Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute (CPI)

 Background

The Cascade Policy Institute (CPI) was founded in 1991 as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization” based in Oregon. Its mission to “develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity.” [1]

According to the Cascade Policy Institute website, “Cascade promotes property rights, incentives, markets and decentralized decision-making.” It releases policy reports, quarterly newsletters, commentaries, and weekly news reviews. The Institute also hosts regular conference programs, lectures and “educational programs for students” including a Summer Internship Program for undergraduate and graduate students. [1]

John A. Charles Jr. has been the president of the Cascade Policy Institute since 2005. John Charles once described Oregon's Climate Trust, which had imposed regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, as a “extortion scheme,” and other carbon-reduction strategies as “coercive taxation income redistribution schemes.” [2]

Stance on Climate Change

November, 2015

The Portland Tribune reports that CPI President John Charles “doesn't trust scientists”:

“There's a huge amount of money and there are financial incentives for researchers to have public discussion cut off, to say, ‘We know all this. We must do something'.”
 
“If the concern is people don't have as much faith in science, I can see why. When I see what is said in the debate (over climate change) and the way people like me are demonized for being skeptical, it makes me think, 'Well, then you’re manipulating society for political purposes.' Why wouldn’t that apply in fields I know no nothing about, like cancer research?” [27]
2015
“Climate change is one of the hottest topics, literally, in state and national public policy. Alarmism over human-induced climate change is one of many examples of the extreme environmental movement. Because astonishing news sells, media coverage on climate change is focused entirely on exaggerated claims of future catastrophe caused by carbon dioxide emitted from human activities. Unfortunately, misleading media reporting is making it difficult for citizens to discern fact from fiction.”
 
[…] The truth is that the science of climate change is far from settled and there exists no consensus on the causes, effects, or future of climate change.” [3]
2014
CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring […] and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” — Gordon Fulks, Academic Advisor, Cascade Policy Institute. [29]

 Funding

The Cascade Policy Institute's funding is derived from “the generous, voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses and foundations.” According to their website, “Cascade does not solicit or accept any government funding. Cascade is a 501(c)(3)(h) nonprofit educational organization. Contributions are fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by state and federal law.” [1]

The following is based on data the Conservative Transparency project has gathered from publicly-available 990 forms. Note that not all individual values have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy. View the attached spreadsheet for additional details on Cascade Policy Institute funding by year (.xlsx).  [4]

Donor Total
Donors Capital Fund $1,303,600
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $380,000
The Roe Foundation $350,000
The Challenge Foundation $219,368
State Policy Network $204,822
Castle Rock Foundation $170,000
Cato Institute $146,500
JM Foundation $130,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $125,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $104,500
Searle Freedom Trust $30,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $25,000
DonorsTrust $7,500
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice $1,000
Grand Total $3,197,290

Donors Capital Fund/Donors Trust Funding

The Cascade Policy Institute's single largest contributor is the Donors Capital Fund (DCF), a group that Mother Jones magazine has described as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement,” along with its sister organization DonorsTrust. [5]

The Donors Capital Fund creates “donor-advised funds” for conservative donors, allowing them to anonymously donate large amounts of funds to specific projects or groups without revealing their identities. [5]

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a report in 2013 detailing think tanks that had been receiving significant funds from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. John Charles said that it was “'ludicrous' to think that that Cascade is operating in lockstep with other conservative think tanks around the country.” [33], [34]

According to OregonLive, John Charles described the State Policy Network – which is headed by Cascade co-founder Tracie Sharp – as a loose-knit association of groups that share a common philosophy but otherwise operate independently. [34]
“We're all free-market think tanks,” he said.  “We don't believe in central planning.”
 
Charles said most of Cascade's funding comes from in-state contributors.  He refused to discuss whether the group had received money from Donors Capital Fund, saying that, “I respect the privacy of our donors.” [34]

Key People

Board of Directors (2016) [6]

Name Description
David W. Gore Co-founder of Cascade Policy Institute.
Gilion C. Dumas  
Jon Egge  
Lawrence “Larry” W. Dennis, Sr.  
Michael L. Barton Cascade research associate since 2002.
William B. Conerly Chairman of the board. Senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
William Udy Board member and finance director of Cascade Policy Institute since it was founded in 1991.

Staff (2016) [7]

Name Description
John A. Charles, Jr. President and CEO
Kathryn Hickok Director, Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland. Publications Director. Development Coordinator.
Steve Buckstein Senior Policy Analyst (Past CPI President until 2004)
Tina Pisenti Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Academic Advisors

Name 2015[8] 2016[26]
Anthony M. Rufolo Y Y
Chana B. Cox Y Y
Fred Thompson Y Y
Gerard C. S. Mildner Y Y
Gordon J. Fulks Y Y
James L. Huffman Y Y
Matthew Michael Bliziotes Y  
Michael L. Barton Y Y
Randall J. Pozdena Y Y
Richard Meinhard Y Y
Zenon X. Zygmont Y Y

Speakers' Bureau (2016) [9]

The Cascade Policy Institute's “Speakers' Bureau” is available for “educational lectures, seminars, and conferences.”
Name Description
Anthony M. Rufolo Academic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Chana B. Cox Academic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Fred Thompson Academic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Gerard C.S. Mildner Academic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Gordon J. Fulks Academic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
John A. Charles, Jr. President and CEO
Kathryn Hickok Director, Children's Scholarship Fund-Portland
Steve Buckstein Senior Policy Analyst

 Actions

February 22, 2016

Cascade Policy Institute President and CEO John Charles testified before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee, opposing HB 4036 which aims for a coal-free Oregon.  [28]

“However, as with the singing of the Sirens in Greek mythology, the coal-free vision is a fatal attraction, and Senators should strap themselves to the mast when listening to proponents,” Charles writes.  [28]
According to Charles, “Force-feeding more and more wind into the grid” risks grid failure.  [28]
“The Siren Song of a coal-free grid is ultimately destructive. We suggest that the Senate Committee steer around it. If that means that the advocates move forward with their threatened ballot measures, so be it. Voters are quite capable of deciding for themselves if they want a power grid that works, or one that randomly fails,” Charles concludes. [28]
A study by the Oregon Global Warming Commission chair found that the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan would cut Oregon’s electric sector carbon emissions in half by 2030. [32] Additional analysis by Pacific Power and Renewable Northwest found that rates would raise no more than 1%, and could even be reduced by more than 2%. [30], [31]

September 14, 2014

An a New York Post article, climate change skeptics Tom Harris and Bob Carter quotes the Cascade Policy Institute's Gordon Fulks (not mentioning his connection to CPI) as saying ”CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring […] and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” [12]

December 19, 2013

The Cascade Policy Institute's Todd Myers published a piece on CPI's website titled, “How the Environmental Left Became the New Climate Deniers.” [13]

The left has abandoned the IPCC, after years of touting the agency’s unshakable standard of excellence. What changed were not the IPCC’s standards but its conclusions. New science has sparked the left’s new denial.“ [13]

June 30 - July 1, 2011

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6). [14]

DeSmogBlog found that 17 of the 43 sponsors of the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, including the Heartland Institute itself, had collectively received over $46 million from either Scaife Foundations, Koch Foundations, or ExxonMobil. [15]

July 30, 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute co-hosted a Milton Friedman Tribute Dinner with the Koch-funded front group Americans for Prosperity. [16]

June 8, 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute released a report titled “Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest” by Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe. According to the CPI description, the report “highlights the problem with the legislature picking winners and losers in the energy market.” [17]

May, 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). [18]

DeSmogBlog found that 19 of the 65 sponsors had received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Scaife family foundations. [19]

April 16, 2010

Todd Wynn, Vice President of the Cascade Policy Institute, spoke at a 2010 Tea Party Rally in Salem on the subject of Cap and Trade (video below). 

Tea Party Cap and Trade from Cascade Policy on Vimeo.

March, 2009

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute's Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). [20]

DeSmogBlog researched the funding behind Heartland's Second International Conference on Climate Change and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations.  [21]

2009

The Cascade Policy Institute funded and developed the video “Climate Chains.” They describe the video as “22-minute documentary that exposes extreme environmentalism and the misguided pursuit of cap-and-trade legislation. Climate Chains not only explains the dangers of this legislation but offers an alternative to top-down regulation in the form of free market environmentalism.” [22]

Climate Chains supposes that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and prosperity in America is climate change legislation.”
 
The Cascade Policy Institute is listed as the contact for the project, and Todd Wynn of CPI is listed as the “Director and Producer.” [23]

Experts” appearing in the video included: [24]

March, 2008

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute's First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1) in New York. [25]

Koch Fellowship Program

The Cascade Policy Institute offers a summer internship program through the “Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program,” and administered by the Institute for Humane Studies and the State Policy Network. [10]

Carbon Cartel Education Project

The Cascade Policy Institute is hosting a “Carbon Cartel Education Project” that operates on the premise that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and economic prosperity in America today is climate change legislation.” [11]

The goal of the Carbon Cartel Education Project is “to raise awareness of the costs and implications of policies based on global warming alarmism by conducting a multi-faceted campaign to peel away grassroots political support for carbon restrictions, while simultaneously promoting market-based policies that preserve individual liberty, economic opportunity, and environmental quality.”

The project's director is Todd Wynn [11]

Related Organizations

  • State Policy Network — Headed by Cascade co-founder Tracie Sharp []

 Resources

  1. About,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 4, 2015. 

  2. John A Charles ICCC1,” YouTube Video. Uploaded by User “HeartlandTube,” July 17, 2013. 

  3. Climate Change,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. 

  4. Cascade Policy Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed November 4, 2015.

  5. Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 23, 2015.

  6. Board of Directors,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived May 5, 2016.

  7. Staff,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived May 5, 2016.

  8. Academic Advisors,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. 

  9. Speakers' Bureau,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived May 6, 2016.

  10. Internships,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. 

  11. Carbon Cartel Education Project,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. 

  12. Tom Harris and Bob Carter. “Leo vs. science: vanishing evidence for climate change,” New York Post, September 14, 2014. Archived November 5, 2015. WebCite  URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6cop8nvq9

  13. Todd Myers. How the Environmental Left Became the New Climate Deniers,” Cascade Policy Institute, December 19, 2013. Archived October 21, 2015.

  14. Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.

  15. Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-Palooza 6: Heartland's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, Courtesy of Koch, Scaife & Exxon,” DeSmogBlog, June 30, 2011.

  16. Milton Friedman Tribute Dinner with Cascade Policy Institute July 30,” Americans For Prosperity Oregon. Archived November 1, 2010.

  17. Todd Wynn. “Cascade Report: Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest,” Cascade Policy Institute, June 8, 2010.

  18. 4th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute.

  19. Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-palooza Round 4: 'International Conference on Climate Change' Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries,” DeSmogBlog, May 13, 2010.

  20. Co-Sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived April 28, 2011.

  21. Heartland Institute's 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmogBlog. 

  22. About Climate Chains,” Archived October 20, 2009.

  23. Contact,” Climate Chains. Archived Oct 20, 2009.

  24. About the Experts,” Climate Chains. Archived October 21, 2009.

  25. Sponsorships,” The 2008 International Conference on climate Change. Archived June 10, 2011.

  26. Academic Advisors,” The Cascade Policy Institute. Archived May 6, 2015.

  27. Peter Korn. “'Miracle cures'? Nope, OHSU says, it's just art of the sale,” Portland Tribune, November 12, 2015. Archived May 6, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJRwWPJN

  28. Testimony Regarding HB 4036 Before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee,” Cascade Policy Institute, February 22, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJSYRU34

  29. Leo Vs. science: vanishing evidence for global warming,” New York Post, September 14, 2014. Archived May 6, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJVYdPHL

  30. Pacific Power Analysis of Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan Shows HB 4036 is Affordable and Workable,” Pacific Power, January 27, 2016. Archived May 6, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJWRsCsj

  31. (Press Release). “NEW REPORT! Rates will remain steady under Clean Electricity & Coal Transition Plan,” Renewable Northwest, February 29, 2016. Archived May 6, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJWWrReH

  32. Angus Duncan. “Analysis: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Resulting from the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan,” Renew Oregon. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  33. Something Stinks at the State Policy Network,”Center for Media and Democracy, November, 2013. Retrieved from stinktanks.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  34. Jeff Mapes. “Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently,” OregonLive, November 13, 2013. Archived May 6, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hJXfLuaE

Other Resources