Secret Docs Exposed

The Guardian’s publication of grant proposals from SPN ‘Stink Tanks’ is an example of how money drives a coordinated right-wing agenda

In addition to the ALEC documents revealed earlier this week, these State Policy Network (SPN) documents further reveal the coordinated right-wing attack on the middle class and how the “stink tanks” operate under the control of the State Policy Network and their right wing mega-funders.


Read The Guardian story here.
See The Guardian’s secret SPN documents here.
Read the Portland Press Herald’s coverage of the Maine Heritage Policy Foundation’s proposal.


Today, The Guardian published new internal documents on the State Policy Network (SPN), just days after publishing new ALEC board meeting documents. The State Policy Network is a corporate-funded web of right-wing “think tanks” pushing the ALEC agenda in states across the country with deep ties to the Koch brothers and major right-wing ideologues and foundations like the Waltons and the Bradley Foundation. ProgressNow and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) recently launched StinkTanks.org, housing a national report on SPN, reports and information on each state “stink tank,” and exposing the State Policy Network and their right-wing funders.

The Guardian has obtained grant proposals from the “stink tanks” in 34 states that appear to be organized by SPN for the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore and the Searle Freedom Trust. Included in the materials is information on 40 grant proposals from SPN “think tanks,” asking the Searle Freedom Trust to fund their agenda items.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DOCUMENTS

Documents Show SPN’s Coordination in Soliciting Funding and Pushing Its Extreme Agenda

The documents contain 40 grant proposals from SPN affiliates across the country, totaling over $1.5 million in requested funds. The documents reveal SPN’s hierarchy in controlling the funding and activities of its members, despite the fact that SPN President Tracie Sharp recently responded to criticism of her organizational structure by saying SPN affiliates were “fiercely independent.” New Yorker Investigative reporter Jane Mayer recently revealed that behind closed doors, Sharp refers to SPN as the “Ikea model.”

The grant proposals include efforts to privatize public education, attack workers’ rights, cut essential public spending, destroy public pensions, and attack Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. 

 

Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore and Searle Freedom Trust’s Role In Funding SPN

The documents appear to be from SPN to the Searle Freedom Trust and Stephen Moore, a right-wing economist, ALEC “scholar,” and member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. Moore is also a grant advisor for the Searle Freedom Trust, a right-wing foundation that SPN was soliciting funding from for the grant proposals on tax and budget issues in documents. According to the letter to Moore in the documents, SPN instructed Moore to evaluate the proposals and pick the most important ones. Moore has previously authored reports for SPN affiliates, which are sometimes funded by foundations where he serves on the board of directors. For example, in 2009, a number of SPN affiliates and allied groups released nearly identical reports aimed at blocking healthcare reform, all authored or co-authored by Moore’s consulting firm. The reports appear to be largely funded by Donors Capital Fund, for which Moore served on the board of directors.

Documents Reveal A Coordinated Agenda and Part of the Right-Wing 2014 Agenda

Although most SPN affiliates claim they do not lobby, the documents published by The Guardian show that most SPN affiliates requesting funding from Searle Freedom Trust plan to push their right-wing proposals to become law. The proposals are often presented as “campaigns” rather then “reports,” despite the fact that most SPN “stink tanks” claim to be “research” or “educational” organizations.