Compact for America

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Compact for America (CFA) is a Houston-based right wing 501(c)3 non-profit and former associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).[1] It is registered under the name "Compact for America Educational Foundation, Inc" and was formed in the state of Texas on Apri 21, 2014[2] CFA prominently displays its "BALANCED BUDGET COMPACT PROJECT" on its website. A video created by CFA for its Balanced Budget Compact Project proclaims that "fixing the national debt" is necessary for protecting the future of the United States, and advocates for doing so by facilitating states to "AGREE ("COMPACT") TO ADVANCE AND RATIFY A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT BY SERVING AS COMPACT ADMINISTRATOR AND TECHNICAL ADVISOR FOR THE COMPACT FOR A BALANCED BUDGET COMMISSION."[3]

According to CFA's website: "The goal of the Compact for America (“CFA”) initiative is for the states to propose and ratify the powerful balanced budget amendment that is contained in the Compact for a Balanced Budget into the United States Constitution in as little as one session year, with a "do or die" date of April 12, 2021 (when the Compact for a Balanced Budget already joined by the States of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi and North Dakota sunsets)."[4]

CFA has an affiliated 501(c)4 lobbying and "grassroots" organization, Compact for America Action. CFA Action has never had more than $50,000 in revenue between 2012 and 2018 according to its IRS filings.

State Policy Network

CFA is a former member of the 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 August 2020, SPN's membership totals 162. 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.'"[7]

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.[8]

Projects

According to the Compact for America Educational Foundation's website, the organization's major project is the Balanced Budget Compact Project.

Balanced Budget Compact Project

According to the Foundation's website, "Compact for America Educational Foundation is helping the states agree ("compact") to advance and ratify a balanced budget amendment by serving as a compact administration and technical advisor for the Compact for a Balanced Budget Commission."[9]

CFA Education is one of a number of organizations pushing for a constitutional amendment that would force the federal government to have a balanced budget every year, likely resulting in massive budget cuts.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems... By requiring a balanced budget every year, no matter the state of the economy, such an amendment would raise serious risks of tipping weak economies into recession and making recessions longer and deeper, causing very large job losses. That’s because the amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both just when the economy is weak or already in recession — the exact opposite of what good economic policy would advise."[10]

Compact Model Policies for Durable Sub-Constitutional Reform

CFA says it is "developing and supporting new and existing compacts to achieve durable reforms without amending the U.S. Constitution." Drafts of those reforms, including ones that "protect uniformity in firearms transfer freedoms; and enable Western Lands Reform" are "available for review upon signing a non-disclosure agreement."[11]

Fundamental Compact Research

CFA says it is "researching the extent to which compacts can durably "entrench" public policies from state law alteration, attain the status of federal law through congressional "consent," and thereby create the conditions of policy certainty under which individuals and organizations can thrive."[11]

Federalism Curriculum

This CFA project claims to "involves the deployment of a federalism curriculum that is meant to be actionable by public officials, policy analysts and citizens and to change the culture of deference to centralized national control to one of healthy skepticism."[11]

Term Limits and other Article V Compact Payloads, Mods & Upgrades

CFA says that it is "researching and developing new or improved constitutional amendment payloads and modular amendments to tailor our model compact "vehicle" legislation to local conditions or upon unanimous consent of member states."[11]

Drafting Convention Article V Compact

CFA claims it is "researching and developing a compact to bring greater certainty, safety and speed to the drafting convention approach to Article V of the U.S."

Drafts of the compact are "available for review upon signing a non-disclosure agreement."[11]

Core Financials

2018[12]

  • Total Revenue: $163,500
  • Total Expenses: $102,715
  • Net Assets: -$216,916

2017[13]

  • Total Revenue: $57,180
  • Total Expenses: $258,055
  • Net Assets: -$277,701

2016[14]

  • Total Revenue: $336,719
  • Total Expenses: $550,723
  • Net Assets: -$76,826

2015[15]

  • Total Revenue: $675,418
  • Total Expenses: $704,341
  • Net Assets: $112,942

2014[16]

  • Total Revenue: $235,362
  • Total Expenses: $93,497
  • Net Assets: $141,865

Personnel

Board of Directors[17]

  • Thomas C. Patterson, Member, Immediate Past Chairman.
  • Chip DeMoss, Chairman, Managing Director, Tanglewood Capitol Partners, LLC
  • Kevin Gutzman, Member
  • Lawrence Reed, Member Emeritus

Management and Associates

  • Chip DeMoss, CEO and Treasurer
  • John Flores, Secretary/Executive Vice President of Development
  • Sen. Curtis Olafson (Retired - ND), Vice President of State Alliances
  • Greg Brooks, Director of Communications
  • Daniel Fortune, Social Media Manager
    • Nicholas C. Drainias, former President & Executive Director
  • Kevin Gutzman, former Executive Vice President and Treasurer
  • Lt. Col. Stuart Jolly, former Executive Vice President of Development

Advisory Council

  • Lt. Col. Stuart Jolly, former Executive Vice President of Development

Council of Scholars

  • Sam Batkins, Director of Regulatory Policy - American Action Forum
  • Dean Clancy, Vice President of Policy - FreedomWorks 2010-2014
  • Harold R. DeMoss Jr, Senior Federal Judge (retired), U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Nicholas C. Drainias, former President & Executive Director of Compact for America Educational Foundation, policy advisor and research fellow for The Heartland Institute, "expert' with the Federalist Society, speaker for Students for Liberty. Former General Counsel, Policy Development Director and Constitutional Policy Director at the Goldwater Institute[18]
  • John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service at Chapman University Fowler School of Law
  • Jake Jacobs, Liberty Proclamation Education
  • Kevin Gutzman, NY Times Best Selling Author, Chairman and Professor History Department - Western Connecticut State University
  • Rick Masters, General Counsel - Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision, Former General Counsel - Council of State Governments
  • Steve Moore, National Spokesman
  • William "Bill" Norton, Visiting Scholar - Bellevue University, Instructor - Center for Self-Governance, Former National Support Team Constitutional Coordinator, Tea Party Patriots
  • Larwrence Reed, President - Foundation for Economic Education
  • Ben Scafidi, Professor of Economics - Kennesaw State University
  • Byron Schlomach, Director of State Policy, 1889 Institute, Director of the Center for Economic Prosperity - Goldwater Institute (2007-2015]]
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow and Editor-in-Chief, Cato Supreme Court Review- Cato Institute
  • Stephen Slivinski, Senior Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty - Arizona State University, Senior Economist - Goldwater Institute (2009-2014)
  • Kystal Slivinski, Assistant Professor of Economics - Grand Canyon University
  • Baker Spring, Fellow - U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget (2014), Research Fellow - Hillsdale College (2014), FM Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy - Heritage Foundation (1989-2013)

Contact Information

Employer Identification Number (EIN): 46-5469141

Compact for America Educational Foundation, Inc
2323 Clear Lake City BLVD Suite 180-190
Houston, Texas 77062
Website: http://www.compactforamerica.org
Phone: (281).235.8311
Email: nick.dranias@compactforamerica.org
Twitter: @CFAEducation_C3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CompactforAmerica/

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

References

  1. State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed December 5, 2016.
  2. Texas Secretary of State Certificate of Filing Texas State Government] accessed May 28, 2019
  3. CFA Balanced Budget Compact Project organizational website, accessed May 28, 2019
  4. CFA Overview organizational website, accessed May 28, 2019
  5. David Armiak, https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/11/13/revenue-state-policy-network-state-affiliates-tops-120-million/ Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million], ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  6. 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.
  7. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  8. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  9. Compact for America Educational Foundation, Balanced Budget Compact Project, organizational website, accessed December 5, 2016.
  10. Robert Greenstein and Richard Kogan, A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Threatens Great Economic Damage, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 27, 2011.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 CFA project portfolio accessed May 28, 2019
  12. Compact for America Educational Foundation 2018 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 05, 2019.
  13. Compact for America Educational Foundation 2017 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 13, 2018.
  14. Compact for America Educational Foundation 2016 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, August, 2017.
  15. Compact for America Educational Foundation 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, Aug 10, 2016.
  16. Compact for America Educational Foundation, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, July 31, 2015.
  17. Compact for America Educational Foundation, Educational Foundation Team, organizational website, accessed May 28, 2019
  18. Heartland Insititute Nick Drainias organizational website, accessed May 28, 2019