new issues for open government. Read the rest of this item here.

Recent Articles from

WI Attorney General's Latest Attack on Transparency Reeks of Partisanship

by Brendan Fischer

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's refusal to defend the Government Accountability Board in a federal lawsuit challenging the investigation into Governor Scott Walker and his allies is a reversal of his office's earlier position, could have grave implications for openness in the state, and undermines the GAB's role in enforcing the state's campaign finance laws. It isn't the first time that Van Hollen has put politics above government transparency.

Last week, Van Hollen refused to defend the GAB in a [federal lawsuit filed by a group tied to Eric O'Keefe, a target of the investigation. Read the rest of this item here.

Justices in Walker Criminal Probe Face Conflicts of Interest

by Brendan Fischer

The Wisconsin Supreme Court could decide the future of the criminal investigation into Governor Scott Walker and independent electoral groups, but some of the justices are faced with a significant conflict of interest: two of the groups under investigation have been the dominant spenders in Wisconsin Supreme Court elections in recent years, spending over $10 million to elect the Court's Republican majority.

Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) played a key role in electing the four justices in the majority, in most cases spending more than the candidates themselves.

A bipartisan group of prosecutors allege that the Walker campaign illegally coordinated fundraising and expenditures with WiCFG and WMC (and perhaps other groups) during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Read the rest of this item here.

The Ghost in the GMO Machine

by Paul Koberstein, Cascadia Times

The bodies and minds of children living on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i are being threatened by exposure to chlorpyrifos, a synthetic insecticide that is heavily sprayed on fields located near their homes and schools.

For decades, researchers have been publishing reports about children who died or were maimed after exposure to chlorpyrifos, either in the womb or after birth. While chlorpyrifos can no longer legally be used around the house or in the garden, it is still legal to use on the farm. But researchers are finding that children aren't safe when the insecticide is applied to nearby fields.

Like a ghost drifting through a child's bedroom window, the airborne insecticide can settle on children’s skin, clothes, toys, rugs, and furnishings. Read the rest of this item here.

Yelp, Facebook, Google Are Latest Tech Companies to Drop ALEC

by Mary Bottari

Grassroots campaigners are on a roll, as first Microsoft, then Google, Facebook and now Yelp have caved to public pressure to drop their membership in the controversial corporate bill mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Next in their sights: Yahoo and Ebay.

ALEC, which generated or disseminated voter suppression legislation, “Stand Your Ground” laws, and measures to dismantle unions as well as preempt minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, is now in hot water for its “free market” agenda to promote fossil fuels and cook the planet. Read the rest of this item here.

In Wisconsin, a Push for Voter ID Law, But Not Voter IDs

by Brendan Fischer

In May of 2011, Wisconsin Republicans took the rather extraordinary step of stopping work on the budget to pass a voter ID bill in advance of the recall elections. Earlier this year, Walker vowed to call the legislature back into session to pass a new voter ID law if courts didn't ultimately uphold the measure, which lower courts had blocked.

Yet now that the voter ID law has been reinstated, Walker and legislative Republicans have, thus far, declined to make any effort to mitigate the law's negative impact on the 300,000 voters who don't have the forms of ID required under the law. Most of those who don't have ID are people of color and students -- which happen to be populations that tend to vote for Democrats. Read the rest of this item here.

Koch-Backed Small Biz Group Endorses Walker

by Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has endorsed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for reelection.

No surprise here.

The NFIB purports to represent small business, but receives much of its funding from big business interests including the Kochs, the far-right Bradley Foundation, and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS -- which are the same groups that have long supported Walker.

The NFIB uses those funds to fight paid sick days for workers, fight the expansion of health care, and fight efforts to raise the minimum wage at the state level. NFIB claims to be bipartisan but 90 percent of its donations go to Republican candidates -- when small business owners themselves are split evenly between Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Read the rest of this item here.

Getting Started on SourceWatch

Looking for somewhere to start?

You can read any SourceWatch article without registering, but if you would like to improve our articles or add new ones, you need to register here. You will be asked to provide an email address to verify that you are a real person and not a computer spamming links to other sites, but your email address will not be shown publicly on your user page. You will also be asked to create a user name, which can be your own name or a pen name. And, if you'd like, you can edit your user page to let readers know more about yourself, your work on SourceWatch, and your research interests -- but that is not required. Once you are registered, you will also be able to contact other editors through their user pages. If you do not wish to register but do want to contact us, you can use the addresses at the bottom of this page.

You can search for existing articles to improve using the search box, but please note that the search feature differentiates words and phrases with capital letters from those that are lower case. Please also visit the pages on our purpose, our tips on editing and citing authoritative sources, and our FAQs for help.

Thank you, in advance, for helping to make SourceWatch even stronger!

Editors' Pick

New Report!

Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America's Public Services

Maggots, drug smuggling, sex with inmates. As if the news were not already bad enough, shocking new allegations of a murder-for-hire plot are emerging from Michigan as the media digs deeper into that state’s failed outsourcing of prison services.

In 2013, Governor Rick Snyder invited the Philadelphia- based for-profit company Aramark to take over food services in the state’s prisons. The action was a 180-degree change in course, as the administration previously rejected all such bids on the grounds that none of the proposals would save the state money. The $570,000 Aramark spent on lobbying surely helped the company persuade the administration to change its mind.

Since Aramark took over Michigan’s $145 million food service contract – eviscerating the stable middle class jobs of some 370 public workers – one stomach churning scandal followed another. The state fined Aramark $98,000 in March for food shortages, “unauthorized menu substitutions” and sexual relations between kitchen workers and inmates, and another $200,000 in August after problems persisted.

All the while, the Snyder administration has stood behind the company and the state prison director secretly waived the $98,000 fine soon after it was imposed. Perhaps Snyder will reconsider this position given new allegations that an Aramark worker has asked a prisoner to assist him with the murder of another inmate. Read the full report at Outsourcing America Exposed.

Walmart’s Spin on Workers and Manufacturing Exposed

Walmart exterior200px.jpg
In response to the increasing media interest around the business practices of America's largest employer and retailer, the Center for Media and Democracy launched a new web resource on Walmart that fact checks the company’s advertisements and statements. Using the model of, Walmart’s profile in SourceWatch details Walmart’s employee pay and policies, its PR on veterans, its lobbying and political contributions, environmental impact and its spin on domestic sourcing. The site also includes a section analyzing the impact that the company’s business practices on shoppers.

Read the rest of this item here.
Visit the Walmart SourceWatch page for more!

Follow the Money! Wiki Resource

The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.

Read about Koch Funding Vehicles:

The Kochs' Anti-Civil Rights Roots

Vist Koch Exposed for more.

Watch the Video!

Watch Lisa Graves talk about her new article, "The Koch Cartel: Their Reach, Their Reactionary Agenda and Their Record."

Read the article here.

Featured SourceWatch Article is an interactive wiki website that depends on readers like you to improve content. If you want to help us grow SourceWatch with well documented research and become a volunteer editor, click here for more information.

Generation Opportunity

Excerpt from a longer SourceWatch article on Generation Opportunity:

Generation Opportunity (GenOp) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization based in Arlington, Virginia funded by Freedom Partners, a multimillion dollar Koch-tied funding vehicle. On the group's website, its describes itself as "a free-thinking, liberty-loving, national organization of young people promoting the best of Being American: opportunity, creativity and freedom."[1] According to OpenSecrets, "[i]n the three years for which tax information is available, Generation Opportunity has raised almost 86 percent of its funds from just two Koch-linked nonprofits."[2] In 2014, Generation opportunity has spent big money in Senate races against three Democrats: Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO). Mary Bottari reported on that, "Gen Opp spent a total of $900,000 against Udall, $825,000 against Hagan, and $550,000 against Landrieu, bringing the ad buy to $2.275 million."[3]

2014 Election Cycle Ad Buys

”Shopping spree” ad that ran against Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado.
Generation Opportunity, a 501(c)(4) organization, has launched ad buys in several targeted Senate races in 2014, including ads against Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Udall (D-CO), costing over $2 million.

The organization has launched two basic ads in multiple states. One ad, used against Landrieu and Udall, caricatures the senators. In the ad, the two are played by actors and are depicted as children in a shopping cart, who appear to be gleefully overspending on unnecessary items. The ad criticizes their votes on government spending, claiming they are footing younger generations with the bill.[4][5]

Read the entire SourceWatch page on Generation Opportunity here (including source citations).


  1. Generation Opportunity, Who We Are, organizational website, accessed May 24, 2013.
  2. Viveca Fox, "GenOpp, Too: Another Group Almost Wholly Funded by Koch Network," OpenSecrets, May 13, 2014. Accessed June 5, 2014.
  3. Mary Bottari, Koch-Tied Youth Group Weighs in on Senate Races, "PR Watch" July 3, 2014.
  4. Generation Opportunity, $900k Colorado Ad Buy Puts Grassroots Pressure On Senator Mark Udall,, June 25, 2014.
  5. Generation Opportunity, Generation Opportunity Launches New Ad Campaign In North Carolina,, June 11, 2014.

Web Resource on Outsourcing & Privatization

CMD Launches to "Expose the Private Companies Behind the Corporate Takeover of Public Services"

by PRW Staff

Outsourcing America Exposed
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of the award-winning, launched, a web resource devoted to helping taxpayers identify the corporations seeking to privatize public assets and services in their communities: including their schools, roads, prisons, drinking water, court systems, and more.

CMD has unveiled corporate profiles of America’s most notorious corporations that are quietly working with state and local lawmakers to take over public services with little accountability, along with in-depth examinations of the CEOs personally profiting from this corporate coup.

Read the profiles on featured privatizers:

Read the rest of this press release here.


Reporters' Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute

by Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer

A-Reporters-Guide-to-Rex-Sinquefield cover200px.jpg
The Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Missouri released a new report on April 29 entitled, "Reporters' Guide to Rex Sinquefield and the Show-Me Institute," that should be an eye-opener for Missouri residents and national press.

"Sinquefield is one of the top right-wing political funders in the country, and the single top political spender in Missouri, where he has spent at least $31.5 million since 2006 seeking to reshape Missouri laws, legislators, and policies according to his own ideological mold," said co-author Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy/The Progressive. 

Read the full report here

Featured Video

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back

Popular SourceWatch Articles

SourceWatch's home page is the top landing page in this website. Here are some of the other hot pages:

Subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Spin, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @PRwatch and @ALECexposed."

If you would like to help in other ways, please take a look at some of our earlier citizen journalism projects here.

Praise for SourceWatch!

Here's what they're saying about SourceWatch:

"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."
Craig Newmark, Craig's List

"A truly impressive project based on cutting edge web technology."
David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."

—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.

Sign up for news and updates from the Center for Media and Democracy

Disclaimer: SourceWatch is part of the Center for Media and Democracy—email the publisher of SourceWatch, CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, via lisa AT You can also contact our Editor, Friday Thorn, via friday_thorn AT

Antispam note: To avoid attracting spam email robots, email addresses on SourceWatch are written with AT in place of the usual symbol, and we have removed "mail to" links. Replace AT with the correct symbol to get a valid address. Read the full disclaimer.