The Problem: While the majority of Americans have been involved in the "wedge issues" of abortion, guns, gays, poor teachers, etc. the country has been taken away from them. The key to having any hope of regaining our democracy is these NotSee Americans to open their eyes and get actively involved. (If it isn't too late)

 

State Policy Network

(Simply Taking Over the Work of ALEC)

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN).

The SPN was founded in September of 1991 and incorporated in March of 1992. It has franchised, funded and fostered "mini Heritage foundations" within individual states. Although it attempts to promote itself as bipartisan their efforts are strictly consistent with its member think tanks that 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.

The SPN has become quite massive as its list of members will show. One will readily see a number of the Koch-backed groups that are also a part of the State Policy Network.

In recent years The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been 'outed' as the boilerplate "bill mill" and several corporations have left its membership. Don't be fooled by their "valor" as they have simply moved to the SPN. Like  other subversive groups (PNAC) once exposed they simply dissolve and members morph into some other group, doing the same work but not yet 'outed'. 

SPN's Political Activities

 
Tracie Sharp, SPN Executive Director

SPN and its affiliates push an extreme right-wing agenda that aims to privatize education, block healthcare reform, restrict workers' rights, roll back environmental protections, and create a tax system that benefits most those at the very top level of income.

SPN President Tracie Sharp was the recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC's) 2009 "Private Sector Member of the Year Award." ALEC gave her the award because, according to an ALEC "scholar" and founder of SPN member think tank the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (now called simply the Freedom Foundation), "Not only have SPN members assisted legislators in drafting model legislation, they've been key in killing some proposals by 'rent-seeking' special interests." However, SPN's tax forms indicate that it does no lobbying.

Although SPN's affiliates -- like SPN -- are registered as educational nonprofits, several appear to orchestrate extensive lobbying and political operations to peddle their legislative agenda to state legislators, despite the IRS's regulations on nonprofit political and lobbying activities. See, for example, the "Featured Stink Tank" below.

Please see the SourceWatch article on SPN Political Activity for more.

SPN Funding

 
Koch Brothers: Charles and David
 
While it has become an $83 million dollar right-wing empire, SPN and most of its affiliates do not post their major donors on their websites. The identities of the donors we have discovered reveal that SPN is largely funded by global corporations -- such as Reynolds American, Altria, Microsoft, AT, Verizon, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods, Express Scripts, Comcast, Time Warner, and the Koch- and Tea Party-connected DCI Group lobbying and PR firm -- that stand to benefit from SPN’s destructive agenda, as well as out-of-state special interests like the billionaire Koch brothers, the Waltons, the Bradley Foundation, the Roe Foundation of SPN's founder, and the Coors family -- who are underwriting an extreme legislative agenda that undermines the traditional rights of modern Americans. Corporations like Facebook and the for-profit online education company K12 Inc., as well as the e-cigarette company NJOY, also fund SPN, as demonstrated by its most recent annual meeting. 

While, in 2007, the approximately $40 million in combined revenues of the then 52 think tanks in 45 states that were members was less than the Heritage Foundation's budget that year of $50 million, SPN president Tracie Sharp announced in late 2007 a plan to expand think-tank revenues by $50 million by 2012. In 2011, combined revenues of SPN itself and its (then) 59 member state think tanks was $83.2 million, according to a review of the groups' IRS forms 990 by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

Please see the SourceWatch article on SPN Funding for more.