Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii describes its mission as "promoting the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited and accountable government throughout the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim"[1] The Grassroot Institute is a member of the State Policy Network.

News and Controversies

Grassroot Institute Organizes Campaign to Reopen Hawaii During COVID-19 Pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii organized a campaign to reopen the Hawaiian economy. In conjunction with the #LetHawaiiWork social media campaign, the Grassroot Institute released a "Roadmap to Prosperity." The "Roadmap to Prosperity" details a plan to help Hawaii "recover." The Grassroot Institute recommends suspending taxes on local businesses, enacting "right to try" legislation (which had been vetoed by Hawaii in 2016), and pausing the construction of the Hawaii rail.[2]

Grassroot Institute Called Out by Honolulu Mayor in Advertisement

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann took out a 3/4 page newspaper ad in 2008 to criticize the "Stop Rail Now" movement. The "Stop Rail Now" movement opposes the construction of HARP or the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. Mayor Hannemann's ad accused the "Stop Rail Now" movement of joining forces with "mainland conservatives." The ad calls out three members of the Grassroot Institute as Hannemann claims "far-right so-called 'think tanks' are in fact behind the anti-rail movement all across the country." Hannemann argues, in her former job at the Texas Public Policy Center, then Grassroot Institute of Hawaii President Jamie Story was a proponent for road-based construction. The Texas Public Policy Center also hired the same anti-rail consultant as The American Highway Users Alliance, according to the ad.[3][4]

Ties to State Policy Network

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a member of the State Policy Network. The conservative think-tank is often mentioned in SPN's "Week in Review" posts. In 2019, Grassroot Institute President and CEO Keli’i Akina spoke at the SPN 27th Annual Meeting.[5] SPN also funds the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, donating $12,500 to the organization in 2015.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.'"[9]

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.[10]

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii 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.[11] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[12] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[13][14] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[15]

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).[16] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[17] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[16]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[18] a conservative grant-making organization.[19]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[20] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[21] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[22] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[23] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Ties to Hawaii Reporter

Malia Zimmerman, the former secretary of the institute's board of directors,[24] is also a co-founder of Hawaii Reporter,[25] a networked news organization funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity[26] that produces an online daily newspaper based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Funding

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is not required to disclose its funders. A list of the organization's funders can be found through a quick search. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is funded in part by:

Core Financials

2018[27]:

  • Total Revenue: $716,463
  • Total Expense: $620,694
  • Net Assets: $194,301

2017[28]:

  • Total Revenue: $684,904
  • Total Expense: $601,897
  • Net Assets: $98,532

2016[29]:

  • Total Revenue: $515,849
  • Total Expenses: $4,831
  • Net Assets: $15,525

2015[30]:

  • Total Revenue: $463,184
  • Total Expenses: $470,188
  • Net Assets: $10,696

2014[31]:

  • Total Revenue: $379,955
  • Total Expenses: $371,109
  • Net Assets: $17,700

2013[32]:

  • Total Revenue: $319,899
  • Total Expenses: $321,725
  • Net Assets: $8,854

2012[33]:

  • Total Revenue: $164,115
  • Total Expenses: $180,789
  • Net Assets: $13,419

2011[34]:

  • Total Revenue: $189,566
  • Total Expenses: $394,440
  • Net Assets: $30,766

2010[35]:

  • Total Revenue: $519,209
  • Total Expenses: $495,469
  • Net Assets: $235,640

2009[36]:

  • Total Revenue: $387,191
  • Total Expenses: $519,000
  • Net Assets: $211,900

Personnel

Board Members

As of August 2020:[37]

Staff

As of August 2020:[38]

  • Keli’i Akina, PHD, President & CEO
  • Joe Kent, Vice President of Research (former fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education)
  • Malia Blom Hill, Director of Policy
  • Sean Mitsui, Director of development
  • Christie Adams, Community relations manager
  • Mark Coleman, Communications director, managing editor, writer
  • Joshua Mason, Director of marketing
  • David Swann, Cartoonist, illustrator
  • Jonathan Helton, Research associate
  • Melissa Newsham, Research associate
  • Jackson Grubbe, Research associate
  • Aaron Lief, Policy analyst

Former Staff

  • Cliff Slater, former Treasurer
  • Malia Zimmerman, former Secretary
  • Jack Schneider
  • Aaron Jensvold, former Vice-President
  • Cody Hensarling, former Director of Publications
  • Kelsey Meehan, Director of Communications and Membership Services
  • Zachary Cox, Development
  • Matthew Reade, Researcher (Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Restore America Project and Associate Editor of the Claremont Independent)

Contact Information

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
1050 Bishop Street #508
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: 808.591.9193
Fax: 808.356.1690
Email: info@grassrootinstitute.org
Email for Media Inquiries: mark.coleman@grassrootinstitute.org
Website: http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
Twitter:https://twitter.com/grassroothawaii
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootInstitute
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grassroothawaii/

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, About Grassroot, accessed August 2016.
  2. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Road Map to Prosperity, Organizational Publicity, May 22, 2020
  3. Sean Hao, Ad Article, Honolulu Advertiser, June 29, 2008
  4. Leland Kim, [https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/8557137/butting-heads-over-the-future-of-oahus-mass-transit/ "Butting Heads" article", June 25, 2008
  5. SPN, SPN 27th Annual Meeting, Organizational Website, accessed: August 27, 2020
  6. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2015 990, IRS Filing, September 8, 2019
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  10. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  11. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  12. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  14. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  17. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  18. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  19. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  22. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  23. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  24. Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, Board Members, organizational website, accessed September 17, 2012
  25. Hawaii Reporter, About, organizational website, cached by Google September 8, 2012, accessed September 17, 2012
  26. Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Hawaii Reporter Wins Four Awards, Including Top Investigative Reporting Award, from Society of Professional Journalists, organizational website article, June 29, 2011, accessed February 24, 2012
  27. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2018 Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 19, 2019.
  28. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2017 Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 19, 2018.
  29. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, [paper copy 2016 Form 990], organizational tax filing, November 14, 2017.
  30. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, [paper copy 2015 Form 990], organizational tax filing, November 10, 2016.
  31. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2014 Form 990, organizational tax filing, October 8, 2015.
  32. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2013 Form 990, organizational tax filing, August 22, 2014.
  33. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2012 Form 990, organizational tax filing, May 29, 2013.
  34. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2011 Form 990, organizational tax filing, June 25, 2012.
  35. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2010 Form 990, organizational tax filing, June 8, 2011.
  36. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 2009 Form 990, organizational tax filing, August 11, 2010.
  37. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Board of Directors, organizational website, accessed August 27, 2020.
  38. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Staff Directory, organizational website, accessed August 27, 2020.