Caesar Rodney Institute

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The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) is right-wing pressure group in Delaware and a member of the State Policy Network (SPN). CRI states that its mission is "to influence public policy in Delaware by helping every Delawarean understand and put into practice the fundamentals of a free society: individual initiative, personal responsibility, private property, voluntary agreements, informed choice, the rule of law, and strong local communities."[1] CRI lists its issue areas as: economic policy, energy, education, health policy, criminal justice, and tax and fiscal policy.[2]

SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2020, SPN's membership totals 163. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million.[3] Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks 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.[4]

In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[5]

A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.[6]

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Caesar Rodney Institute has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process.[7] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[8] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[9][10] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[11]

Franklin Center Funding

Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records).[12] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[13] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[12]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[14] a conservative grant-making organization.[15]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[16] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[17] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[18] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[19] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $119,563
  • Total Expenses: $210,183
  • Net Assets: -$26


  • Total Revenue: $160,407
  • Total Expenses: $203,606
  • Net Assets: $1,585


  • Total Revenue: $216,911
  • Total Expenses: $189,940
  • Net Assets: $44,784


  • Total Revenue: $295,871
  • Total Expenses: $299,774
  • Net Assets: $13,151


  • Total Revenue: $145,592
  • Total Expenses: $228,098
  • Net Assets: $17,054


  • Total Revenue: $319,768
  • Total Expenses: $275,875
  • Net Assets: $99,560.00


  • Total Revenue: $259,138
  • Total Expenses: $206,242
  • Net Assets: $55,667



As of September 2019:[27]

  • John R. Toedtman, Executive Director
  • David T. Stevenson, Policy Director
  • John E. Stapleford, Policy Director, Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
  • Dr. Christopher D. Casscells, Policy Director, Center for Healthcare Policy
  • Dace Blaskovitz, Publisher, Data Delaware
  • Vil Vongphrachanh, Director of Communications

Former Staff

  • Dave Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
  • Ronald Russo, Executive Director, Center for Education Excellence
  • James E. Hosley - Director, Center for Excellence in Education
  • David Stevenson - Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
  • Samuel D. Friedman - Communications Coordinator
  • Matthew D. Revel - Events & Development Coordinator
  • Charles Daniel, President
  • Martha Durham, Communications Manager
  • Joe Oddo, Chief of Staff

Board of Directors

As of September 2019:[28]

  • John E. Stapleford, Chairman
  • Matthew L. Lenzini, Vice Chairman
  • Emmanuel G. Fournaris, Director
  • Rick Levinson, Director
  • Charles L. Copeland, Director
  • Stacie Beck, Director
  • Gene Truono, Director
  • Robert B. Arlett, Director

Former Directors

  • Robert Prybutok, Vice Chairman and Secretary
  • G. Dennis O'Brien, Director
  • Bruce A. Bachman (former vice president, DuPont)
  • Susan Warren Casscells
  • Barrett E. Kidner, Chairman and CEO (president, Barrett Group, Inc.)
  • Charles M. Weymouth (Weymouth Architects and Planners)
  • James P. Ursomarso, Chairman
  • Michael Maibach, Director

Advisory Council

As of Sept. 2019:[29]

  • Michael C. Maibach, Vice President, Global Government Affairs for the Intel Corporation from 1983-2011, President & CEO of the European-American Business Council from 2003-2012
  • Clinton S. Laird, retired
  • Dan Young, Director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program at Goldey-Beacom College and is the curator of TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollege.
  • Charles M. Elson, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., Chair in Corporate Governance and the Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware
  • Dr. Edwin J. Feulner, founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation.


  • Burton Abrams, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware
  • Thomas J. Cooper, Chairman of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
  • Glenn Kenton, Partner, Richards, Layton & Finger
  • Joseph Oddo, Chief of Staff at Caesar Rodney Institute
  • Dr. Stacie Beck, Associate Professor of economics at the University of Delaware
  • Matthew L. Lenzini
  • Dan Young, PhD
  • John Darr, retired
  • Reverend Thomas Flowers, Pastor
  • Israel A. Gonzalez, retired
  • David R. Legates, PhD., Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware
  • John Moore, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Acorn Energy
  • Lincoln Willis, manager of small business
  • Bruce Bachman, retired

Research Fellows

As of September 2018:[30]

  • James L. Butkiewicz, PhD, Senior Economic Fellow
  • Joanne Butler, Senior Economic Fellow
  • Dr. David Casscells, Director of Center for Health Policy
  • George Nagle, Senior Economic Fellow
  • Dave Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
  • Francis X. Tannian, PhD, Senior Economic Fellow

Former Research Fellows

  • Dace Blaskovitz, co-Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
  • Ronald Russo, Senior Education Fellow
  • John Stapleford, co-Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis

Contact Information

Caesar Rodney Institute
420 Corporate Blvd.
Newark, DE 19702
Phone: (302) 273-0080
Fax: (302) 734-2702

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

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External Resources


  1. "About Us", organizational website, accessed October 2012
  2. Caesar Rodney Institute, Platform for Change, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2016.
  3. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million], ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  4. Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
  5. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  6. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  7. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  8. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  9. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  10. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  11. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  13. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  14. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  15. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  16. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  18. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  19. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Caesar Rodney Institute [paper copy 2016 Form 990], organizational annual IRS filing
  21. Caesar Rodney Institute, 2014 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 29, 2015.
  22. Caesar Rodney Institute, 2013 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, September 11, 2014.
  23. Caesar Rodney Institute, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, August 2, 2013.
  24. Caesar Rodney Institute, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 5, 2012.
  25. Caesar Rodney Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  26. Caesar Rodney Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  27. Caesar Rodney Institute, CRI Staff, Caesar Rodney Institute September 2019
  28. Caesar Rodney Institute, Board, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2019.
  29. Caesar Rodney Institute, Advisory Council, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2019.
  30. Caesar Rodney Institute, Research Fellows, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2018.