You've probably heard of the billionaire Koch Brothers by now, and their sinister push to distort our democracy. But you may not have heard of Rex Sinquefield.
The Madison Group, the predecessor to the State Policy Network (SPN) was "launched by ALEC . . . and housed in the Chicago-based Heartland Institute.
The State Policy Network (SPN), a web of pressure groups in all 50 states that call themselves "think tanks" while dramatically influencing state law, is a powerful and stealthy ally of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) detailed in the recent report, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government."
Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.
The Center for Media and Democracy is re-releasing this reporters' guide, originally published in April 2013, in conjunction with our new report, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," and with the launch of the website StinkTanks.org.
New Resource Details "Think Tanks" Tanking Americans' Rights
Twelve new reports released today expose the State Policy Network (SPN), an $83 million web of right-wing "think tanks" in every state across the country. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, an in-depth investigation reveals that SPN and its state affiliates are major drivers of the 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. The reports show how these groups masquerade as "think tanks," and describe how some of them may be skirting tax laws while really orchestrating extensive lobbying and political operations to peddle their legislative agenda to state legislators, all while reporting little or no lobbying activities.
Freedom Partners (FP) -- a funding group previously unheard of before it shared exclusive and highly selective details about itself with Politico last week -- has extensive hidden connections to Koch Industries and to charities connected to Charles Koch, according to new research by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
A controversial out-of-state mining company is closer to gaining control over a 3,600-acre swath of publicly available forest near where it is planning a massive open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. The Florida firm, Gogebic Taconite, has begun test drilling in the area and has already stirred controversy by hiring out-of-state armed security with automatic assault weapons to guard their activities. The Arizona firm was kicked out of the state after the media uncovered they were not licensed here. Now Gogebic Taconite is attempting to shut down whole forests to keep its controversial mining activities from protestors and curious eyes.
As newsrooms across the country have cut staff reporters -- due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration -- the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity has rushed to fill the gap, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented. The Franklin Center has 40 state news websites, with reporters in 34 states so far. Its reporters have received state house press credentials and its stories appear as news in mainstream print newspapers in each state without alerting readers to the heavy right-wing bias of the Franklin-related publications.
-- by Seep Paliwal
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative advocacy group founded and funded by David Koch, is spearheading an ad campaign aimed at young women attacking the 2010 federal health reform law dubbed "ObamaCare." It is spending more than $1 million to run the ad in Virginia and Ohio, with plans to expand it to a total of seven states.