The Granite Institute(GI) is a right-wing, 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Concord, New Hampshire that has been tax exempt since 2010. It is a member of the State Policy Network, a web of state pressure groups that denote themselves as "think tanks" and drive a right-wing agenda in statehouses nationwide. GI focuses its activities on expanding charter schools and on finding solutions to the heroin crisis in New Hampshire.
GI states that it "works to ensure every family thrives in NH with high quality education choices, an entrepreneurial business climate, and taking care of our elderly."
News and Controversies
Supports 501(c)(4) Granite Action Established in 2016
Granite Institute runs Granite Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Ovide Lamontagne is the Board Chair of the organization. Between 1996 and 2012, Lamontagne ran for Governor and Senator of New Hampshire as a Republican, but never won. In 2010, Lamontagne was recognized by Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire as the “Conservative of the Year” in the state.
According to a 2016 report by NH1 News, Granite Action "will support the Granite Institute, which 'was recently created as a conservative think tank for New Hampshire.'"
Ties to the State Policy Network
The Granite Institute is an affiliate member of the 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 January 2021, 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. 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.
The Granite Institute has filed a 990-N postcard in each year other than 2016, indicating its total revenue was below $50,000 during those years.
- Total Revenue: $53,400
- Total Expenses: $94,909
- Net Assets: $16,242
The Granite Institute is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:
- EdChoice: $25,000 (2018)
As of April 2021:
- J. Scott Moody, M.A., Chief Executive Officer
- Jody Underwood, Ph.D., Education Fellow
- Catherine Konieczny, Research Associate
Board of Directors
- Andrew Hemingway, Chairman
- Harold Turner
- Ovide Lamontagne
- Raymond E. Pinard
- Bart Fromuth
- Dr. Stewart Levenson
- J. Scott Moody
PO Box 125
Woodsville, NH 03785
Phone: (603) 728-8257
Web contact form: https://graniteinstitute.org/contact
Articles and Resources
IRS Form 990 Filings
- Granite Institute, Home, Granite Institute, 2016.
- Granite Institute About, organizational website, accessed April 5, 2021.
- Granite Action, About US, organizational website, accessed April 5, 2021.
- Paul Steinhauser, Lamontagne chairs new conservative advocacy group, NH1 News, August 17, 2016.
- David Armiak, 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.
- Granite Institute, 2016 IRS Form 990, September 11, 2017.
- Jody S. Underwood and Catherine Konieczny, How New Hampshire Provides Access to Schools in Small Towns, Granite Institute, August 2016.