National Review Institute
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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
The National Review Institute (NRI) is a right-wing 501(c)3 "think tank" founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1991. NRI is based in New York City and is an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).
According to NRI's website:
National Review Institute was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1991 to advance the conservative principles he championed through policy development, public education, and advocacy, and to compliment the mission of National Review magazine. As NRI expands its programs to cities across the country, we have a real opportunity to reach and influence a whole new segment of leaders. As the number of those who knew Bill Buckley personally will inevitably diminish over time, we are keeping alive his spirit and legacy—and introducing him to a new generation of leaders—through our programs at NRI.
Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.
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.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
The National Review Institute has received funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation:
- $11,626 in 2015
- $10,000 in 2010
Nate Mills, NRI's campus outreach and programs officer was a Koch research fellow at the Center for Vision and Values.
In addition to funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, NRI has received a number of grants from the right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation:
- $100,000 in 2015
- $100,000 in 2014
- $20,000 in 2003
- $30,000 in 1998
NRI received $9,500 from DonorsTrust in 2011 and $1,000 in 2010. DonorsTrust, as well as Donors Capital Fund have been described as "two funds that have been closely tied to the Kochs but which obscure the percentage of their grants coming from Koch money." (See here for a complete list of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund grant recipients.)
- Total Revenue: $3,286,106
- Total Expenses: $2,379,195
- Net Assets: $6,072,778
- Total Revenue: $3,963,429
- Total Expenses: $1,298,725
- Net Assets: $6,339,531
- Total Revenue: $519,459
- Total Expenses: $1,157,017
- Net Assets: $4,012,786
NRI's Board of Directors as of December 13, 2016:
- Robert F. Agostinelli, Chairman
- David Bahnsen, Newport Beach, California
- Ambassador John Bolton, American Enterprise Institute
- John Buser, Neuberger Berman
- Lindsay Craig, President, National Review Institute
- Dick DeVos, The Windquest Group
- Jack Fowler, Publisher, National Review
- Rich Lowry, Editor, National Review
- Daniel Mahoney, Assumption College
- Brian Murdock, Strategic Investment Group
- Valerie Schooley, California
- Richard Spencer, Fresno, California
- L. Stanton Towne, New York
- Peter J. Travers, Chase Field LLC
- Karen Wright, Ariel Corporation
- Lindsay Craig, President
- Meredith Bogacz, 1955 Society
- Lydie White, Director Finance and Operations
- Charlotte Sawyer, External Affairs Manager
- Lynn Gibson, Manager MRI Regional Fellows Program and Dallas Regional Coordinator
- Andrew Abramczyk, Regional Coordinator, NRI Regional Fellows Program, NYC
- Christopher Corrow, Regional Coordinator, NRI Regional Fellows Program, DC
- Tim Williamson, Regional Coordinator, NRI Regional Fellows Program, San Francisco
- Nate Mills, Campus Outreach and Programs Officer
- Aaron Robinow, Accounting and Office Manager
- Jason Wise, Regional Development Officer
- Alexandra Zimmern, Events Coordinator
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 13-3649537
National Review Institute
215 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10016
- State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed December 13, 2016.
- National Review Institute, Support Our Mission, organizational website, accessed December 13, 2016.
- 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.
- Progress Florida and Center for Media and Democracy, The James Madison Institute and the Foundation for Government Accountability: Lawmaking under the Influence of Very Special Interests, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- National Review Institute, 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 15, 2015.
- National Review Institute, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, December 10, 2014.
- National Review Institute, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, December 14, 2013.
- National Review Institute, Board of Trustees, organizational website, accessed December 13, 2016.