Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity
Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
Follow the money in the Koch wiki.
FREOPP was founded in 2016, its mission is to consider "the impact of public policies and proposed reforms on those with incomes or wealth below the U.S. median." The organization portrays itself as non-partisan, "our aim is to become a credible bridge between those on the left and the right who genuinely want to expand opportunity to those who least have it," yet its staff and Board is comprised of conservative and Republican party insiders.
It appears that the organization's policy focus is healthcare and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
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
Daniel Garza sits on FREOPP's Board of Directors and is listed by the organization as a writer. Garza is the founder and Executive Director of the Libre Initiative, a right-wing astroturf nonprofit bankrolled by the Koch brothers to target Hispanic voters.
FREOPP also lists Emily Etkins, a research fellow and the director of polling at the Cato Institute, on its Board of Directors. The Cato Institute is a right-wing think tank founded Charles Koch. Read more about Cato here.
As of March 9, 2017 there are no IRS forms available for the Foundation on Equal Opportunity.
Board of Advisors
The "FREOPP Brain Trust":
- Ames Brown, Chair, Executive Vice-President and Co-Founder, former contestant on the Bachorlette
- Avik Roy, Co-Founder and Editor
- Daniel Garza, President of the Libre Initiative
- Juleanna Glover, Corporate Consultant, former staffer to George W. Bush, former lobbyist
- Evan Baehr, Board member of the Adam Smith Society at the Manhattan Institute
- Kristen Soltis Anderson, Republican pollster
- Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution, former campaign advisor to Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney
- Emily Ekins, Writer, Research Fellow and Director of Polling at the Cato Insitute
- Scott Winship, Visiting Fellow
- Reihan Salam, Writer, Executive Editor of National Review
- Matt Mackowiak, Writer, Founder of Potomac Strategy Group
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 81-2699310
- State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed March 9, 2017.
- Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, Our Mission, organizational webiste, accessed March 9, 2017.
- Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, Policy, organizational webiste, accessed March 9, 2017.
- 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.
- Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, About, organizational website, accessed March 9, 2017.
- Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, People, organizational website, accessed March 9, 2017.