Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín
Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín is a right-wing 501(c)3 nonprofit established in 2010. It was an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).
The organization's domain is no longer active, but an earlier version of the site is accessible via the WaybackMachine. A page archived on January 17, 2012 states, "Friends of UFM is a newly formed not-for-profit foundation based in the United States. It was established to raise awareness and funds for the students, programs, instruction, and facilities of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. In September 2010, Friends of UFM launched its first fundraising initiative with the Manuel F. Ayau Society. In the coming months it will focus its efforts on other educational and cultural activities at UFM." The organization's Twitter and Facebook pages continue to promote the university as well as free market economics.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín is a private university in Guatemala City, Guatemala which "teach(es) and disseminate(s) the ethical, legal and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons." Founded in 1971 by Manuel F. Ayau, the university is named after the first bishop of Guatemala, Francisco Marroquín. According to the Los Angeles Times:
For nearly 40 years, this private college has been a citadel of laissez-faire economics... Every undergraduate, regardless of major, must study market economics and the philosophy of individual rights embraced by the U.S. founding fathers, including 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' A sculpture commemorating Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' is affixed to the school of business. Students celebrated the novel's 50th anniversary last year with an essay contest. The $200 cash prize reinforced the book's message that society should reward capitalist go-getters who create wealth and jobs, not punish them with taxes and regulations.
State Policy Network
SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2021, SPN's membership totals 163. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.
In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"
A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.
- Total Revenue: $384,892
- Total Expenses: $180
- Net Assets: $56,603
- Total Revenue: $245,736
- Total Expenses: $350
- Net Assets: $30,964
- Total Revenue: $180,699
- Total Expenses: $178,596
- Net Assets: $12,645
- Total Revenue: $172,550
- Total Expenses: $162,008
- Net Assets: $10,542
As of the organization's 2014 IRS tax filing:
- Dane Starbuck, President
- Vidar Jorgensen, Vice President
- Wayne A. Leighton, Secretary and Treasurer
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 27-2852264
Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín
P.O. Box 145
Website: https://web.archive.org/web/20110824034531/http://www.friendsofufm.org/index.php/Main_Page (old)
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Home, organizational website, webpage archived by the WaybackMachine on January 17, 2012.
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, FriendsUFM, Facebook profile, accessed January 3, 2017.
- Marla Dickerson, Leftist thinking left off the syllabus, Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2008.
- David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
- Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
- Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, August 14, 2015.
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, May 14, 2014.
- Friends of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, 2012 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, July 26, 2013.