Kansas Policy Institute
The Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) is a "free market" think tank, one of many listed as members of the State Policy Network (SPN). Both KPI and SPN are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to its website, "Education and fiscal policy represent the bulk of KPI’s work in advocating for free markets and the constitutional principles of limited government and personal freedom."
- 1 History
- 2 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 3 Ties to ALEC
- 4 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 5 Funding
- 6 Core Financials
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Contact Information
- 9 Resources
KPI was founded in 1996 as the Kansas Public Policy Institute and was later called the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy before receiving its current name. Kansas' Flint Hills also lent their name to the Koch brothers' Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. KPI founded the now closed Kansas Reporter, once an affiliate of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
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.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
The Koch brothers have strong ties to KPI. The Charles Koch Foundation, the State Policy Network, Donors Trust, and Donors Capital Fund have all contributed to KPI over the years, all of which have been linked to the Kochs. KPI is also listed as a "partner organization" in the Charles Koch Institute's Liberty@Work program. KPI co-published the debunked Beacon Hill Institute report that ALEC has used for its clean energy standard repeal in Kansas.
Ties to ALEC
KPI's president, Dave Trabert, is a member of ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. Barry Poulson and Jonathan Williams, Adjunct Fiscal Policy Fellows at KPI, are also associated with the same ALEC task force -- Poulson as an advisor and Williams on staff as the task force director.
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 Kansas Policy Institute founded the Kansas Reporter, an online state news website featuring "investigative journalists" funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. The Kansas Policy 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 KPI is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and does not disclose the source of its funding. However, the non-profit has received funding from national organizations, including:
- DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund: $629,599 (2009-2014)
- State Policy Network: $54,600 (2013-2014)
- Charles G. Koch Foundation: $5,000 (2012)
- Total Revenue: $868,559
- Total Expenses: $928,913
- Net Assets: $222,070
- Total Revenue: $936,562
- Total Expenses: $897,883
- Net Assets: $282,424
- Total Revenue: $833,087
- Total Expenses: $889,136
- Net Assets: $243,745
- Total Revenue: $763,402
- Total Expenses: $605,323
- Net Assets: $299,794
- Total Revenue: $573,727
- Total Expenses: $625,557
- Net Assets: $141,715
As of October 2016:
- Dave Trabert, President
- James Franko, Vice President and Policy Director
- Scott Phillips, JD, Development Director
- Patrick Parkes, Fiscal Policy Analyst
- David Dorsey, Senior Education Policy Fellow
- Jeff Romine, Development Officer
- Beth Wasko, Administrative Assistant
Board of Trustees
As of October 2016:
- George Pearson, Board Chair
- David Gibson, Vice Chairperson
- Raul Brito
- Martin K. Eby, Jr., Member Emeritus
- Chuck Mackey
- Phyllis Nolan
- Priscilla O'Shaughnessy
- Robert L. Smith, Jr.
- Nester Weigand
- Kent Garlinghouse
As of October 2016:
- Brian Everist, CEO and President of Intercontinental Engineering
- Mike Garvey, President and CEO of Builders
- David Harvey
- Ethelmae Humphreys, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TAMKO Building Products
- Ron Nolan, Founder of Nolan Real Estate Services
- Nick Powell
- Colby Sandlian
- Jon Schulte, Developer and Partner with Cohen-Esrey Development and Cohen-Esrey Capital
- John Shawver
Kansas Policy Institute
250 N. Water, Suite 216
Wichita KS, 67202
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Kansas Reporter
- State Policy Network
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- American Legislative Exchange Council
- ALEC Non-Profits
- 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
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