This week, a shadowy network of state-based, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups will convene with Koch operatives and other big donors in Grand Rapids, Michigan to coordinate their 2016 agenda for all 50 states.
The State Policy Network (SPN) is a network of state-branded groups, like the Civitas Institute in North Carolina and the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, which appear to be independent yet actually are operating from the same national playbook. SPN plays a key role in driving the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) agenda, particularly by providing academic-like cover for ALEC’s corporate-friendly policies.
Union-busting, attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, privatization of higher education, and other items are on the SPN meeting agenda this week, offering a preview of the right-wing state legislative strategy for 2016.
The importance of the sprawling SPN network cannot be understated. SPN and its affiliates take in more than $80 million cumulatively each year, and documents provided to The Guardian in 2013 show that SPN coordinates fundraising for the supposedly “independent” groups, from Maine’s Heritage Policy Center to Kentucky’s Bluegrass Institute.
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