Yankee Institute for Public Policy

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The Yankee Institute for Public Policy (YIPP) is a right-wing think tank in Hartford, Connecticut. According to their website, they have been "creating new ideas for lower taxes and smaller government in Connecticut since 1984."[1] The YIPP is a member of the State Policy Network. Yankee Action and the Yankee Charitable Foundation are both controlled by YIPP.[2]

In the 1990s, the Yankee Institute had an office on the campus of Trinity College.[3]


News and Controversies

CT Sunlight

In 2011, The Yankee Institute launched CT Sunlight. The website is a database to "find public employee salary data, pension beneficiary information, and state government's checkbook."[4] The website saw backlash for publishing state employee's salary.[5]

Yankee Maintains Anti-Union Front Group CT Workers

The Yankee Institute operates CT Workers, a self-proclaimed "community for Connecticut public employees interested in talking about workplace rights." The website is riddled with anti-union sentiments and advice on leaving labor unions. CT Workers' website does not disclose that it is run by the Yankee Institute.[6] In 2018, the Bradley Foundation gave $100,000 to ctworkers.org.[7]

Yankee Institute Told to Leave Trinity College Campus

In 2011, Trinity College chose to stop renewing the Yankee Institute's lease for the organization's on-campus headquarters. The private college asked the Yankee Institute to vacate the space following an accusation that the Yankee Institute interfered with a union's labor deal. The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition claimed the Yankee Institute "hacked into the state email system" and spread misinformation about the union. [8]

Yankee Action

The Yankee Institute founded Yankee Action in 2011. Yankee Action, unlike the Yankee Institute, is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy group. Because it is a 501(c)(4), Yankee Action can pursue more direct political action; donations to the organization do not have to be disclosed. The Yankee Institute has used Yankee Action to take out anti-union radio ads.[3]

Yankee Action Targets Paid Sick Leave

The Yankee Institute's political advocacy group, Yankee Action, took out ads in newspapers opposing paid sick leave legislation.[3]

Ties to the State Policy Network

Yankee Institute is an affiliate member of the State Policy Institute, from which it receives funding. (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 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.'"[11]

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.[12]


Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy 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.[13] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[14] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[15][16] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[17]

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).[18] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[19] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[18]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[20] a conservative grant-making organization.[21]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[22] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[23] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[24] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[25] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Funding

The Yankee Institute does not disclose its funding sources, but some of its funders are known through separate tax filings. YIPP's funders include:

Core Financials

2018[26]

  • Total Revenue: $2,281,522
  • Total Expenses: $1,561,002
  • Net Assets: $1,164,537

2017[27]

  • Total Revenue: $1,497,731
  • Total Expenses: $1,480,140
  • Net Assets: $426,377

2016[28]

  • Total Revenue: $1,135,282
  • Total Expenses: $1,018,796
  • Net Assets: $408,856

2015[29]

  • Total Revenue: $815,112
  • Total Expenses: $644,820
  • Net Assets: $292,343

2014[2]

  • Total Revenue: $561,232
  • Total Expenses: $502,646
  • Net Assets: $122,051

2013[30]

  • Total Revenue: $440,812
  • Total Expenses: $596,046
  • Net Assets: $63,465

2012[31]

  • Total Revenue: $613,624
  • Total Expenses: $568,905
  • Net Assets: $218,699

Personnel

Staff

As of August 2020:[32]

  • Carol Platt Liebau, President
  • Isabel Blank, Senior Manager, External Affairs, former Manager External Affairs.
  • Marc E. Fitch, Investigative Reporter
  • Matthew Fox, Director of Operations
  • Jordanne Anderson, Director of Development
  • Meghan Portfolio, Development Manager

Former Staff

  • Zach Janowski, Director of External Affairs
  • Alisa Pulaski, Development Manager
  • Tamara Tragakis Barry, Director of Development
  • Fergus Cullen, Executive Director (former Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party)[33]
  • Heath Fahle, Deputy Director
  • Jessica Buchanan, Operations Director
  • Elisabeth Kines, Executive Vice President
  • Suzanne Bates, Senior Fellow, former Director of Policy and Legislative Outreach
  • Scott Shepard, Director of Public Policy and Research

Board of Directors

As of August 2020:[34]

  • Gerald Gunderson
  • Carol Platt Liebau
  • Betsy McCaughey
  • Dave Pelizzon
  • Ken Boudreau, Chairman
  • Penny Young
  • Tom Lasersohn
  • David Tohir

Former Directors

  • Andrew R. Jones, Chairman
  • Andrew J. Cowin
  • Robert R. Simmons, Chairman
  • Judi Freedman
  • George W. Schiele (president and CEO, 4003 Corporation)
  • Kevin North (founder and President, Talcott Realty Investors)
  • Daniel Gressel, Former Chairman

Contact Information

Yankee Institute for Public Policy
216 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860-282-0722
Website: http://www.yankeeinstitute.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yankeeinstitute
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YankeeInstitute

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014


References

  1. "Yankee Institute", organizational website, accessed October 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yankee Institute for Public Policy, 2014 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 16, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 JC Reindl, Yankee Institute rises to challenge as conservative voice in Connecticut, the Day, July 31, 2011.
  4. CTSunlight, CT Sunlight Yankee Institute, accessed: August 24, 2020
  5. BRIAN BOLDUC, College Kicks Out, National Review, July 26, 2011
  6. David Armiak, State Policy Network Unleashes, Exposed, July 13th, 2018
  7. David Armiak Bradley Foundation Funds "Opt-Out" PRwatch, June 25, 2019
  8. JC Reindl, Yankee Institute Gets the Boot The Day, July 26, 2011
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  12. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  13. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  14. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  16. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  19. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  20. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  21. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  22. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  23. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  24. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  25. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  26. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Form 990 2018, organizational annual IRS filing, accessed: August 24, 2020
  27. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, Nov. 15, 2018
  28. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, [paper copy 2016 Form 990], organizational annual IRS filing, Nov 15, 2017
  29. Yankee Institute for Public Policy 2015 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, August 9, 2016.
  30. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, 2013 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 23, 2014.
  31. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 8, 2013.
  32. Yankee Institute, Staff, organizational website, accessed August 2020.
  33. Fergus Cullen Communications, Biography, public affairs firm website, accessed November 2013.
  34. Yankee Institute, Board, organizational website, accessed August 2020.