Maine Policy Institute
The Maine Policy Institute, formerly the Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), is a right-wing pressure group based in Portland, Maine. MHPC states as its mission to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise; limited, constitutional government; individual freedom; and traditional American values--all for the purpose of providing public policy solutions that benefit the people of Maine." MHPC is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN), a web of state pressure groups that denote themselves as "think tanks" and drive a right-wing agenda in statehouses nationwide.
- 1 Right-Wing Advocacy
- 2 Ties to the State Policy Network
- 3 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 4 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 5 Ties to ALEC
- 6 Funding
- 7 Core Financials
- 8 Personnel
- 9 Contact Information
- 10 Articles and Resources
The Maine Heritage Policy Center aims to promote conservative public policy. According to Maine's Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy, the center has specifically focused on:
(1) Cutting Government Services -The Maine Heritage Policy Center advocates lowering taxes for the wealthy and reducing the government budget. The center strongly supported the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) proposal, which would have required voter approval of all tax and spending increases. TABOR failed in 2006. The bill was reintroduced in 2009, entirely rewritten by the Maine Heritage Policy Center. The act failed again, despite the center's direct contribution of $50,000 in support of TABOR. That same year, the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Citizens Against Government Waste ("a tobacco industry funded group that laundered money for Jack Abramoff") published three "piglet books" reporting on "wasteful government spending."
(2) Opposing Healthcare Reform- In 2003, the Maine Heritage Policy Center firmly opposed then Governor John Baldacci's attempt to institute a universal healthcare system. More recently, the group has focused on opposing federal healthcare reform. In 2011, the Director of MHPC's Center for Constitutional Government wrote an article titled, "The Case Against Obamacare."
(3) Privatizing Public Education- A "signature goal of ALEC and the LePage administration has been the diversion of public education resources to out-of-state for-profit online charter school companies, a process it refers to as 'school choice.'" Since 2010, the MHCP has written four reports in favor of for-profit online education. It has "also worked with a bevy of conservative lawmakers and administration officials in an attempt to pass the LePage online education plan." Steve Bowen, the MHCP's former head of education initiatives, was appointed education commissioner under LePage, and is reportedly in charge of "the conversion to for profit online schools."
(4) Attacking Workers' Rights- The MHCP is adamantly opposed to labor unions, "and actively seeks to curtail union rights in Maine." MHCP "supported two pieces of legislation aimed at undermining union power: LD 786, "An Act to Ensure the Voluntary Membership of Public Employees in Unions," and LD 831, "An Act to Prohibit Mandatory Membership in a Union or Payment of Agency Fees and as a Condition of Employment." The MHCP advocates for "right to work" legislation, and in 2011 issued a report entitled "the Case for Right-to-Work in Maine: Examing the Evidence in Oklahoma." The report was allegedly "based on questionable data from Oklahoma."
Ties to the State Policy Network
BIPPS is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN) and has received funding from SPN (see below). 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.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
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.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
Through its media project The Maine Wire, The Maine Policy Institute was listed as a Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity "Watchdog Bureau". The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
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). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by the Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
Ties to ALEC
The Maine Heritage Policy Center is a state think tank member of SPN, which is a private sector member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). MHPC also has ties to ALEC through its efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. MPHC hosted the director of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force, Christie Herrera, at a 2010 event it held in Portland: “ObamaCare: How Maine Can Fight Back.”
Bowen went on to become Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education in 2011.
Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.
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.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center does not disclose its donors, but some of its funding sources are known through other tax filings. MHPC's known funders include:
- Adolph Coors Foundation: $25,000 (2015)
- Austin Community Foundation: $10,000 (2010)
- Boeschenstein Family Foundation: $1,500 (2018)
- Castle Rock Foundation: $25,000 (2009)
- Cato Institute: $50,000 (2006)
- Charles Koch Institute: $7,500 (2014)
- Donors Capital Fund: $2,082,481 (2005-2016)
- DonorsTrust: $59,000 (2010-2018)
- Jaquelin Hume Foundation: $135,000 (2007-2011)
- JM Foundation: $45,000 (2004-2007)
- John E. & Sue M Charitable Trust: $113,559 (2010-2017)
- Maine Community Foundation: $383,500 (2010-2018)
- Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation: $107,000 (2003-2018)
- Roe Foundation: $285,000 (2004-2018)
- State Policy Network: $70,000 (2012-2018)
- Total Revenue: $599,535
- Total Expenses: $717,288
- Net Assets: -$16,624
- Total Revenue: $650,843
- Total Expenses: $631,379
- Net Assets: $95,851
- Total Revenue: $646,421
- Total Expenses: $646,901
- Net Assets: $76,387
- Total Revenue: $621,593
- Total Expenses: $517,871
- Net Assets: $76,866
- Total Revenue: $557,262
- Total Expenses: $533,244
- Net Assets: $34,472
- Total Revenue: $661,260
- Total Expenses: $710,251
- Net Assets: $10,454
- Total Revenue: $693,212
- Total Expenses: $711,650
- Net Assets: $59,455
- Total Revenue: $716,761
- Total Expenses: $855,821
- Net Assets: $77,883
- Total Revenue: $1,071,606
- Total Expenses: $1,153,631
- Net Assets: $216,943
- Total Revenue: $1,306,093
- Total Expenses: $1,291,520
- Net Assets: $298,968
As of March 2020:
- Matthew Gagnon, CEO
- Heather Noyes, Director of Operations
- Mike Quatrano, Director of Civic Engagement
- Jacob Posik, Director Communications
- Nick Murray, Development Associate
- Liam Sigaud, Research Analyst
- Terry Brown, Director Communications
- Ann Ward, Development Associate
- Krysta West, Director of Communications
- J. Scott Moody, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Economist
- David Crocker, Director, Center for Constitutional Government
- Joel Allumbaugh, Director, Center for Health Reform Initiatives
- Jonathan Haines, Director of Communications
- Sam Adolphsen, former Director of Government and External Affairs, now Deputy Commissioner of Finance at Maine DHHS
- Kate Clark, former Development and Research Associate, now Deputy Press Secretary to Gov. Paul LePage
- Amanda Clark, Education Policy Analyst
- Steven Robinson, Government Transparency Policy Analyst
- Peter Steele, Press Secretary to Gov. Paul LePage
- Scott Fish, Director of Special Projects at Maine Department of Corrections
Board of Directors
As of March 2020:
- Scott Wellman, Chairman, Chief Financial Officer, Hardwood Products and Puritan Medical Products
- Peter Anania, President, Anania & Associates
- Timothy J. Bryant, Esq., Partner, PretiFlaherty
- Thomas A. Connolly, Esq., Private Investor
- Susan Dench, Founder and President, Success & Company
- Scott Forrey, Senior Director Analytics Operations, Akamai Technologies
- Jeff Kane, President, National Distributors, Inc.
- Jason Oney, President, Strategic Maintenance Solutions
- Laurence Rubinstein, D.D.
- James Ward, JD, President and Principal, Patient Advocates, LLC
- William Boeschenstein, President and Principal Patient Advocates
- Jinger Duryea, Chairman of the Board; President, C. N. Brown Company
- John Chandler, Treasurer/Secretary; Managing Partner, BerryDunn
- W. R. Jackson, Jr., Retired President, Pitt-Des Moines
- Hon. Neal B. Freeman, Chairman, The Blackwell Corporation
Board of Advisors
As of March 2020:
- Mary Adams, Grassroots Activist (2004 Freedom & Opportunity Award Recipient)
- Joel Allumbaugh, Allumbaugh Agency
- William G. Becker III
- Carolyn Brodsky, Sterling Rope
- Joe Bruno, Community Pharmacies
- Jinger Duryea
- Michael Estes, Estes Oil
- Susan Hamill, The Dette Company
- Philip E. Harriman, Lebel & Harriman
- Lisa G. Martin, Manufacturers Association of Maine
- Pembroke C. H. Schaeffer
- Derek Volk, Volk Packaging Corporation
- Lawrence E. Dwight
- Joel Allumbaugh, National Worksite Benefit Group
- Deborah Dunlap Avasthi, HRH Northern New England
- Hon. Joe Bruno, Community Pharmacies
- David Crocker, Esq., Solicitor
- Ronald Drouin, Retired
- Scott Fish, As Maine Goes
- Susan Hamill, The Dette Company
- Hon. Philip E. Harriman, Lebel & Harriman
- Chet Jordan, Digital Architecture
- Lisa G. Martin, Manufacturers Association of Maine
Board of Adjunct Fellows
As of November 2020:
- Joe Crosby, MultiState
- James Frogue, Center for Health Transformation/Gingrich Group
- James Hamilton, For Our Grandchildren
- Roy W. Lenardson, Strategic Advocacy
- John Reisman, University of Maine, Machias
- Dr. Margo Thorning, American Council for Capital Formation
- Kyle Pomerleau, Georgetown University
- Dr. Wendy P. Warcholik, Public Choice Analytics for the U.S. States
Maine Policy Institute
P.O. Box 7829
Portland, Maine 04112
Phone: (207) 321-2550
Fax: (207) 773 4385
Articles and Resources
IRS 990 Filings
- "About Us", organizational website, accessed November 2012
- Maine's Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy, "Fooling Maine: How National Conservative Groups Infiltrated Maine Politics by Founding and Funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center", Report, November 2013.
- 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.
- Charles Koch Institute, Partner Organizations, Charles Koch Institute, 2016.
- Franklin Affiliates in Your State: Maine, organizational website, accessed November 2012
- Franklin Center, Watchdog.org, organizational document, May 2013, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy June 2013.
- The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Rebekah Metzler, 'Watchdog' website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
- Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
- Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
- Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
- Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
- Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Sam Adams Alliance, Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit, organizational PDF, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network, Sam Adams Alliance, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Conservative Transparency website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, "Portland Event - ObamaCare: How Maine Can Fight Back", organizational website, accessed November 2012
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Education Task Force meeting agenda and materials, October 28, 2010, on file with CMD
- Maine Department of Education, "Commission Bowen", organizational website, accessed January 2013
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2018 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, Nov 8, 2019.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2017 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, Nov 7, 2018.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2016 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, Oct 29, 2017.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2014 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 15, 2015.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2013 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, October 31, 2014.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2012 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 8, 2013.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2011 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 14, 2012.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2010 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, November 15, 2011.
- Maine Heritage Policy Center, 2009 Form 990, annual organizational IRS filing, October 26, 2010.
- Maine Policy Institute, Staff, Maine Policy Institute, 2020.
- Maine Policy Institute, Board of Directors, Maine Policy Institute, March 2020.
- Maine Policy Institute, Advisors and Fellows, Maine Policy Institute, March 2020.