|PR Watch has published "A Reporters' Guide to the "State Policy Network," accusing the non-profit of spreading disinformation, failing to properly report its spending to the IRS, and with promoting the conservative agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The Guide, whose lead author is Rebekah Wilce, says that "right-wing billionaires and corporations" are spending more than $80 million yearly to fuel the State Policy Network headed by Tracie Sharp.
"Hundreds of thousands of dollars, and perhaps much more than that," which SPN distributes to conservative organizations, "are not being disclosed to the IRS as passing through SPN's books," says the article. Some of the major corporate gifts to SPN are not showing up in its IRS Form 990 tax return in the same year that the funds were distributed to an SPN group, it also says.
"Substantial funding for SPN state operations has come from Koch Industries itself and not only from the Koch family foundations, it says.
Charles and David Koch are each estimated to have a net worth of $31 billion.
Almost all of the members of ALEC, including those from corporations and state legislatures, are Republicans, says PR Watch.
Lobbying Said to Be Unreported
PRW accuses ALEC and SPN of "trying to change the law, but reporting little or no lobbying."
Companies such as Koch Industries and individuals such as the Koch brothers are able to fund their operations and obtain a tax write-off for funding SPN efforts, says the report.
"A particular ALEC task force may have multiple Koch-funded operations including a lobbyist from Koch Cos. Public Sector, a special interest representative from an SPN operation like the Goldwater Institute, and reps from national Koch-controlled of fueled groups like David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and the Charles Koch-founded Cato Institute along with the Heritage Foundation, a longtime ally of the Koch agenda."
Lobbyists Pose as Reporters
PRW says it was among the first to document that SPN groups such as the Goldwater Institute are "hiring people to act as reporters" and that their "stories" are being sent to state newspapers as a "wire" service.
Organizations said to be involved are the Franklin Center's Watchdog.org and the Ryun brothers-allied "American Majority" and "Media Trackers" operations.
The Ryuns are sons of former Kansas Republican Congressman Jim Ryun.
Reporters attempting to cover ALEC meetings, including those from the Toronto Star and Arizona Republic, as well as those from PRW, have been met with fierce opposition including threatened arrest by "rent-a-cops" (off-duty cops in uniform working for hotels) and refusals to grant "credentials." Protesters were threatened with pepper-spray.