Monday, in honor of the opening day of the 2016 Iowa legislative session, BFIA posted about the State Policy Network, a web of so-called think tanks, apparently founded by ALEC, that push a right-wing agenda in every state across the country, yes, including Iowa http://stinktanks.org/what-stinks/.
The so-called Public Interest Institute, so-named to disguise the fact that it is anything but interested in the public interest, is located in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on the Iowa Wesleyan campus and is a member of the State Policy Network. The information here about this creepy anti-science, anti-union, pro-climate change denial, organization is from the Center for Media and Democracy’s publication, SourceWatch, but you can also visit their website and see for yourself.
The Public Interest Institute (PII) is a “non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization located on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.” The PII researches issues “such as limiting government spending and privatization of government services” as well as “principles and methods to promote and encourage human rights, economic freedom, economic growth, and the creation of jobs… in Iowa.” PII is a member of the State Policy Network
In 2009 the institute was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute’s 2009 conference for climate change skeptics.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Public Interest 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.”[8
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 also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a conservative grant-making organization.
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.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
PII has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) through Richard Vedder, a member of their advisory board. Mr. Vedder is listed as a “scholar” at the American Legislative Exchange Council and is the recipient of ALEC’s Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award.
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.
Board of Directors
David M. Stanley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Robert H. Solt, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer
Dr. Donald P. Racheter, President
Andrea S. Failor, Secretary
Charles C. Espy, Jr.
Stanley M. Howe, Director Emeritus
Academic Advisory Board
Dr. Richard Wagner – George Mason University, chair
Dr. Robert Bish – University of Victoria
Dr. Edgar Browning – Texas A&M
Dr. Richard McKenzie – University of California at Irvine
Dr. William Peirce – Case Western Reserve University
Dr. Randy Simmons – Utah State University
Dr. Eugenia Toma – University of Kentucky
Dr. Gordon Tullock – George Mason University
Dr. Richard Vedder – Ohio University
Dr. Bruce Yandle – Clemson University
Total Revenue: $1,119,463
Total Expenses: $510,401
Net Assets: $7,198,734
Total Revenue: $1,661,139
Total Expenses: $530,950
Net Assets: $6,589,672
600 North Jackson Street
Mount Pleasant, IA 52641