Cascade Policy Institute

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

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The Cascade Policy Institute is an Oregon-based think tank and member of the State Policy Network (SPN). Cascade states as its mission "to develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity."[1]

Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Cascade Policy 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.[2] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[3] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[4][5] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[6]

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).[7] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[8] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[7]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[9] a conservative grant-making organization.[10]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[11] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[12] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[13] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[14] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Cascade Policy Institute has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through their former vice president, Todd Wynn, who is currently the director of the ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.[15][16]

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.


At least one Cascade Policy Institute critic points out that the particular formulations of "individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity" promoted by the institute are similar or identical to agendas commonly favored among large business interests and wealthy individuals. Also noted is the apparent irony of how notions like "free markets and limited government," as promoted by organizations like Cascade Policy Institute, often translate into support for "billions in pork-ridden expenditure, insurance mandates, heavy-handed central planning initiatives, property seizures..., metastatic bureaucracy at local, state and federal levels and massive expansions in law enforcement."[17]



  • Steve Buckstein, Senior Policy Analyst
  • John A. Charles, Jr., President and CEO
  • Kathryn Hickok, Publications Director and Development Coordinator
  • Tina Pisenti, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Sarah Ross, Communications Coordinator

Board of Directors

  • Michael L. Barton, Ph.D.
  • William B. Conerly, Ph.D., chairman of the board
  • Lawrence “Larry” W. Dennis, Sr.
  • Gilion C. Dumas
  • Jon Egge
  • David Gore, co-founder
  • William Udy, finance director


In its 2006 annual report, the Cato Institute contributed $25,000 to the Cascade Policy Institute.[18]

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $943,525
  • Total Expenses: $984,233
  • Net Assets: $442,438


  • Total Revenue: $988,404.00
  • Total Expenses: $976,227.00
  • Net Assets: $483,146.00


  • Total Revenue: $912,019.00
  • Total Expenses: $981,683.00
  • Net Assets: $470,969.00

Contact Information

4850 SW Scholls Ferry Road
Suite #103
Portland, Oregon 97225
Phone: (503) 242-0900
Fax: (503) 242-3822
Email: info AT

Articles and Resources

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External Resources


  1. Cascade Policy Institute, About, organizational website, accessed November 2012.
  2. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  3. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  4. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  5. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  6. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  8. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  9. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  10. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  11. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. "Todd Wynn", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  16. "ALEC Task Forces: Energy, Environment and Agriculture", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  17. Zach Dundas, Cyclists vs ‘Libertarians’ in Portland, personal blog, February 4, 2010.
  18. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  19. Cascade Policy Institute, IRS Form 990, 2011, organizational tax filing, June 28, 2012.
  20. Cascade Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  21. Cascade Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
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