Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

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The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) is a conservative state-based think tank and member of the State Policy Network. The OCPA states that its mission is to "accumulate, evaluate, and disseminate public policy ideas and information for Oklahoma consistent with the principles of free enterprise, limited government, and individual initiative."[1]

News and Controversies

OCPA President Praises President-elect Trump's Pick to Head EPA

In an interview with The Oklahoman, OCPA president Johnathan Small strongly supported President-elect Trump's nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.[2] He stated,

"Pruitt is exactly the kind of leader we need to take on Washington, D.C. He has a track record of challenging the D.C.-knows-best mentality when it comes to protecting our environment and natural resources. The Constitution purposefully limits federal power and leaves control over local lands and businesses in the hands of state leaders. Gen. Pruitt has shown his dedication to restoring this balance between state and federal power."

President-elect Trump nominated Pruitt despite his long record of fighting the organization he will now be in charge of running, “Scott Pruitt has a record of attacking the environmental protections that EPA is charged with enforcing. He has built his political career by trying to undermine EPA’s mission of environmental protection,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.[3]

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

Between 2013 and 2014 the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs received $400,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation for its Liberty Foundation.

Bradley detailed the most recent grants in internal documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). Below is a description of the grant prepared by CMD. The quoted text was written by Bradley staff.

2014: $250,000 to support general operations. According to the Bradley grant proposal, “Last year, Bradley awarded the Liberty Foundation $150,000 for its Competitive Federalism Project (CFP), which attempted to augment and improved state-based efforts to diffuse the influence of the federal government and impact policymaking process… The Liberty Foundation’s CFP well compliments and does not compete with IPA and SPN. SPN, in fact, also financially supports CFP. The Liberty Foundation’s CFP released its major report, Competitive Federalism: Leveraging the Constitution to Rebuild America, early last year. With some success, it then worked to further the concept in specific states and policy contexts.” “On Medicaid in particular… the Liberty Foundation says it targeted 10 states and allied itself with state-partner think tanks in each of them. In six of these states, Medicaid expansion was rejected… In most of the 10 states and with/for its partners, the Liberty Foundation nimbly commission targeted survey research that was helpful in contributing to the discourse about expansion among the public and policymakers. This year, the Liberty Foundation wants to – arguably admirably, quite ambitiously– expand its efforts, on this issue and others… If awarded, by arrangement, this grant would again be matched anonymously by (the Allen Family Charitable Foundation)."

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through its membership in several ALEC "task forces".

Jonathan Small, president of the OCPA, won ALEC's Private Sector Member of the Year award and has represented the think tank on the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. He participated in a panel discussion, "Debunking Tax Myths" at the 2012 Spring Task Force Summit.[4]

Senior Vice President Brandon Dutcher represents the organization as a member of ALEC's Education Task Force as of July 2011.[5]

Former OCPA president, Michael Carnuccio, is a member of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force and Jason Sutton, former Policy Impact Director for OCPA, was also a member of the Health and Human Services Task Force.[6][7]

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.

Funding

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of the IRS filings. Here are some of the known funders of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs:

Core Financials

2014[9]

  • Total Revenue: $2,261,816
  • Total Expenses: $1,811,131
  • Net Assets: $3,494,926

2013[10]

  • Total Revenue: $2,133,193
  • Total Expenses: $2,120,037
  • Net Assets: $3,044,241

Grants Distributed

2012[11]

  • Total Revenue: $1,428,599
  • Total Expenses: $1,859,825
  • Net Assets: $3,026,684

2011[12]

  • Total Revenue: $3,060,027
  • Total Expenses: $1,806,961
  • Net Assets: $3,456,211

2010[13]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,385,424.00
  • Total Expenses: $1,412,168.00
  • Net Assets:$2,205,719.00

2009[14]:

  • Total Revenue: $1,062,784.00
  • Total Expenses: $1,064,986.00
  • Net Assets: $2,217,243.00

Personnel

As of September 2017:[15]

Staff

  • Jonathan Small, President
  • David Autry, Communications Manager
  • Dave Bond, Vice President for Advocacy
  • Jay Chilton, Director, Center for Investigative Journalism
  • Heather Dickinson, Executive Liaison
  • Brandon Dutcher, Senior Vice President
  • Trent England, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
  • Estela Hernandez, Executive Vice President
  • Rachel Hays, Development Director
  • Alex Jones, Communications and Creative Director
  • Arlesha Jones, Development Projects Manager
  • Cody Ray Milner, Policy Associate
  • Hallie Milner, Communications Associate
  • Curtis Shelton, Policy Research Fellow
  • Teresa Yoder, Vice President of Operations

Former Staff

  • Dacia D. Harris, Development Projects Manager
  • Sarah Andrews, Content Marketing Specialist
  • Kenny Yoder, Financial Analyst
  • Steven J. Anderson, MBA, CPA, Research Fellow
  • Tina Korbe Dzurisin, Research Associate
  • Jayson Lusk, Samuel Roberts Noble Distinguished Fellow
  • J. Scott Moody, M.A., Research Fellow
  • Andrew C. Spiropoulos, J.D., Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow
  • Wendy P. Warcholik, Ph.D., Research Fellow
  • Michael C. Carnuccio, President
  • Brian Bush, Executive Vice President
  • Karma Robinson, Vice President for Development
  • Tina Korbe, Policy Impact Director

Board of Directors

  • Larry Parman, Chairman
  • Glenn Ashmore, D.D.S.
  • Robert Avery
  • Lee J. Baxter
  • Douglas Beall, M.D.
  • Susan Bergen
  • John A. Brock
  • David Burrage
  • Michael Carnuccio
  • William Flanagan
  • Josephine Freede
  • Ann Felton Gilliland
  • John T. Hanes
  • John A. Henry, III
  • Robert H. Kane
  • Gene Love
  • David Madigan
  • Tom H. McCasland, III
  • David McLaughlin
  • J. Larry Nichols
  • Lloyd Noble, II
  • Mike O’Neal, Ph.D.
  • Andrew Oster
  • Bill Price
  • Patrick T. Rooney
  • Melissa Sandefer
  • Thomas Schroedter
  • RADM(R) Greg Slavonic
  • Charles M. Sublett
  • Robert Sullivan
  • William E. Warnock, Jr.
  • Dana Weber
  • Molly Wehrenberg
  • Daryl Woodard

Former Directors

  • Blake Arnold
  • Steve Beebe
  • David R. Brown, M.D.
  • Tom Coburn, M.D.
  • Paul A. Cox
  • Henry F. Kane
  • Lew Meibergen
  • Ronald L. Mercer
  • Daniel J. Zaloudek

Contact Information

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
1401 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 602-1667
Fax: (855) 819-0085
Email: ocpa@ocpathink.org
Website: http://www.ocpathink.org
Twitter: ocpa@ocpathink.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ocpathink

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Articles

References

  1. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Our Mission, organizational website, accessed March 2008.
  2. Rick Green, What they said about Pruitt's pick, The Oklahoman, December 7, 2016.
  3. Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, Trump names Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general suing EPA on climate change, to head the EPA, The Washington Post, December 8, 2016.
  4. American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, May, 11, 2012, on file with CMD
  5. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Education Task Force Meeting," agenda and meeting materials, August 5, 2011, on file with CMD.
  6. American Legislative Exchange Council, Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force meeting agenda and materials, June 30, 2011, on file with CMD
  7. American Legislative Exchange Council, Health and Human Services Task Force meeting agenda and materials, June 30, 2011, on file with CMD
  8. Cato Institute, IRS Form 990, 2006, organizational tax filing, February 15, 2007, pp. 19-23.
  9. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS Form 990, 2014, organizational tax filing, October 30, 2015.
  10. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS Form 990, 2013, organizational tax filing, November 14, 2014.
  11. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS Form 990, 2012, organizational tax filing, November 1, 2013.
  12. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS Form 990, 2011, organizational tax filing, November 9, 2012.
  13. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  14. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  15. Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, About, Oklahoma of Council of Public Affairs, 2017.