“Spotlight on Matt Brouillette” Citations 

Funded by the Koch Brothers, Betsy DeVos, and the Scaife Foundation through the State Policy Network, a revolving network of anti-union groups. The Scaife Foundation funds white supremacists and anti-immigrant organizations

Got his start at Michigan’s right-wing Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The Mackinac Center has advocated for slashing wages and benefits for workers, fights to increase funding for-profit charter schools at the expense of public schools and played a role in Flint water crisis which poisoned thousands of residents including children.
Has criticized teachers for speaking up for better wages and benefits. Advocates for making teacher’s strikes illegal.
  • Brouillette Spoke In Favor Of A Bill That Would Ban Teachers’ Strikes. “With approximately 75 Pennsylvania public school districts at risk for an immediate teacher strike due to expired contracts; and 144 additional public school districts facing the possibility of a strike before the end of 2010, Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) hosted a Capitol news conference today to unveil the STRIKE-FREE Education Amendment (House Bill 2092) to constitutionally ban teacher strikes and other public school lockouts in Pennsylvania… Also offering support for the STRIKE-FREE Education Pact during today’s press conference were Simon Campbell, president, StopTeacherStrikes.org; Frank Scavo, school board director, Old Forge School District, Larry Pastor, chairman, Taxpayers for a Fair Neshaminy School District Budget, and Matthew Brouillette, president, Commonwealth Foundation.” [US State News, 11/23/2009]
Has spoken out against the minimum wage. Despite making $200,000 a year, Brouillette has argued that $7.25 an hour is too high.
  • Brouillette Argued Against Raising The Minimum Wage. In an August 2004 article about efforts to raise the minimum wage, Brouillette was quoted, saying, “If somebody is unable to perform a higher level job, then they are going to be relegated to lower-paying wages…That is the reality, but it is all very much dependent upon individuals. The best way for them to move up is improve their skills. That is the only way. Anybody who ever earns more tomorrow than they are earning today has to make themselves more valuable to those who want to buy their labor from them.” He continued, “It’s easier for a business to eliminate a lower-paying job if it is compelled to pay above the market value for other jobs than it is to eliminate higher-end jobs…Artificially setting a minimum-wage is politically popular but economically damaging, particularly for low wage workers. I always ask, Why set it at $7? Why not set at $10, $20 or $50 and make us all rich? It’s pretty clear, then, that economic reality means that you can’t do that. Increasing the cost of any good or service means that consumers buy less. It’s the same for employers.” [Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal, 8/1/2004]


“Spotlight on the Fairness Center” Citations 


The Fairness Center registered as an organization on January 8, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In their first year in existence, they received 93% of their funding from the Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Foundation is funded by the Koch Brothers and Scaife Foundation.

  • The Fairness Center Is Registered In Oklahoma. [ Fairness Center 2015 Form 990, filed 8/18/2016]
  • Commonwealth Foundation Funding Of Fairness Center.

Year

CF Funding of FC

Total FC Revenue

2014

$385,000

$416,661

2015

$84,285

$307,885

2016

$0

$517,325

Total

$469,285

$1,241,871

[IRS Filings for Commonwealth Foundation and Fairness Center, 2014-2016]

The current Treasurer of the Fairness Center is the CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation Charles Mitchell. Matt Brouillette, former CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation is a Trustee of the organization.

  • Brouillette Listed As Fairness Center Trustee And Mitchell Listed As Treasurer. [Fairness Center 2016 IRS Filing]
The Fairness Center has brought lawsuits and legal filings against Pennsylvania teachers, home care workers, graduate students, and those who stand with them. They also signed on in support of the billionaire funders who bankrolled the anti-union Janus V. AFSCME case.
  • SPN, Donors Trust, And Donors Capital Fund Part Of Right-Wing Billionaire-Funded Web. “The Illinois Policy Institute from which Rasmussen hails is a Chicago-based think tank to which Rauner donated at least $500,000 before he was governor. It has been one of the most vocal critics of Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, particularly House Speaker Michael Madigan. And it aggressively opposed the tax hike and budget plan that lawmakers enacted last week. […] The Koch brothers have donated directly to the network either personally or through corporate funds from Koch Industries and from family foundations. Two closely-related funds, the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, described by Mother Jones as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement”, give at least $1.5m a year – channeling money to the network from individual donors whose identity the funds obscure. Several prominent rightwing billionaire donors are also involved, including Art Pope, an ally of the Koch brothers; the Walton family of Walmart, which funds SPN members in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts and Washington state; the foundation of billionaire Republican donor Richard Mellon Scaife; and the Searle Freedom Trust, created out of the fortune of the creator of NutraSweet, which funds a number of conservative causes.” [The Guardian, 11/14/2013]
  • In 2013, Commonwealth Foundation Called For A “Permanent Alternative Political Infrastructure” In A Document Outlining Its “Project Goliath,” Meant To Defund Labor Unions. [Commonwealth Foundation Fundraising Document, 3/14/2013]
  • Fairness Center Signed Amicus Curiae Brief In Janus Case. [Fairness Center Brief]


“The Big Money Behind Attacks on Pennsylvania’s Workers” Citations



Billionaire Funders

  • Koch Brothers’ Family Fortune Valued At $82 Billion. [Los Angeles Times, 11/16/2017]
  • DeVos Family Fortune Valued At $5.2 Billion. [MLive, 1/9/2017]
  • Bradley Foundation Valued At Nearly $900 Million. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/5/2017]
  • Sarah Scaife Foundation Had Net Assets Of Nearly $580 Million. [Sarah Scaife Foundation 2016 Form 990, accessed 6/20/2018]

State Policy Network

  • SPN Had 156 Member Organizations In 49 States In June 2018. [Source Watch, SPN Members, accessed 6/20/2018]

The Commonwealth Foundation

  • Commonwealth Foundation Is Pennsylvania Affiliate Of SPN. [SPN Directory, accessed 6/20/2018]
  • Commonwealth Foundation Opposes The Minimum Wage. [Commonwealth Foundation, 1/9/2014]
  • Commonwealth Foundation Want To Repeal Obamacare. [Commonwealth Foundation, 5/5/2017]
  • In 2013, Commonwealth Foundation Called For A “Permanent Alternative Political Infrastructure” In A Document Outlining Its “Project Goliath,” Meant To Defund Labor Unions. [Commonwealth Foundation Fundraising Document, 3/14/2013]
  • Mitchell Is CEO Of Commonwealth, And Has Worked For Three Other Current Or Former Members Of SPN – Heritage Foundation, Center For Individual Rights In Education, And American Council Of Trustees And Alumni. [Commonwealth Foundation, Charles Mitchell, accessed 6/20/2018; Source Watch, SPN Members, accessed 6/20/2018] 

The Fairness Center

  • Fairness Center Is Pennsylvania Associate Organization Of SPN. [SPN Directory, accessed 6/20/2018]
  • The Fairness Center Is Registered In Oklahoma. [ Fairness Center 2015 Form 990, filed 8/18/2016]
  • Fairness Center Promotes Involvement With 10 Cases In Pennsylvania, Including Two That Involved Americans For Fair Treatment. [Fairness Center, Cases, accessed 8/3/2017]
  • AFT’s Suit Against PFT Was Thrown Out Due To Lack Of Standing. [FindLaw, Americans for Fair Treatment, Inc., Appellant v. AFL CIO, decided 11/16/2016]
  • Mitchell Helped Found The Fairness Center. [Commonwealth Foundation, Charles Mitchell, accessed 6/20/2018]
  • Brouillette Has Served As Chairman Of Trustees Of The Fairness Center. [CBS Philly, 7/22/2015]

Americans for Fair Treatment 

  • AFT Board Members Include Mitchell, Rasmussen, Reitz, And Callen, And Is Registered In Oklahoma. [Americans For Fair Treatment Form 990, accessed 6/14/2018]
  • AFT’s Suit Against PFT Was Thrown Out Due To Lack Of Standing. [FindLaw, Americans for Fair Treatment, Inc., Appellant v. AFL CIO, decided 11/16/2016]

Commonwealth Partners

  • Brouillette Is The Founder Of Commonwealth Partners. [Commonwealth Partners, Leadership, accessed 6/20/2018]
  • Matt Brouillette Is President Of Commonwealth Partners, And Previously Held Leadership Roles At Commonwealth Foundation And Mackinac Center. [Commonwealth Partners, Matthew Brouillette, accessed 9/12/2017]
  • Commonwealth Was Among Conservative “Think Tanks” Being Audited By The IRS. “A few years ago, a George Soros employee told me off the record that it would cost the Left up to $1 billion to match the infrastructure and intellectual credibility of these free-market-oriented conservative outfits — quite a compliment given that many of these state groups still operate out of cramped offices in shopping malls, on shoestring budgets of $4 million or less. In most states, conservative think tanks are at a distinct fundraising disadvantage because most take not even a dime of government money, whereas the leftist groups they battle are generally funded through tax dollars and union dues (which are collected even when the individual taxpayer or union member opposes the aims of the groups). Alas, the Left’s attacks are already drawing some blood. Two think tanks, the Buckeye Institute in Ohio and the Commonwealth Foundation in Pennsylvania, are currently under audit by the IRS, and groups in other states are girding for a similar assault. Predictably, the media have dutifully echoed the Left’s litany of allegations.” [National Review, 4/7/2014]
  • All 501(c)(3) Organizations Are Prohibited From Directly Or Indirectly Participating In, Or Intervening In, Any Political Campaign On Behalf Of (Or In Opposition To) Any Candidate For Elective Public Office. “Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.” [IRS, The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations, accessed 1/3/2018]
  • A 501(c)(6), Commonwealth Partners Was Created To Behave Like A Trade Association And Be Overtly In Nature. [Penn Live, 4/14/2016]
  • Commonwealth Partners Raises Money For Conservative Pro-Business Candidates. [Morning Call, 2/12/2017]