State Policy Network: Billionaires Influencing Policy in Indiana

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We’ve been talking about the Indiana Policy Review on the pages of Muncie Voice, and thanks to the new website from the Center for Media and Democracy, many of our readers can do their own research and verify who is writing for our local newspapers and who tells them what to write. In Muncie, we get to see both Cecil Bohanon and Andrea Neal in the pages of The StarPress.

Cecil Bohanon is a professor of economics at Ball State, but also an employee of the free market conservative think-tank called Indiana Policy Review. At the state level, the State Education Board causing fits for Glenda Ritz, sits Andrea Neal. Who else has strings being pulled by the Oligarchs through the Indiana Policy Review?

It certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone that Governor Mike Pence is associated with the Indiana Policy Review (IPR) – he was their president for 3 years back in the 90’s. The infographic below has very good information for our readers and should give you an idea of the group behind much of the legislation being pushed by the 2010 class of Tea Party republicans…Right-To-Work, Right-To-Farm, privatization of our public schools, opposing the minimum wage, and more.

Indiana Policy Review is part of a vast State Policy Network consisting of over 60 non-profit think tanks throughout the country. They have a very special role to play – help the local media shape our policy discussions.

The game is played when the 1% want specific legislation passed benefiting them, so they write a check. According to an article by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, here’s an idea of how it works:

The donations include more than a million dollars run through the organizations Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, which serve to erase the donors’ names, operating, as Mother Jones put it, like a “dark-money ATM for the conservative movement.” Numerous wealthy conservative individuals and foundations pass money through those two groups.

But wait, it gets better:

According to the Center for Media and Democracy study, corporate donors to the State Policy Network have included many of America’s largest companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, A.T. & T., Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Philip Morris and Altria Client Services (both subsidiaries of Altria), GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft, and funds from various entities linked to the fossil-fuel billionaires Charles and David Koch.

So, the Oligarchs write checks to foundations who then make contributions to the State Policy Networks, like Indiana Policy Review, so the think tanks can function without being traced back to the donors, like the Koch brothers.

Many would argue, that wealthy people and companies make anonymous donations all the time, but trust me, this isn’t about philanthropy. They do not believe in the social good or social responsibility. These free market conservatives and corporate CEO’s have one goal in mind – maximize shareholder profits. Period.

Directing funds to the IPR is simply an investment to promote your agenda. The infographic below is a good source of information so you can see what their agenda looks like and if you read articles written by Cecil, they will be strikingly familiar.

Recently, one of Cecil Bohanon’s free market rants caused exception to a local community activist and professorial colleague at Ball State, Bruce Frankel, who wrote a response in the local newspaper:

According to our Founding Fathers, social justice requires substantial and fairly even doses of liberty, community and equality. To the contemporary economist (Bohanon), one out of three gets you into Cooperstown. But, absent what we in urban planning term “the commons” the general welfare is not served.

Of course it’s not served, thus the secretive nature of their contributions. Essentially, they buy professors to write papers for them pushing their agenda, but to us innocent commoners, it looks like recommended public policy by those who know best – they have a PhD behind their name, so certainly what they recommend is good for us. Why would they lie to us?

Quite simply, they need your vote to put their candidates into office. We’re not going to venture into the full gamut on how these Oligarchs manipulate the system, but to suffice it to say, they’ve been working on this for decades behind the scenes.

In the same New Yorker article, Jane Mayer also interviewed Lisa Graves, executive director for the Center of Media and Democracy, and she had this to say about the State Policy Network:

“In practical terms, the Center for Media and Democracy has documented how these groups have promoted … carbon-copy claims, identical language, and distorted statistics, differing only through the state label placed at the top of a particular report. Far from being independent, “they are intensely subservient to the wishes of the most powerful few…the bills that S.P.N. backs divert millions of taxpayer dollars from government to the private sector…”.

Enjoy the infographic…stay tune for more in Muncie Voice like a direct connection from the billionaire Koch bothers and Ball State’s economic department helping to indoctrinate students into the free market, anti-public good mindset where the only goal of a corporation is maximizing profitability of shareholders by screwing taxpayers. The other lesson is how to work around laws to buy politicians, influence appointed officials, buy school board seats, etc. All with the help of the best conservatively slanted media/journalism money can buy. The Stinktanks.org reveals just one chapter of how the 1% has systematically bought out our democracy to work for them and the gross imbalance of our economic system is evidence that it is working.

IN – Who Is The Indiana Policy Review Foundation


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Journalist, entrepreneur, publisher, DSA member, and ethical leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy cycling, yoga, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter. Wellness advocate who practices servant style leadership.

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