John Locke Foundation

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The John Locke Foundation (JLF) is a right-wing pressure group based in North Carolina. It describes itself as "an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina."[1] It is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN). An August 2013 board document of the related group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) alleges that JLF is a "former SPN member,"[2] but the SPN website still lists it as a full member as of December 2013,[3] and a July 2013 JLF fundraising proposal to Searle Freedom Trust was included in a packet of SPN proposals in August 2013.[4]

Connections to Art Pope

The John Locke Foundation receives around 80 percent of its funding from Art Pope, who controls the institute's agenda from its board of directors. It received over $2.5 million from the Pope family foundation in fiscal years 2010-2011.[5] From its founding in the early 1990s until 2006, "the organization was not taken seriously," according to one North Carolina political figure, but when Pope gained control of his family's fortune in 2006 he began to invest significantly in the organization as he aimed to gain a voice in North Carolina conservative policy circles.[6]

A New Yorker exposé explains that Pope invests not only in the Foundation, but in state-level political elections and other non-profit institutions designed to make his takeover of the North Carolina GOP complete. Marc Farinella, an adviser to North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, commented that "The Republican agenda in North Carolina is really Art Pope’s agenda. He sets it, he funds it, and he directs the efforts to achieve it. The candidates are just fronting for him. There are so many people in North Carolina beholden to Art Pope—it undermines the democratic process.”[6]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The John Locke Foundation has ties to several of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "task forces." Staff members Daren Bakst, Director of Legal and Regulatory Studies, and Fergus Hodgson, Director of Fiscal Policy Studies, sit on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force and the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, respectively.[7][8] Mr. Bakst gave a presentation to the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at ALEC's 2010 annual meeting: “The Limits of EPA Regulatory Power."[9]

John Coletti, Director of Health and Fiscal Policy Studies, represents John Locke on the Health and Human Services Task Force.[10] Coletti has sponsored model legislation (the "Patients First Medicaid Reform Act") and has made presentations to the task force.[11][12]

Director of Regulatory Studies, Jon Sanders, was a member of the now defunct Public Safety and Elections Task Force[13] and Director of Education Studies, Terry Stoops, is a member of the Education Task Force.[14]

An August 2013 ALEC board document obtained by The Guardian lists the John Locke Foundation as having been part of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force and the Education Task Force, but as having terminated its membership on May 11, 2013, although it "would like to join again if can fit in budget."[2]

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 John Locke Foundation is listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau".[15] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[16] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[17][18] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[19]

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).[20] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[21] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[20]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[22] a conservative grant-making organization.[23]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[24] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[25] which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[26] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[27] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

The John Locke Foundation and global warming

In July 2007, the John Locke Foundation released a report authored by Joel Schwartz (a climate change skeptic then at the American Enterprise Institute), titled, "A North Carolina Citizen's Guide to Global Warming." [28] In the report, Schwartz claims that [Al] "Gore's brand of over-the-top climate hysteria has nothing to do with reality"; and that "Most of the greenhouse effect is natural and is due to water vapor naturally in the atmosphere, as well as natural levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and a few other greenhouse gases." [29]

In a 2010 investigation by the Institute for Southern Studies, the John Locke Foundation was found to be one of the most outspoken climate skeptics in North Carolina, working in concert with other groups funded by the Koch Brothers and Art Pope to creation the illusion of disagreement about the fundamentals of climate science. Examples cited by the Institute include:[30]

  • In 2005, shortly after legislation addressing climate change was first introduced at the General Assembly, the foundation released a public policy statement titled "Global Warming Policy: NC Should Do Nothing," which claimed that climate science remains "unsettled."
  • In 2007, as North Carolina began working on ways to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions, it turned for technical assistance to the Center for Climate Strategies, a nonprofit group of scientists, engineers, business strategists and policy experts that has worked with governments in the U.S., Mexico and Canada on tackling climate change issues. In response, the Locke Foundation launched a series of attacks on the Center, charging that it was founded by an "environmental advocacy group known to take alarmist positions on global warming" -- when in fact it was founded by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a business-friendly group whose directors have included representatives of Reliant Energy, Dow, and the Academy of Natural Sciences. Locke has also teamed up with the Heartland Institute -- a climate-skeptic group that's been financed by the Kochs -- to hold a conference call during which Locke's research director accused the Center of peddling false assumptions like the idea that "carbon dioxide emission reduction is the solution to global warming."
  • Also in 2007, the Locke Foundation released a policy report titled "A North Carolina Citizen's Guide to Global Warming," assuring readers that the "alarming view" of global warming does not represent the scientific consensus. It went on to assert that "[m]ost of the greenhouse effect is natural and is due to water vapor naturally in the atmosphere, as well as natural levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and a few other greenhouse gases." The report was written by Joel Schwartz, who at the time was a visiting scholar at the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute.
  • In addition, Locke has questioned mainstream climate science through a series in the Carolina Journal, the foundation's monthly newspaper, and opinion pieces published by its staff in other outlets, like the 2006 American Spectator article in which Locke editor Paul Chesser accused Christian climate activists of "Biblical illiteracy" and warned that "God has some serious global warming of His own planned." It's also spread its message of doubt through speaking engagements by climate science skeptic Pat Michaels, a climatologist who left the University of Virginia under a cloud of controversy over his industry funding and contrarian views to become a fellow at the Koch-founded and funded Cato Institute, as well as through its Carolina Journal radio show, which has discussed topics like "the biases that help convince global warming alarmists that their cause deserves so much attention."

In 2007, North Carolina passed Senate Bill 3 to adopt a minimum requirement for the use of renewable energy sources by investor-owned electric utilities. The bill requires that 12.5 percent of all electricity sold in the state by 2020 must come from renewable sources or improved efficiency. The John Locke Foundation would like to do away with it altogether, according to the group's 2010 climate agenda.[30]

The John Locke Foundation and renewable energy

In December 2011, Facing South reported that representatives of the American Legislative Exchange Council, American Tradition Institute and the John Locke Foundation were holding forums in the North Carolina coastal communities of Wilmington and Morehead City titled, "The Truth About Wind Power on the Coasts of North Carolina". N. C. Senate Bill 3, a law that passed in 2007, made the state the first in the Southeast to adopt a minimum requirement for the use of renewable energy sources by investor-owned electric utilities: 12.5 percent by 2025. The groups dismissed the law as an energy tax on the poor. The John Locke Foundation is calling for repealing it entirely, as well as abandoning all state efforts to address global warming.[31]

The John Locke Foundation and the tobacco industry

JLF has received funding from Phillip Morris (PM), and the former president of the JLF sat on the National Advisory Board of a front-group set up by Phillip Morris called the "National Smokers Alliance."

A February 2, 2000 letter from RJR Tobacco Company's Executive VP, External Relations, Tommy Payne to the JDL reads, in part, "Please find enclosed a check in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) made payable to the John Locke Foundation." [32]

A June 30, 1994 Philip Morris document lists Marc Rotterman, the former president of the John Locke Foundation, as a Member of the National Board of Advisors for the National Smokers Alliance, a front-group set up by Phillip Morris. [33][34]

An August, 1994 article written by JLF President, John Hood, in Consumer Research argues for "free-choice" for tobacco users and the loosening of restrictions on tobacco use. [35]

JDL received $5,000 in funding from PM for "public policy" work in 1998 according to the company's 1998 public policy contributions records. [36]

According to the November, 2000 edition of "Issues Watch" the JLF received funding from RJ Reynolds in 1996 for "works to improve public policy debate in North Carolina." [37]

Funding

On its website JLF states that it is a 501(c)(3) "non-profit, nonpartisan think tank supported entirely from voluntary contributions. JLF does not and would not accept government funds. It has received support from nearly 1,500 individuals, businesses, and foundations." [38] JLF does not disclose its corporate or foundation funders.

Media Transparency state that JLF has received $449,559 (unadjusted for inflation) in grants in the 1995-2006 period from a number of foundations including[39]:

While JLF does not disclose who its corporate funders are, some of its funding has come from the tobacco industry.

Personnel

Board of Directors

  • Herb B. Berkowitz
  • Bruce M. Babcock
  • Charlie Carter
  • Dr. James S. Fulghum III, M.D.
  • Charles F. Fuller
  • William T. Graham
  • Robert L. Luddy
  • Dr. Assad Meymandi, M.D.
  • Baker A. Mitchell, Jr.
  • Carl Mumpower
  • Thomas H. Roberg
  • David M. Stover
  • J. M. Bryan Taylor
  • Andy Wells

Staff, Fellows, and Scholars

  • John Hood, President

Research Division

  • Dr. Roy Cordato
  • Julie Gilstrap
  • Fergus Hodgson
  • Jon Sanders
  • Dr. Michael Sanera
  • Dr. Terry Stoops

Communications/Carolina Journal

  • Don Carrington
  • Jon Ham
  • Rick Henderson
  • Mitch Kokai
  • Michael Lowrey
  • Donna Martinez
  • Barry Smith
  • Dan Way

Events & Outreach

  • Becki Gray
  • Dr. Troy Kickler

Administration

  • Page Cox
  • Katelynd Day
  • Tracey McCaskill
  • Kory Swanson

Core Financials

2011[40]

  • Total Revenue: $3,446,927
  • Total Expenses: $3,401,906
  • Net Assets: $600,823

2010[41]:

  • Total Revenue: $3,898,632
  • Total Expenses: $3,644,714
  • Net Assets: $555,648

2009[42]:

  • Total Revenue: $3,898,632
  • Total Expenses: $3,644,714
  • Net Assets: $555,648

2008[43]:

  • Total Revenue: $3,624,086
  • Total Expenses: $3,549,208
  • Net Assets: $301,730

Contact Details

200 West Morgan St.
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
Phone: (919) 828-3876
Website: http://www.johnlocke.org/

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. John Locke Foundation, "About the John Locke Foundation", accessed November 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting Board Meeting packet, organizational documents, August 6, 2013, released by The Guardian December 3, 2013.
  3. State Policy Network, Directory: North Carolina, organizational website, accessed December 2013.
  4. State Policy Network, Searle Tax and Budget Grant Proposals, organizational fundraising proposal packet, July 29, 2013, obtained and released by The Guardian December 5, 2013.
  5. John William Pope Foundation, Grants, organizational website, accessed February 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jane Mayer, "State For Sale," The New Yorker, October 10, 2011.
  7. "About JLF Research: Daren Bakst", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  8. "About JLF Research: Fergus Hodgson", organizational website, accessed November 2012
  9. American Legislative Exchange Council, Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force meeting agenda and materials, July 1, 2010, on file with CMD
  10. American Legislative Exchange Council, Health and Human Services Task Force meeting agenda and materials, June 30, 2011, on file with CMD
  11. American Legislative Exchange Council, Health and Human Services Task Force meeting agenda and materials, July 1, 2011, on file with CMD
  12. American Legislative Exchange Council, Health and Human Services Task Force meeting agenda and materials, March 31, 2011, on file with CMD
  13. American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety and Elections Task Force meeting agenda and materials, June 30, 2011, on file with CMD
  14. American Legislative Exchange Council, Education Task Force meeting agenda and materials, July 1, 2011, on file with CMD
  15. Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
  16. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  18. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  19. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  21. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  22. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  23. Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  24. Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
  25. Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  26. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  27. Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  28. "Policy Reports: A North Carolina Citizen's Guide to Global Warming," John Locke Foundation website, July 25, 2007.
  29. Joel Schwartz, "Policy Reports: A North Carolina Citizen's Guide to Global Warming (pdf)," John Locke Foundation, July 2007.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Sue Sturgis, "A Pope of climate denial" Facing South, October 26, 2010.
  31. Sue Sturgis, "Climate-science deniers join forces against NC renewable-energy program" Facing South, December 9, 2011.
  32. T.J. Payne, Letter, Bates Number 522493786, February 2, 2000.
  33. Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, "National Smokers' Alliance Exposed", undated, accessed November 2007.
  34. "NSA National Board of Advisors", Bates Number 2047870829, June 30, 1994.
  35. J. Hood, "Anti-Smoking War Could Deny Consumers Choice", Consumer Research, John Locke Foundation, Bates Number 2503017203, June 1994.
  36. Philip Morris, "980000 Public policy Contributors", Bates Number 2065243965, December 17, 1998.
  37. Issues Watch, Tobacco industry sponsorship in the United States", Bates Number 2078871332, November 1, 2000.
  38. John Locke Foundation, "Support Us", accessed November 2007.
  39. "John Locke Foundation", Media Transparency, accessed November 2007.
  40. John Locke Foundation, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 13, 2012.
  41. John Locke Foundation, IRS form 990, 2011. GuideStar.
  42. John Locke Foundation, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  43. John Locke Foundation, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.