Maryland Public Policy Institute

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The Maryland Public Policy Institute (MPPI) is a right wing "public policy research and education organization" that describes its mission as "to formulate and promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society."[1] MPPI is a member of the State Policy Network.

Ties to the State Policy Network

MPPI is a 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 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.'"[4]

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.[5]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

MPPI adjunct staff member Wendell Cox was the director of public policy of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for three years.[6]

Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.

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.

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

Maryland Public Policy Institute is listed as hosting Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "investigative journalists." [7] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[8] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[9][10] On it's website, the Franklin Center claims that it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide." [11] The Maryland Public 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.[12] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[13] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[14][15] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[16]

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).[17] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[18] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[17]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[19] a conservative grant-making organization.[20]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[21] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[22] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[23] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[24] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Funding

MPPI is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:

Core Financials

2018[25]

  • Total Revenue: $327,234
  • Total Expenses: $669,903
  • Net Assets: $63,126

2017[26]

  • Total Revenue: $889,311
  • Total Expenses: $406,308
  • Net Assets: $405,795

2016[27]

  • Total Revenue: $383,127
  • Total Expenses: $348,383
  • Net Assets: $-77,208

2015[28]

  • Total Revenue: $276,823
  • Total Expenses: $300,175
  • Net Assets: $-111,952

2014[29]

  • Total Revenue: $180,020
  • Total Expenses: $268,797
  • Net Assets: $-88,777

2013[30]

  • Total Revenue: $169,226
  • Total Expenses: $231,424
  • Net Assets: $177

2012[31]

  • Total Revenue: $201,411
  • Total Expenses: $335,362
  • Net Assets: $62,375

2011[32]

  • Total Revenue: $323,314
  • Total Expenses: $409,051
  • Net Assets: $196,326

2010[33]

  • Total Revenue: $390,118
  • Total Expenses: $372,190
  • Net Assets: $282,063

2009[34]

  • Total Revenue: $376,543
  • Total Expenses: $320,252
  • Net Assets: $264,135

Personnel

Staff

As of January 2021:[35]

  • Christopher B. Summers, President
  • Jennifer Butler, Director of External Relations
  • Alison Lake, Managing Editor and Media Director
  • Carol Park, Visiting Fellow
  • Thomas A. Firey, senior fellow and managing editor of CATOs "Regulation magazine"
  • Marc Kilmer, senior fellow
  • Sean Kenney, visiting fellow
  • Jeff Hooke, visiting fellow
  • Louis Miserendino, visiting fellow
  • Peter Samuel, Adjunct Fellow
  • Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D., Adjunct staff
  • Nick Zaiac, Policy Analyst
  • Stephen J.K. Walters, Ph.d., Chief Economist
  • General Counsel, Cameron, LLP

Former Staff:

  • Dan Lips, Senior Fellow, Education Policy Studies
  • Wendell Cox, Adjunct staff
  • Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., Adjunct staff
  • Edmund F. Haislmaier, Adjunct staff
  • Tom Neumark, Visiting Fellow
  • Tori Gorman, Visiting Fellow
  • Gabriel J. Michael, Senior Fellow
  • J. Scott Moody, Visiting Fellow
  • Wendy P. Warcholik, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
  • Marta Hummel Mossburg, Visiting Fellow
  • Carrie L. Lukas, Visiting Fellow
  • John J. Walters, Research Associate
  • Susan Firey, Director, Media Relations
  • Sean Kennedy, Visiting Fellow
  • Joseph V. Kennedy, Ph.D., J.D., Visiting Fellow
  • Randal O'Toole, Visiting Fellow
  • Jessie Echard, Events Coordinator

Board of Directors

As of January 2021:[36]

  • Christopher B. Summers, President
  • Robert J. Cirincione, M.D.
  • Thomas E. Skilton, Esq.

Former Board Members:

  • William D.A. Zerhouni, Esq.
  • James A. Calderwood, Esq.

Emeritus Directors

  • Hon. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
  • Hon. Jayne H. Plank
  • Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.
  • Howard B. Bowen
  • Thomas E. Kelso, Chairman

Former Emeritus Directors:

  • James T. Brady
  • Paul V. Facchina, Sr.
  • William L. Gaines, Jr.
  • Hon. Marvin Mandel
  • Karen H. Oertel
  • William D. A. Zerhouni

Academic Advisory Board

As of January 2021:[37]

  • Robert H. Nelson, Ph.D.
  • Thomas J. Dilorenzo, Ph.D.
  • Peter Van Doren
  • William L. Anderson, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Maryland Public Policy Institute
1 Research Court
Suite 450
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: 240-686-3510
Fax: 240-686-3511
Website: https://www.mdpolicy.org
Email: info@mdpolicy.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mdpolicy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarylandPublicPolicyInstitute/

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990s

2018

2017

2016

References

  1. "About MPPI", accessed March 2008.
  2. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  3. 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.
  4. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  5. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  6. Maryland Public Policy Institute, Wendell Cox: Adjunct Staff, organizational website, accessed September 2012
  7. Statehouse News Bureaus, Source Watch, accessed March 23, 2012
  8. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  9. The Portland Press Herald. 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics'. News website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  10. Truthout. The Koch Spider Web. News website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  11. Sara Jerving, https://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/10/10971/franklin-center-right-wing-funds-state-news-source, PR Watch, October 27, 2011
  12. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  13. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  14. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  15. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  18. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  19. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  20. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  22. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  23. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  24. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  25. Maryland Public Policy Institute, [1], Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 16, 2019.
  26. Maryland Public Policy Institute, [2], Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 16, 2018.
  27. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2016 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 16, 2017.
  28. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2016 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 16, 2017.
  29. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2014 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 16, 2015.
  30. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2013 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, January 29, 2015.
  31. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2012 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 26, 2013.
  32. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2011 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, November 7, 2012.
  33. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2010 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, October 7, 2010.
  34. Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2009 IRS 990 Form, Maryland Public Policy Institute, August 13, 2010.
  35. Maryland Public Policy Institute, Staff, Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2020.
  36. Maryland Public Policy Institute, Board of Directors, Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2020.
  37. Maryland Public Policy Institute, Academic Advisory Board, Maryland Public Policy Institute, 2020.