Common Sense Issues Inc.

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Follow the money in the Koch wiki.

Common Sense Issues, Inc. (CSI) is a 501(c)(4) organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] CSI describes itself as supporting "common sense solutions" to public policy. Based on the issues highlighted on its website, it appears to be anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-Islamic, and pro-free market.[2] The group's website lists its "priority states" as Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[2]

As of June 2014, there was little recent activity on CSI's website or its Facebook page.

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

In 2012, CSI received $50,000 from Freedom Partners, an organization which has been described as "the Koch brothers' secret bank."[3]

Activities

Life and Marriage Movement/Common Sense Issues Coalition

CSI has repeatedly passed money back and forth with another organization, alternately identified as the Life and Marriage Movement and as the Common Sense Issues Coalition.

In 2012, CSI donated $175,000 to another 501(c)(4) organization called Life and Marriage Movement, Inc. (LMMI). According to LMMI's tax filings, this donation was 100 percent of its revenue for 2012. LMMI's address was listed as a post office box in Cincinnati, Ohio, where CSI is based, and LMMI's treasurer was listed as John T. Lind, who also serves as treasurer for CSI.[4] LMMI then listed a donation of $82,000 to Life and Marriage PAC, whose address is a post office box in Alexandria, Virginia.[4]

However, in 2011, the direction of donations was apparently the opposite: LMMI reported a grant of $20,000 to CSI. LMMI's tax filing for 2011 also notes that it had recently changed its name from Common Sense Issues Coalition, Inc.[5]

In 2010, the Common Sense Issues Coalition reported $286,000 in revenue, $195,000 of which was given as grants to Common Sense Issues, Inc.[6] This appears to be almost 60 percent of CSI's revenue for that year.

CSI is listed as a partner on the website defundabortion.org, which states that it is paid for by the Life and Marriage Movement.[7]

Election Spending

2014 Election Cycle

As of June 2014, CSI had not made any filings with the FEC for the 2014 election cycle.[8]

2012 Election Cycle

CSI reported $79,907 in independent expenditures in the 2012 election cycle. This included:

  • $14,970 against Democratic President Barack Obama
  • $27,220 against Heidi Heitkamp, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, North Dakota
  • $31,250 in support of Kevin Cramer, Republican candidate for U. S. House, North Dakota
  • $6,467 in support of Mark W. Neumann, Republican candidate for U. S. Senate, Wisconsin[9]

CSI also donated $175,000 to the Life and Marriage Movement,[1] which reported $18,536 in independent expenditures to support Republican presidential primary candidate Rick Santorum.[10]

2008 Election Cycle

CSI reported $274,221 in independent expenditures in the 2008 election cycle. This included:

  • $247,379 in support of Mike Huckabee, candidate in Republican presidential primary
  • $19,925 in support of Cynthia Marie Lummis, Republican candidate for U. S. House, Wyoming
  • $6,917 against Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President[11]

Core Financials

2012[1]
For the period November 1, 2011-October 31, 2012.

  • Total Revenue: $472,500
  • Total Expenses: $337,584
  • Net Assets: $146,085

2011[12]
For the period November 1, 2010-October 31, 2011.

  • Total Revenue: $40,026
  • Total Expenses: $74,217
  • Net Assets: $11,169

2010[13]
For the period November 1, 2009-October 31, 2010.

  • Total Revenue: $328,386
  • Total Expenses: $525, 690
  • Net Assets: $45,360

Grants Issued

2012[1]

Policy Stances

According to the organization's website, Common Sense Issues, Inc. encourages "awareness, involvement, and citizen action" in the following areas:

  • LIFE ISSUES – "Defending the whole of life from conception to natural death, and defining our humanity by how we apply respect for life to :the handicapped, the helpless, and the least among us."
  • LIBERTY – "Protecting our rights individually and corporately to Freedom of Speech and the free exercise of Religion as guaranteed in the :*U.S. Constitution."
  • ECONOMICS – "Promoting responsible action in cutting burdensome and unnecessary taxes, the reckless and often unaccountable spending which :fuels more taxation, and bringing more transparency to the budgetary process."
  • NATURAL FAMILY – "Defending the value and practicality of traditional marriage as the institution best suited for raising and nurturing :children, for bringing economic stability to communities, and for properly civilizing young adults to the idea of public commitment over :personal autonomy."
  • NATIONAL SECURITY – "Preserving American sovereignty through secure borders and an ordered process of legal immigration, through the :maintenance of a strong, well-trained, and well-equipped military, and through honoring publicly the noble calling of military service."
  • PERSONAL SECURITY – "Defending the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms in defense of their person, their property, and their :Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms."
  • CONFRONTING RADICAL ISLAM – "Standing against the death culture embodied in militant radicalized Islam by educating citizens on the clear :and present threat it poses to America and to all of Western Civilization."[2]

Personnel

CSI does not list its staff or board members on its website. The following were listed in its 2012 IRS filing:[1]

Contact Information

Common Sense Issues, Inc.
8190-A Beechmont Ave., #103
Cincinnati, OH 45255-6117
Phone: 719.216.6232[1]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Common Sense Issues, Inc., 2012 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Common Sense Issues, About Us, organizational website, accessed June 24, 2014.
  3. Mike Allen and Jim Vandehi, "Exclusive: The Koch brothers' secret bank," Politico, September 11, 2013, accessed June 24, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Life and Marriage Movement, Inc., 2012 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.
  5. Life and Marriage Movement, 2011 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.
  6. Common Sense Issues Coalition, 2010 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.
  7. Defund Abortion, About, organizational website, accessed June 24, 2014.
  8. Federal Election Commission, Common Sense Issues Inc, reports index, accessed June 24, 2014.
  9. Center for Responsive Politics, Common Sense Issues, independent expenditures report, accessed June 24, 2014.
  10. ProPublica, Life and Marriage Movement, campaign expenditures report, accessed June 24, 2014.
  11. Center for Responsive Politics, Common Sense Issues, independent expenditures report, accessed June 24, 2014.
  12. Common Sense Issues, Inc., 2011 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.
  13. Common Sense Issues, Inc., 2010 IRS form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 24, 2014.