BY NICK MARTIN
In support of Rheta Moazzami, I have to agree that the Rio Grande Foundation should absolutely lose their tax exempt status. This organization serves only one purpose: to spread Conservative view points and encourage passage of Conservative legislation. Don’t believe me? All you have to do is follow the money. The Rio Grande Foundation refuses to disclose their donors (a theme that landed them in court previously for failure to properly disclose contributions fighting the passage of legislation in Santa Fe), but tax filings have shown that major portions of their funding comes from far-right organizations such as The Cato Institute, The Charles G. Koch Foundation, DonorsTrust, Donors Capital Fund, and State Policy Network. Here’s some information on these organizations, and a video that I recommend you watch about conservative billionaires influence on public policy. You can’t claim to be non-partisan while taking significant amounts of money from largely partisan organizations.
All of the below information and more can be found here: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rio_Grande_Foundation
And the video I recommend you watch is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ApjSrB6E1c
Cato Institute – The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. The Cato Institute is an “associate” member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country.
Charles G. Koch Foundation – Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). His foundations include consist of the David H. Koch Foundation, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, and the Knowledge and Progress Fund.
DonorsTrust – DonorsTrust (DT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit started in 1999 “to ensure the intent of donors who are dedicated to the ideals of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.” Along with its supporting 509(a)(3) organization Donors Capital Fund (DCF), it is a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a coordinating body for conservative foundations founded by Whitney L. Ball, who passed away in 2015. The current president and CEO of DCF and DT is Lawson R. Bader, former president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Both funding organizations are “donor-advised funds,” which means that the fund creates separate accounts for individual donors, and the donors then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. They cloak the identity of the original mystery donors because the funds are then distributed in the name of DT or DCF, contributing another step to what has been called a “murky money maze”.
State Policy Network – 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 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 groups operate as the policy, communications, and litigation arm of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), giving the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda a sheen of academic legitimacy and state-based support. Although many SPN groups claim to be independent and non-partisan, they promote a policy agenda — including union-busting, attacks on the tort bar, and voter suppression — that is highly-partisan and electoral in nature.