Center for Media and Democracy releases new Reporter’s Guide to the “State Policy Network”
by Jesse Coleman
The Center for Media and Democracy has released a new report on the State Policy Network, a web of interconnected groups that attack climate change science and oppose support for renewable energy. The new guide details the $80 million that right-wing billionaires and corporations are spending each year to fuel Tracie Sharp's State Policy Network (SPN) and its 59 state "think tank" members. The guide, a product of a three month investigation by the Center for Media and Democracy, has found previously unreported funding for SPN flowing directly from Koch Industries, in addition to the known contributions from the Koch family foundations. CMD also tracks SPN's connections to the Koch funded Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, known as the "Dark Money ATM" for attacks on climate science. State Policy Networks connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are also explored in the report. According to the guide:
"Through ALEC, SPN helps draft templates to change state laws; then ALEC's public sector and private sector members vote in secret for those bills; and then SPN supports the introduction or adoption of those bills as law, sometimes with help from David Koch's [Americans for Prosperity] AFP echo chamber in a state.Called the Reporters Guide to the State Policy Network, CMDs report details how SPN works, who funds it, what the network's groups do, and looks at some of their legislative goals, including undermining workers' rights and weakening unions as well as undoing renewable energy laws and expanding ways in which tax dollars are redirected to the private sector, for example through funding so-called "virtual schools." Key resources include:
- Documentation that exposes the close funding connections between SPN, its members, and the controversial ALEC.
- Highlights of the significant and previously unknown Koch brothers' funding for SPN groups, demonstrating that prior estimates of Koch funding have been understated. (These materials were discovered by CMD and researchers in materials filed with the IRS by two of the SPN groups.)
- Entries about every SPN member think tank on CMD's SourceWatch.org.