The Sutherland Institute describes itself as "a conservative public policy think tank committed to shaping Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles," including "private initiative, self-reliance, and family as the fundamental unit of society. The Institute seeks to influence law and society, and provide an effective vehicle for fellow Utahns to influence public policy as well" (emphasis added). It is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella organization for "free market" state think tanks that has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
- 1 News and Controversies
- 2 Ties to the Bradley Foundation
- 3 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 4 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 5 Funding
- 6 Core Financials
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Contact Information
- 9 Articles and Resources
News and Controversies
Sutherland Behind Campaign to Rescind Bears Ears Monument
The Sutherland Institute is behind the campaign to rescind Utah's Bears Ears Monument that was established in December 2016 by President Obama. According to Jimmy Tobias, "Sutherland and affiliates have set up a website calling on the federal government to rescind the new national monument. They have produced anti-monument video advertisements. They have organized a petition drive. They have testified before the Utah legislature. They have traveled to Capitol Hill. They have churned out op-ed after op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune and other Utah papers."
The website Rescind Bears Ears can be viewed here.
President Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of monuments created or expanded since 1996.
Ties to the Bradley Foundation
In 2014, the Sutherland Institute received $15,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Sutherland also may have received some of a $1.25 million grant to the American Conservative Union 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 grants prepared by CMD. The quoted text was written by Bradley staff.
2015 (Barder Fund): $1.25 million to the American Conservative Union Foundation to work with Sutherland to create a “Family Prosperity Initiative (FPI).” “With FPI, they want to numerically and reliably measure the dynamic relationship between economic and social variables to show the impact of public politics on family health and translate that research into helpful analysis, resources, training, and support that grassroots groups and activists can use to try reversing the negative consequences of changing family structure.” An FPI index report was issued in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Utah.
2014: $15,000 to host the World Congress of Families. Bradley also funded the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society for this annual convention, which will take place in May 2017 in Tbilsi, Georgia under the theme “Civilization at the Crossroads: The Natural Family as the Bulwark of Human Values.” Bradley explains: “In the face of ever-increasing attacks by radical groups that seek to undermine the traditional family, especially in the West, the World Congress of Families represents a significant opportunity on an international scale to affirm the traditional family as the natural, fundamental and most sustainable unit of society” (HCFRS, Grant Proposal Record, 2016).
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.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
The Sutherland Institute was a co-sponsor of ALEC's 2012 annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Sutherland also has ties to ALEC through its membership in SPN, which itself is an ALEC member. Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.
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 Sutherland Institute has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
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). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
The Sutherland Institute 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 Sutherland Institute:
- Cato Institute: $40,000 (2006)
- DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund: $1,602,000 (2010-2014)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $15,000 (2014)
- State Policy Network: $231,100 (2012-2015)
- Total Revenue: $3,102,581
- Total Expenses: $2,114,604
- Net Assets: $837,408
- Total Revenue: $2,027,205
- Total Expenses: $2,332,305
- Net Assets: -$150,569
- Total Revenue: $1,424,010
- Total Expenses: $1,414,353
- Net Assets: $154,531
- Total Revenue: $1,309,705
- Total Expenses: $1,511,379
- Net Assets: $144,874
- Total Revenue: $1,453,952
- Total Expenses: $1,321,873
- Net Assets: $346,548
- Total Revenue: $1,335,989
- Total Expenses: $1,273,550
- Net Assets: $214,469.00
As our September 2017:
- Boyd Matheson, President
- Rick Larsen, Vice President Development and Communications
- Stan Rasmussen, Vice President Policy and Operations
- Derek Monson, Executive Director
- William C. Duncan, Director of The Center for Family and Society
- Christine Cooke, Education Policy Director
- Matt Anderson, Director of the Coalition for Self-Government in the West
- Teresa Dix, Development Coordinator
- Kylie Neslen, Assistant to the President/University Outreach
- Emily Samantha Bleazard, Communications Manager
- Kelsey Köenen Witt, Manager of Media Relations
- Pamela Whitmore, Editor
- Erika Huff, Film Producer
- Amanda Meyer, Operations Director
- Kyle Treasure, Office Manager
- David Buer, Director of Communications
- Joseph Price, Fellow
Board of Directors
As our September 2017:
- Stanford D. Swim, Chairman
- Brent A. Andrewsen
- Joseph Kerry
- Brent McKinley
- Mark Stoddard
- Jan M. Zogmaister
- Hal G. Anderson
Gateway Tower West Building
15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
- Brendan Fischer, Why Are the Franklin Center's "Wisconsin Reporter" and "Watchdog.org" Attacking the John Doe?, PRWatch.org, December 19, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship with Big Tobacco, PRWatch.org, December 16, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Did ALEC Found SPN? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda, PRWatch.org, December 12, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
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