State Policy Network
State Policy Network is a Koch Network-affiliated “free-market” organization uniting 64 state-based member think tanks. Although SPN claims the think tanks under its umbrella operate independently, evidence suggests they regularly coordinate priorities and strategy, launching multi-state campaigns to further conservative policies on issues such as labor, climate change, voting, and education, among others. SPN also boasts over 100 “associate members” that include right-wing groups like Accuracy in Media, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, DonorsTrust, and FreedomWorks. While SPN itself brought in around $8 million in 2012, its members’ collective reach is much longer: the Center for Media and Democracy reports combined 2011 fundraising of $83 million, and The New Yorker writes that SPN poured $79 million into state-level conservative policies in that year.
State Policy Network’s biggest funding source since 2007 has been the “donor advised” Donors Capital Fund, a charity that largely obscures the money’s original sources. However, as with its sister organization, Donors Trust, DCF has significant ties to the Koch network run by billionaire brothers Charles and David. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has donated both to SPN itself and to several of its members. Meanwhile, some of SPN’s most notorious members and associate members also have Koch ties in both staff and funding, including: ALEC, AFP, the James Madison Institute, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Cato Institute, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Fraser Institute, Institute for Humane Studies, the Mercatus Center, the Heartland Institute, and several others.
A complete list of Conservative Transparency pages about State Policy Network Members, Associate Members, and “Other Organizations” is available here.
- State Policy Network emerged from a more loosely organized collection of state think tanks called the Madison Group.
- State Policy Network’s board members include Whitney Ball, the president and CEO of DonorsTrust, and Adam Meyerson, the chairman of Donors Capital Fund and president of Philanthropy Roundtable; all three of those organizations have received significant Koch funding.
- State Policy Network members submit model legislation to ALEC.