New Report Reveals the Koch-Fueled, ALEC-Allied Corporate Agenda Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Don’t Want Public to Know About
New Hampshire report part of multi-state expose on ALEC’s use of front groups to push national corporate agenda at the expense of middle class families
Report highlights examples of Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog misleading policymakers, press, and public about role as paid lobbyists for corporate interests
CONCORD, NH – This morning Granite State Progress and the Center for Media and Democracy formerly released the new report “Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers” detailing how state-based Josiah Bartlett Center and the New Hampshire Watchdog are not independent and unbiased as they claim, and instead work hand in hand with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other corporate-funded special interest groups to advocate for public policies designed to benefit their corporate funders.
“Our research shows how the Josiah Bartlett Center and the New Hampshire Watchdog work hand in hand with ALEC to act as paid lobbyists for controversial, corporate-driven policies, without disclosing those ties to the public and instead actually working to deflect increased public scrutiny of the corporate corruption of our legislative process,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Josiah Bartlett Center and the NH Watchdog are just a different face for the same Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda that is attacking New Hampshire middle class families and hurting our communities.”
The new report details how the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog falsely claim to be independent, local operators when in fact they are part of the State Policy Network, a national Koch-funded, ALEC-allied network of organizations. The Josiah Bartlett Center, NH Watchdog, and other State Policy Network member groups advocate for a national agenda driven by out-of-state corporate actors. Be it the economy, environment, education, workers’ rights or access to health care, State Policy Network member groups promote policies that are not only designed to fatten the bottom line of their corporate funders, but are consistently harmful to New Hampshire.
“Granite Staters need to know how these groups misrepresent themselves and their agenda, and how much influence they maintain over lawmakers,” said Rice Hawkins. “We will continue to shine a bright light on ALEC, front groups like the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog, and the lawmakers who are doing their dirty work rather than acting in the best interests of our state.”
Key findings of the report include:
- The Josiah Bartlett Center is a member of the State Policy Network and the NH Watchdog – embedded at the Josiah Bartlett Center – is run by the far-right Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Both networks have close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch brothers, and the Heritage Foundation among others.
- The legislative agenda of the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog align closely with other Koch-funded groups such as Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, and the organizations play a specific role in the overall strategy for advancing these objectives.
- Staff of both organizations lobby on legislation at the state level – spending time producing reports, creating statistics, talking points, “expert” testimony, videos, and a raft of other materials – yet refuse to file as lobbyists or disclose their ties. Former NH Watchdog staffer Grant Bosse even testified on legislation before a committee as a ‘reporter’ speaking on his own behalf without disclosing that he had been paid with corporate donations to issue reports attacking the policy in question. (pages 20-21 of report)
- Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog have received direct funding from the Koch family fortune despite their claims otherwise. The staff members for both the Josiah Bartlett Center and the NH Watchdog wrote opinion columns in the past two years in which they denied receiving Koch funding and attempted to deflect criticism of other corporate-funded entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Bad Bartlett report provides irrefutable evidence that the Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog intentionally mislead policymakers, press, and the public about the funding they receive to advocate for corporate-written legislation. (pages 8, 13-14, 32-35)
Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy (CMD): “While State Policy Network members go on television and represent themselves as nonpartisan, objective scholars on issues of public policy, in actuality SPN is a front for corporate interests with an extreme national policy agenda tied to some of the most retrograde groups in the country, including the billionaire Koch brothers, the Waltons, the Bradley Foundation, the Roe Foundation, and the Coors family.”
“The bottom line is these organizations of the rich, by the rich and for the rich are representing themselves as groups that are looking out for the best interests of everyday, working class Americans and it’s just a blatant lie. What we’re doing is trying to bring some transparency to the damaging work they’re doing on a daily basis. From policies that promote polluting the air and water to the destruction of our public education system and a tax system that benefits their rich donors, what these organizations are doing is shameful and it’s time that someone brought this to light.”
Bill Duncan, Founder, NH Advancing Public Education: “New Hampshire residents have a right to know who is writing their laws and who is advocating for them. The Josiah Bartlett Center has a nice-sounding, local name, but the fact that they go to such great lengths to hide their connections to groups like ALEC or funders like the Koch brothers while advocating for the very policy agenda supplied by those groups and funders should raise the eyebrows of anyone.”
Today’s report was released as a follow-up to previous reports by Granite State Progress and the Center for Media and Democracy exposing how corporate-funded ALEC’s agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. ALEC “model bills” that have been introduced in New Hampshire by ALEC representatives benefit corporations at the expense of everyday Granite Staters.