Over the last few years the people’s blinders have fallen off to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their underhanded attempt to push legislation for their corporate sponsors. ALEC creates model legislation and then provides said legislation to State Legislators to file in their own state. ALEC model legislation runs the gambit from regional greenhouse gas initiatives to school vouchers to union busting legislation.
As people started to become more aware of this underhanded attempt to push corporate legislation in their state legislatures, ALEC received considerable kickback. They have even lost dozens of their corporate sponsors. Americans were appalled that wealthy corporations were pushing legislation that only benefited them. Americans were also appalled that ALEC was doing all of this outside of the legal lobbying process.
It is widely known that funding for organizations like ALEC come directly from the uber-conservative Koch brothers. They use their money to push their political agenda in a host of ways. They fund ALEC to create model legislation, they fund The American’s for Prosperity to create the appearance of a grassroots support for legislation, and they fund the State Policy Network to provide a ‘non-partisan’ analysis of the legislation.
What you have never heard of the State Policy Network? Perhaps you have of the Josiah Barlett Foundation or the NH Watchdog, they are the New Hampshire members of the State Policy Network (SPN). Think of it as right-wing funded Heritage Foundation in your state.
SPN’s mission from their own website:
“(The) State Policy Network is the only group in the country dedicated solely to improving the practical effectiveness of independent, non-profit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks. SPN’s programs enable these organizations to better educate local citizens, policy makers and opinion leaders about market-oriented alternatives to state and local policy challenges.
SPN helps identify and develop the resources and leadership talent needed to equip state-based, market-oriented think tanks to be more effective, widely respected and successful champions of personal and economic freedom in their respective states. By strengthening the institutional capacity of state think tanks, these organizations are better positioned to advance sound ideas into public policy solutions. “
You can see that the Josiah Bartlett Foundation shares the same mission – if not the same sponsors:
“The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent think tank focused on state and local public policy issues that affect the quality of life for New Hampshire’s citizens. The Center has as its core beliefs individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and an appreciation of the role of the free enterprise system. The Center seeks to promote policy that supports these beliefs by providing information, research, and analysis.”
Research from the Center for Media and Democracy has recently shed some light on the connections between the State Policy Network and the Josiah Bartlett Foundation (and their subsidiary ‘The NH Watchdog’). The new website ‘STINKTanks.org’ breaks down where the SPN as a whole gets their funding. SPN gets funding from the Donors Capital Fund, The Koch Family Foundation, The Searle Freedom Trust, The Roe Foundation, Jaquelin Hume Foundation, and other right-wing super-pacs.
Is it still fair to say that you are truly ‘non-partisan’ if you are completely funded by right-wing donors to push for policy changes in your state? If that were true I could say the Heritage Foundation is ‘non-partisan’ too – that is without laughing hysterically.
The SPN is the mouthpiece of these right-wing organizations. They use their ‘policy analysis’ to push their agenda to the local communities. They write op/ed’s like the bi-weekly column from ‘the NH Watchdog’ Grant Bosse. They are even quoted as ‘research’ in testimony for or against legislation.
Granite State Progress just released a well documented report on how the Josiah Bartlett Foundation, the NH Watchdog, ALEC, the American’s For Prosperity all have a part to in the major public policy fights in NH over the last few years.
As part of the SPN the Josiah Bartlett Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which only further masks their dark money funding. However Granite State Progress did uncover that the Josiah Bartlett Foundation received sizable donations from the Donors Capital Fund, The Roe Foundation, Jaquelin Hume Foundation, and the State Policy Network.
That is right ladies and gentlemen, the same right-wing donors that fund ALEC, FreedomWorks, and the American’s For Prosperity also fund the Josiah Bartlett Foundation.