Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) "is the national voice for fair and proportionate sentencing laws. We shine a light on the human face of sentencing, advocate for state and federal sentencing reform, and mobilize thousands of individuals and families whose lives are adversely affected by unjust sentences..."
"FAMM was founded in 1991 by Julie Stewart, after the issue affected her personally. Her brother, a nonviolent, first-time drug offender was sentenced to five years in a federal prison for growing marijuana."
Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.
State Policy Network
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 August 2020, SPN's membership totals 162. 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. 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.
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.'"
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.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
FAMM has received funding from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation.
Julie Stewart has admitted that FAMM received funding from David Koch. She also praised the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for its support of an amendment to the federal mandatory sentencing law, but failed to mention ALEC's role in writing the mandatory sentencing law and getting it passed in the first place.
Ties to ALEC
According to its website, FAMM began working with ALEC in 2012. "On July 2, 2013, ALEC’s Initiative on Cutting Crime and Budgets approved a model 'safety valve' reform that can be used as a template for reforming mandatory minimum sentencing laws across the country. FAMM worked closely with ALEC on the formulation of the model language and supports it as a starting point for state lawmakers hoping to create a fairer, more cost effective sentencing system."
Despite professing support for alternatives to mandatory minimum sentencing, ALEC previously approved the Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Act, as well as other policies in establishing mandatory minimums.
Additionally, CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corporation of America), a corporation that owns and manages private, for-profit prisons, was a member of ALEC's now defunct Public Safety and Elections Task Force.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
"FAMM and Julie Stewart's work for fair and proportionate sentencing policies have received prestigious accolades through the years. Some of these include:
- Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties
- Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL) in 2001
- Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World award in 2002
- The Citizen Activist Award from the Gleitsman Foundation in 2006
- Total Revenue: $1,891,241
- Total Expenses: $1,763,499
- Net Assets: $2,220,188
- Total Revenue: $2,488,905
- Total Expenses: $1,529,905
- Net Assets: $2,093,937
- Total Revenue: $1,419,401
- Total Expenses: $1,437,779
- Net Assets: $1,134,826
As of February 21, 2017:
- Julie Stewart, Chair, Founder and former President
- Scott Wallace, Vice Chair, former Vice President and Director the Wallace Global Fund 
- Eric Sterling, Secretary and President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
- Paul Beckner, Treasurer
- Jason Flom, Development Director - chairman and CEO of Virgin Records
- Carmen Hernandez, Member
- Phil Harvey
Former Board of Directors:
- Alfreda Robinson Dawkins - director, National Women's Prison Project.
As of February 21, 2017:
- Kevin Ring, President
- Mary Price, General Counsel
- Greg Newburn, Director of State Policy
- Molly Gill, Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
- Ann Espuelas, Storyteller and Research Manager
- Debi Campbell, Communications Outreach Associate
- Roxana Rincones, Director of Finance and Administration
- Lani Prunes, Deputy Director of Communications
- Hawah Cyllah, Development Associate
- Enrique Huaiquill, Multimedia Director
- Andrea Strong, Director of Member Services
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 52-1750246
FAMM National Office
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
1100 H Street NW Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Related Sourcewatch Articles
- Families Against Mandatory MinimumsMeet, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, accessed July 4, 2007.
- State Policy Network, Directory, State Policy Network, 2016.
- David Armiak, https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/11/13/revenue-state-policy-network-state-affiliates-tops-120-million/ Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million], ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
- 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.
- Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
- Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
- Julie Stewart, A Perfect Storm for Sentencing Reform, MSNBC News, August 16, 2013, http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/08/16/a-perfect-storm-for-sentencing-reform/, accessed August 23, 2013
- Honors and Awards, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, accessed July 4, 2007.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums, 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, March 14, 2016.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums, 2014 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, March 19, 2015.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums, 2013 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, April 7, 2014.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Who We Are, organizational website, accessed February 21, 2017.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Repository, FAMMGram, Summer 2006.