Virginia Institute for Public Policy

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The Virginia Institute for Public Policy (VIPP) is a state-based think tank that describes its mission as being to "lay the intellectual foundation for a society dedicated to individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited government."[1] VIPP is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN).

News and Controversies

VIPP Called Out for Blocking Action on Climate Change

In July of 2016, nineteen U.S. Senators delivered a series of speeches denouncing climate change denial from 32 organizations with links to fossil-fuel interests, including the Virginia Institute for Public Policy.[2] Sen. Whitehouse (RI-D), who led the effort to expose "the web of denial" said in his remarks on the floor that the purpose was to,

"shine a little light on the web of climate denial and spotlight the bad actors in the web, who are polluting our American discourse with phony climate denial. This web of denial, formed over decades, has been built and provisioned by the deep-pocketed Koch brothers, by ExxonMobil, by Peabody coal, and by other fossil fuel interests. It is a grim shadow over our democracy in that it includes an electioneering effort that spends hundreds of millions of dollars in a single election cycle and threatens any Republican who steps up to address the global threat of climate change. . . . [I]t is long past time we shed some light on the perpetrators of this web of denial and expose their filthy grip on our political process. It is a disgrace, and our grandchildren will look back at this as a dirty time in America’s political history because of their work.”[2]

Ties to the State Policy Network

VIPP is a 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 2022, SPN's membership totals 166. 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.'"[5]

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.[6]

Ties to the Council for National Policy

VIPP board members Charles J. Cooper, Timothy E. Donner, Becky Norton Dunlop, Richard Norman, and Mark Skousen are all Council for National Policy members. Norman was also listed as a funder of the Council for National Policy's 40th Anniversary meeting.[7]

Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.

Funding

The Virginia Institute for Public Policy is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of the IRS filings. Here are some of the known funders:

Core Financials

2019[8]

  • Total Revenue: $141,501
  • Total Expenses: $165,309
  • Net Assets: $39,973

2018[9]

  • Total Revenue: $165,446
  • Total Expenses: $144,586
  • Net Assets: $98,781

2017[10]

  • Total Revenue: $106,613
  • Total Expenses: $180,501
  • Net Assets: $77,921

2016[11]

  • Total Revenue: $222,596
  • Total Expenses: $159,946
  • Net Assets: $151,809

2015[12]

  • Total Revenue: $117,350
  • Total Expenses: $105,111
  • Net Assets: $89,159

2014[13]

  • Total Revenue: $111,680
  • Total Expenses: $103,983
  • Net Assets: $76,920

2013[14]

  • Total Revenue: $110,161
  • Total Expenses: $117,421
  • Net Assets: $69,223

2012[15]

  • Total Revenue: $106,025
  • Total Expenses: $107,271
  • Net Assets: $76,483

2011[16]

  • Total Revenue: $126,638
  • Total Expenses: $138,274
  • Net Assets: $82,385

2010[17]:

  • Total Revenue: $210,020.00
  • Total Expenses: $204,821.00
  • Net Assets: $51,932.00

2009[18]:

  • Total Revenue: $319,528.00
  • Total Expenses: $321,183.00
  • Net Assets: $79,899.00

Personnel

Staff

As of March 2022,[19]

  • Lynn Taylor, President & Co-Founder
  • Clara Belle Wheeler, Senior Fellow, Election Integrity
  • Amanda Conlin, Producer, Freedom & Prosperity Radio
  • Ashlyn Entriken, Project Coordinator & Events Manager
  • Caleb Taylor, Director of Policy
  • Zach Taylor, Producer, Freedom and Prosperity Radio
  • Kim Walker, Director of Operations
  • Elisabeth Wolf, Communications Specialist
  • Lindsey Zea, Policy & Research Analyst

Board of Scholars

As of March 2022:[20]

  • Atin Basuchoudhary, Ph.D.
  • Peter Boettke, Ph.D.
  • Donald J. Boudreaux, J.D., Ph.D.
  • Mark Brandly, Ph.D.
  • Lee Congdon, Ph.D
  • Jim Cox
  • William C. Dennis, Ph.D.
  • William P. Kittredge, Ph.D.
  • Michael I. Krauss, J.D.
  • Nelson Lund, J.D., Ph.D.
  • Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D.
  • Carlisle E. Moody, Ph.D.
  • Randal O’Toole
  • Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D.
  • Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.
  • Richard Vedder, Ph.D.
  • Richard E. Wagner, Ph.D.
  • Gary Wolfram, Ph.D.

Former

  • Peter J. Ferrara, J.D.
  • Robert H. Nelson, Ph.D.
  • Ted J. Smith III, Ph.D.
  • Tibor R. Machan, Ph.D.
  • William L. Anderson, Associate Professor of Economics, Frostburg State University
  • Doug Bandow, Former editor, Inquiry
  • Atin Basuchoudhary, Assistant Professor of Economics, Virginia Military Institute
  • James T. Bennett, Eminent Scholar and William P. Snavely Chair of Political Economy and Public Policy, George Mason University
  • Thomas Bethell, Senior Editor of The American Spectator
  • Lillian R. BeVier, Henry and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Peter J. Boettke, Deputy Director, James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy and Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Donald J. Boudreaux, Chairman, Department of Economics, George Mason University
  • Mark Brandly, Associate Professor of Economics, Ferris State University
  • Bryan Caplan, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Anthony M. Carilli , Associate Professor of Economics, Hampden-Sydney College
  • James W. Ceaser, Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
  • Lee Walter Congdon, Professor, Department of History, James Madison University
  • Lee Coppock, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
  • Jim Cox, Associate Professor of Economics and Political Science, Georgia Perimeter College
  • Christopher J. Coyne, Assistant Professor of Economics, West Virginia University
  • Robert A. Destro, Professor of Law and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law
  • Daniel L. Dreisbach, Professor in the School of Public Affairs, American University
  • Floyd H. Duncan, Roberts Institute Professor of Free Enterprise Economics, Virginia Military Institute
  • Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Stephen P. Halbrook, Author
  • C. William Hill, Jr., Professor of Political Science, Roanoke College
  • William P. Kittredge
  • Arnold Kling, Economist
  • Michael I. Krauss, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Peter T. Leeson, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, George Mason University
  • Mark R. Levin, President, Landmark Legal Foundation
  • William R. Luckey, Professor and Chairman, Department of Political Science and Economics, Christendom College
  • Nelson Lund, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Paul G. Mahoney, Academic Associate Dean, the Brokaw Professor of Corporate Law, and the Albert C. BeVier Research Professor, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Joyce Lee Malcolm, Professor of Legal History, George Mason University School of Law
  • David I. Meiselman, Professor of Economics and Director of the Graduate Economics Program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Patrick J. Michaels, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute
  • Carlisle E. Moody, Jr., Chairman of the Economics Department, College of William and Mary
  • Iain Murray, Director of Projects and Analysis and Senior Fellow, Energy, Science and Technology at the Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Robert H. Nelson, Professor of Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
  • Michael J. New, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama
  • Randal O’Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • James F. Pontuso, Elliott Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Hampden-Sydney College
  • Lawrence Reed, President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • Mark E. Rush, Associate Professor of Politics, Washington and Lee University
  • Thomas Carl Rustici, Visiting Instructor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Taylor Sanders, Professor of History and University Historian, Washington and Lee University
  • Garrett Ward Sheldon, Professor of Political Science, University of Virginia’s College
  • Vernon L. Smith, Professor of Economics and Law, George Mason University
  • Ilya Somin, Assistant Professor, George Mason University School of Law
  • Sam Staley, President, Buckeye Institute
  • Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Ohio University; Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Richard E. Wagner, Professor of Economics and Director of Graduate Studies, George Mason University
  • Bernard Way, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Director of the Politics Program, Christendom College
  • Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Gary Wolfram, George Munson Professor of Political Economy, Hillsdale College

Board of Directors

As of March 2022:[21]

  • Derwood S. Chase, Jr.
  • Charles J. Cooper
  • Timothy E. Donner
  • Becky Norton Dunlop, Heritage Foundation
  • Douglas C. Mills, Club for Growth
  • Abby Spencer Moffat, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Trustee of The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
  • Richard F. Norman
  • Mark Skousen, Founder and Producer of FreedomFest
  • Lynn Taylor, President and Co-founder of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Former Directors

  • John Taylor, president

Contact Information

Virginia Institute for Public Policy
282 Bald Rock Road
Verona, VA 24482
Phone: 540-245-1776
Email: JohnTaylor@VirginiaInstitute.org
Web: http://www.virginiainstitute.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vapublicpolicy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaInstituteforPublicPolicy/

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

Articles

References

  1. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, organizational website, accessed March 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sheldon Whitehouse, "Senators Call Out Web of Denial Blocking Action On Climate Change," Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, July 15, 2016.
  3. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  4. 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.
  5. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  6. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  7. David Armiak, Revealed: Council for National Policy 40th Anniversary Funders, ExposedbyCMD, November 2, 2021.
  8. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2019 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 15, 2020.
  9. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 14, 2019.
  10. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 15, 2018.
  11. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2016 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 2, 2017.
  12. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, August 12, 2016.
  13. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2014 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 5, 2015.
  14. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2013 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 14, 2014.
  15. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2012 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 15, 2013.
  16. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 14, 2012.
  17. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  18. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
  19. VIPP Staff organizational website, accessed March 2022.
  20. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Board of Scholars, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, accessed March 2022.
  21. Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Board of Directos, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, March 2022.