Mackinac Center for Public Policy
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS. Originally named the Michigan Research Institute, the organization was founded in 1987 as a state-level conservative policy think tank in Michigan. , 
The Mackinac Center describes itself as a “nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.” 
Mother Jones reports that the Mackinac Center has been known as a vocal opponent of unions in Michigan, while receiving a large portion of their initial funding from the DeVos family.  Dick Devos has also served on the Center's Board of Directors. Mother Jones has also described the Mackinac Center's close ties to the Republican Party: “The Mackinac Center has been tied at the hip with the Republican Party establishment for years,” Doug Pratt, public affairs director at the Michigan Education Association told Mother Jones. “It goes to their funding sources; it goes to their ideology.” 
The Mackinac Center was created with seed money from the Cornerstone Foundation, as well as $335,986 from various officials of Dow Corning and Dow Chemical. Their second-largest donor is Donors Capital Fund (DCF), which contributed at least $3,203,500 to the Mackinac Center between 1993 and 2013. Donors Capital Fund and its sister organization, DonorsTrust have been described as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement in the US.” They allow for anonymous donations, mostly from conservative individuals and foundations, to flow to organizations while hiding their identity through “donor advised funds.” , 
Academics have criticized the Center, saying that “Mackinac Center research is often of low quality and because of this it should be treated with considerable skepticism by the public, policy makers and political leaders. Much of the work of the Mackinac Center may have caused more confusion than clarity in the public discussion of the issues that it has addressed by systematically ignoring evidence that does not agree with its proposed solutions.” , 
Mackinac Center & Climate Change Denial
The Mackinac Center regularly publishes articles questioning man-made climate change. The Center has questioned prominent climate policy consultants, and have historically cited the work of skeptical individuals and organizations such as the Cato Institute. , 
The Mackinac Center's publication “MichiganScience” has covered the “Climategate” issue more than once. Henry Payne writes in Climategate reveals that some scientists have tilted decidedly toward dishonesty, vilifying their critics and manipulating data to “trick” the public and “hide the decline” in global temperatures. 
Mackinac Center's Nonprofit Status Questioned
Citizens advocacy group Progress Michigan released audio from an Americans for Prosperity “Citizen Watchdog Training” event which they claim shows the Mackinac Center has been involved in lobbying for Right to Work (RTW) laws in Legislature. 
According to a Progress Michigan press release, F. Vincent Vernuccio, the Mackinac Center’s Director of Labor Policy, “admitted to meeting with lawmakers to make a plan for ramming RTW laws through the Legislature.”
“Lansing politicians have spent the last two years ramming through a right-wing wish list of attacks on middle class families through tax increases and cuts to education,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “It’s clear that despite calling itself a non-partisan think tank, the Mackinac Center has been intimately involved in lobbying Republicans to get their legislative agenda passed – and the worst part is, they’re doing it without even a minimal amount of transparency or disclosure.”
While the Mackinac Center does not admit to lobbying to the federal Internal Revenue Service or the state of Michigan, emails obtained by Progress Michigan in 2011 indicated that “the Mackinac Center was actively seeking to influence the legislative process on a series of bills related to health care benefits for teachers and other public workers.”
In 2012, Congressman Sander Levin sent the IRS a letter asking them to investigate the tax-exempt status of the Mackinac Center after the emails were found indicating “a long-term plan to lobby.”
Progress Michican released a report on the Mackinac Center that further called the Center's “nonpartisan” and nonprofit status into question.  According to the report, the Mackinac center had made at least wo payments payments categorized in official records as political contributions, one to the Michigan Republican Party and another to the Livingston County Republi-can Committee. 
“Both contributions are apparent violations of the Mackinac Center’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status,” the report reads. “Moreover, an analysis of campaign contributions made by Mackinac Center board members shows an overwhelming majority going to GOP candidates.”
Stance on Climate Change
Note: while the Mackinac Center for Public Policy does not appear to have an official statement on cliamate change, many of its staff members do present their own views on the topic (often in the Center's own publications):
“The claim that 97 percent of climatologists (or climate scientists) agree that global warming poses a significant threat and is being primarily driven by human activities has become the centerpiece of the man-made global warming argument. This, more than all other aspects of the issue, is the big lie that must be challenged” — Jack Spencer, past Capital Affairs Specialist, Mackinac Center. , 
“The alarmists screech and holler, but when their assertions and predictions are debunked, they are consistently allowed to move on to the next temporary circumstance they seek to exploit. It’s high time that they suffer the loss of credibility they deserve. News media and politicians have a responsibility to stand up and take notice when the claims of global warming alarmists are revealed to have been hogwash. Our society in general has a right to be told the true score.” Jack Spencer, Mackinac Center blog. 
“Manipulation of statistics through selective use of base points is a treasured tactic in the pseudosciences. Climatologists Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr., in their 2000 book “The Satanic Gases,” offer an example that would be amusing if it were not so chilling.” 
Mackinac Center & The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
“The Mackinac Center is an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate bill mill. Over the years, Mackinac staffers have proposed numerous bills at ALEC task force meetings, where elected officials and private sector members (like corporate lobbyists and special interest groups) vote as equals behind closed doors on tem-plates to change the law. Under ALEC’s public bylaws, its state legislative leaders are tasked with a 'duty' to get those bill introduced into law. The coordinated agenda that ALEC and the Mackinac Center advocate for includes:
- Attacking workers' rights with the recent so-called 'Right to Work' law, pushing paycheck deception measures, calling for the repeal of the pre-vailing wage law and advocating for bills that cut public pension benefits
- Blocking the bipartisan effort in Michigan to expand Medicaid and imple-ment the Affordable Care Act that would give access to affordable health-care to millions of Michigan residents
- Defunding and privatizing Michigan's public schools with voucher pro-grams and charter schools
- Denying the science behind climate change and global warming, while also opposing the use of clean and renewable energy sources”
According to their website, the Mackinac Center “enjoys the support of foundations, individuals, and businesses who share a concern for Michigan's future and recognize the important role of sound ideas.” 
The following is based on data compiled by the Conservative Transparency Project. Note that not all individual funding entries have been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy. See the attached spreadsheet for full details on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's funding by year (.xlsx). 
The following is reproduced from an in-depth report by the Michigan Education Association (PDF) which further lists and describes Mackinac's funders from 2002-2009: 
- Aequus Institute — $1,000 | Free Market/Christian Science Advocacy.
- Beach Foundation — $3,000
- Bradley Foundation, Lynde and Harry — $472,500 | Electronic and radio component heirs.
- Brandon Foundation, David A. — 2,500 | Former Domino's Pizza CEO.
- Bretzlaff Foundation, Hilda E. — $1,000
- Broad Foundation, Eli & Edythe — $27,500 | Homebuilding and retirement.
- Castle Rock Foundation — $50,000 | Coors founder's son.
- Chase Foundation of Virginia — $47,150 | JP Morgan banking heirs.
- Chrysler Foundation — $225,000 | Automotive corporation.
- Dart Foundation — $20,000 | Founder of Dart Container Corp.
- DeVos Foundation, Daniel and Pamella — $50,000 | Amway founder's son, CEO DP Fox Ventures.
- DeVos Foundation, Dick & Betsy — $70,000 | Gov candidate./former State Rep. Chair.
- DeVos Foundation, Douglas & Maria — $55,000 | Current Alticor (Amway) Co-CEO.
- DeVos Foundation, Richard and Helen — $90,000 | Amway founder.
- Donner Foundation, William H. — $20,000 | Heirs of Union Steel Co. founder.
- Dow Foundation, Herbert H. and Grace A. — $2,055,500 | Dow Chemical founder's widow.
- Dunn's Found. Advancement of Right Thinking — $576,000 | Investment company founder.
- Earhart Foundation, MI — $333,300 | White Star Oil heirs.
- ExxonMobil Foundation, TX — $10,000 | Oil corporation.
- Fisher Foundation, Max M. and Marjorie S. — $1,000 | Gas stations and real estate.
- Gelman Educational Foundation — $10,000 | Gelman Instrument Company.
- General Motors Foundation, Inc. — $30,000 | Automotive corporation.
- Gerstacker Foundation, Rollin M. — $150,000 | Dow Chemical Chairman (retired).
- Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc. — $5,500 | Insurance corp. (includes Citizens).
- Hansen Foundation, Robert and Marie — $25,000 | Cogen Technologies founder.
- Heritage Mark Foundation — $7,000 | Christian causes, emphasis on evangelism.
- Herrick Foundation — $1,950,000 | Tecumseh Engines founder's son.
- Hickory Foundation — $40,000 | Investment company founder's former wife.
- Hume Foundation, Jaquelin — $375,000 | Basic Vegetable company heir.
- J. P. Humphreys Foundation — $40,000 | TAMKO roofing ,composite decking founder’s wife.
- JM Foundation — $45,000 | Borden Milk Company heirs.
- Kelly Services, Inc. Foundation, MI — $3,500 | Staffing corporation.
- Koch Charitable Foundation, Charles G. — $50,000 Oil corporation heir, founder of Cato Institute.
- Merillat Foundation, Orville D. & Ruth A. — $195,000 | Cabinet manufacturer founder's widow.
- Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation — $36,000 | Over-the-counter drug manufacturer.
- Peters Foundation, Ruth and Lovett, OH — $525,000 | Procter & Gamble heirs.
- Pope Foundation, John William — $4,500 | Variety Wholesalers retail chain founder.
- Prince Foundation, Edgar and Elsa — $125,000 | Prince Automotive founder's widow.
- Rodney Fund — $744,500 | Detroit Forming founder/Mackinac Bd member.
- Roe Foundation — $150,000 | Builder Marts of American / State Policy Network founder.
- Scaife Foundation, Sarah — $50,000 | Mellon industrial, oil and banking heirs
- Schiavone Family Foundation — $10,000 | Construction company investigated for organized crime connections.
- Staley Educational Foundation, Richard Seth — $1,000
- Strosacker Foundation, Charles J — $68,750 | Dow Chemical Board member.
- Van Andel Foundation, Jay and Betty — $20,000 | Amway founder's widow.
- Walton Family Foundation — $100,000 | Wall Mart heirs.
Board of Directors
- Joseph Fitzsimmons — Member
- Dulce Fuller — Member
- Richard Haworth — Member
- Kent Herrick — Vice Chairman
- J.C. Huizenga — Member
- R. Kinnan — Member
- Joseph Lehman — President
- Edward Levy — Member
- Rodney Lockwood — Member
- Joseph Maguire — Treasurer
- Richard McLellan — Secretary
- D. Joseph Olson — Member
- Clifford Taylor — Chairman
Board of Scholars
- Donald Alexander — Western Michigan University
- Thomas Bertonneau — SUNY - Oswego
- Bradley Birzer — Hillsdale College
- Peter Boettke — George Mason University
- Michael Clark — Hillsdale College
- Stephen Colarelli — Central Michigan University
- Dan Crane — University of Michigan Law School
- Christopher Douglas — University of Michigan-Flint
- Jefferson Edgens — Thomas University
- Ross Emmett — Michigan State University
- Sarah Estelle — Hope College
- John Grether — Northwood University
- Michael Heberling — Baker College
- David Hebert — Ferris State University
- Michael Hicks — Ball State University
- Harry Hutchison — George Mason University School of Law
- Dale Matcheck — Northwood University
- Glenn Moots — Northwood University
- Todd Nesbit — Ohio State University
- Mark Perry — University of Michigan-Flint
- Howard Schwartz — Oakland University
- Bradley Smith — Capital University Law School
- Jason Taylor — Central Michigan University
- John Taylor — Wayne State University
- Richard Vedder — Ohio University
- Harry Veryser — University of Detroit-Mercy
- Gary Wolfram — Hillsdale College
Scholars Outside Academia
William Allen — Michigan State University (Emeritus)
- Theodore Bolema — Mercatus Center
- Andrew Coulson — Cato Institute
- Richard Cutler — University of Michigan (ret.)
- David Felbeck — University of Michigan (ret.)
- Burton Folsom — Senior Fellow in Economic Education
- Ormand Hook — Mecosta Osceola ISD
- Robert Hunter — Senior Fellow in Labor Policy
- David Janda — Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine
- Annette Kirk — Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
- David Littmann — Senior Economist
- Charles Meiser — Lake Superior State University (ret.)
- George Nastas — Marketing Consultants
- John Pafford — Northwood University (ret.)
- Lawrence Reed — President Emeritus
- Gregory Rehmke — Economic Thinking
- Stephen Safranek — Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
- Martha Seger — Federal Reserve Board (ret.)
- James Sheehan — Deutsche Bank Securities
- Robert Sirico — Acton Institute
- Jürgen Skoppek — Michigan Supreme Court
- John Walter — Dow Corning Corporation
- William Wilson — The Heritage Foundation
- Michael Winther — Institute for Principle Studies
- Dan Armstrong — Director of Marketing & Communications
- Tom Gantert — Senior Capitol Correspondent
- James Hohman — Assistant Director of Fiscal Policy
- Andrew Koehlinger — VoteSpotter Project Director
- Michael LaFaive — Director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative
- Joseph Lehman — President
- Chantal Lovell — Media Relations Manager
- Jack McHugh — Senior Legislative Analyst
- Michael Reitz — Executive Vice President
- Kahryn Riley — Advancement Officer
- Geneva Ruppert — Communications Associate
- Anne Schieber — Senior Investigative Analyst
- Jarrett Skorup — Policy Analyst
- Audrey Spalding — Education Policy Fellow
- Jack Spencer — Capitol Affairs Specialist
- Michael Van Beek — Director of Research
- F. Vincent Vernuccio — Director of Labor Policy
- Jim Walker — Vice President for Advancement
- Derk Wilcox — Senior Attorney
- Patrick Wright — Vice President for Legal Affairs
- Dale Anderson — Information Systems Administrator
- Ilia Anderson — Graphic Design Assistant
- Bruce Beerbower — Operations Administrator
- Patricia Benner — Vice President for Operations
- Isaiah Bierbrauer — Information Systems Developer
- Kimberley Fischer-Kinne — Event Manager
- Stephen Frick — Manager of Information Systems
- LeAnn Hadley — Administrative Assistant
- Beth Hanson — Operations Office Assistant
- Gwendolyn Karl — Member Services Assistant
- Julie Meyer — Database Manager
- Sharon Millerwise — Administrative Assistant
- Lorie Shane — Managing Director of Advancement
- Kendra Shrode — Assistant to the President
- Jonathan VanDerhoof — Graphic Designer
Past Board of Directors (2012)
- Paul Gadola — Judge, Reagan Campaign Chair, Federalist Society.
- Phil Jenkins — CEO of Sweepster Inc.
- R. Douglas Kinnan — Senior Vice President and C.F.O., Amerisure Insurance.
Past Board of Scholars (2012)
- Robert Crowner — Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Stewardship, Acton Institute.
- Wayland Gardner
- Paul McCracken — Past director, Dow Chemical Co., Johnson Controls, Lincoln National Corporation, Sara Lee, and Texas Instruments.
Below is a sample of other staff members or contributors listed on the Mackinac Center's main “personnel” page as of November 2015. 
Many of their staff members and contributors are associated with the Heartland Institute, Reason Foundation, Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Property and Environment Research Center, and a vast variety of other free-market think tanks.
View the attached spreadsheet for a full list of the Mackinac center's 500+ staff members (.xls).
- David Tuerck
- Paul Chesser — Adjunct Scholar. 
- Joseph Bast — Contributor. 
- Donald Boudreaux — Adunct Scholar. 
- John Charles — Contributor. 
- Sally Pipes — Adjunct Scholar. 
- Michael Sanera — Contributor. 
- Margo Thorning — Adjunct Scholar. 
- Craig Rucker
- Jason Clemens
- John Semmens
- Paul Bachman
- Robert Bradley
- Robert Murphy
- Steven Hayward
- Adam Pritchard
- Alan Philp
- Andrew Biggs
- Barry Lynn
- Ben Lieberman
- Brian Balfour
- Brian Crowley
- Bruce Yandle
- Bruno Manno
- Chester Finn
- Clark Neily
- Clint Bolick
- Daland Juberg
- David Juday
- David Ropeik
- David Rothbard
- Dick Armey
- Frederick Hess
- Herbert Walberg
- Jeffrey Tucker
- John Blundell
- John Chubb
- John Goodman
- John Graham
- John Hood
- Kenneth Boehm
- Kenneth Chilton
- Lance Izumi
- Matthew Ladner
- Merrill Matthews
- Michael Nolan
- Michael Sanera
- Paul Gessing
- Paul McCracken
- Peter Glaser
- Peter Hoekstra
- Richard Devos
- Richard Ebeling
- Robert Poole
- Roger Meiners
- Ronald Utt
- Russ Harding
- Sandra Feldman
- Scott Hodge
- Sheldon Richman
- Stephen Moore
- Terry Moe
- Tom Bray
- Wendell Cox
- Brian Carpenter
- Daniel Griswold
- Devon Herrick
- Diane Katz
- Geoffrey Segal
- George Landrith
- Gerald Musgrave
- James Gattuso
- John Coonradt
- Jon Perdue
- Kent Davis
- Leonard Gilroy
- Lisa Snell
- Lynn Scarlett
- Margo Thorning
- Matt Moore
- Max Schulz
- Michael De Alessi
- Michael Tanner
- Nancie Marzulla
- Nick Gillespie
- Paul Kersey
- Peter VanDoren
- Richard Stroup
- Sally Pipes
- Randal O'Toole
- Robert James Bidinotto
- Adam Thierer
- Dane Skorup
- Nick Dranias
Writing in Michigan Capitol Confidential (one of the Mackinac Center's “daily news” sites),  Tom Gantert writes that the recent efforts by a coalition of state attorneys general to investigate ExxonMobil's knowledge of climate change. 
Gantert repeats the same “freedom of speech” argument used by ExxonMobil's own lawyer, as well as the recently-created Free Speech in Science Project. He argues that the attorneys general are trying to “silence opponents of progressive theories” with the “threat of criminal prosecution.” 
“While these nonprofits and climate change dissenters are the current targets, one attorney warns the tactic represents a danger to political free speech that is protected by the First Amendment,” Gantert writes.
Although the author admits that “The development of gas wells using hydraulic fracturing technology poses some environmental risk,” the article suggests that “state officials should resist the temptation to over-regulate the [fracking] process, which could result in the loss of valuable jobs and an additional source of energy to heat Michigan’s homes and power its factories.”
May 21, 2011
The Mackinac Center published a blog post on their website rhetorically asking readers if “90 percent of scientists really buy into global warming alarmism.”
Citing William Happer and John Christy as part of the “remaining 10 percent” that do not “buy into global warming alarmism,” the Mackinac Center's blog post quoted Happer as saying “It is fashionable to believe in harmful global warming due to evil mankind … What could be a more worthy cause than saving the planet?” and Christy as saying “The problem is the degree of warming … Ninety percent would agree that mankind has some impact on the climate, but a lower percentage would say it was a dangerous impact.” 
Mackinac Center Contact & Location
As of June 2016, the Mackinac Center listed the following contact information on its website: 
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640
E-mail: [email protected]
- State Policy Network — Member.
The Mackinac Center's publications and related sites include:
- MichiganScience Magazine — Mackinac Center's environmental publication.
- Michigan Capitol Confidential
- The Overton Window
- Michigan Education Digest
- Michigan Education Report
- Students for a Free Economy (Defunct?)
- Mackinac Center Legal Foundation
Ted O'Neil. “Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Gala,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, November 15, 2013. Archived November 12, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6d087dyya
Greg Steimel. “The Truth About the Mackinac Center” (PDF), Michigan Education Association, April 21, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
”Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 23, 2015.
Cookson, Molnar, Embree. Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice report. Let the Buyer Beware: An Analysis of Social Science Value and Methodological Quality of Educational Studies Published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (1990-2001). (PDF), September 28, 2011. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
“Mackinac Center for Public Policy,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed May 17, 2016.
ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Mackinac Center. Accessed November 12, 2015.
“Mackinac Center for Public Policy: Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” GreenPeace USA. Archived November 13, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6d0750NiN
“Personnel,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Archived March 3, 2012.
Search for Phrase “Climate Change,” Mackinac.org. Accessed November 12, 2015.
Kent R. Davis. “Global Warming: Mother Nature Is Still In Charge,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, November 2, 1998. Archived November 13, 2015.
Russ Harding. “Hydraulic Fracturing: A look at the future of natural gas extraction,” MichiganScience, June 7, 2011. Archived November 14, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6d1RCFcuw
“Do 90 Percent of Scientists Really Buy Into Global Warming Alarmism?” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, May 21, 2011. Archived November 1, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6d1RJgmLl
Henry Payne. “Panel: 'The Changing Debate on Climategate',” National Review Online, March 17, 2010. Archived March 22, 2010.
Tom Gantert. “Changing the Climate on Climate Change,” Capitol Confidential, March 16, 2010. Archived March 23, 2010.
Jack Spencer. “'Big Oil' and Climate ChangeL Debunking an urban myth,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, January 16, 2015. Archived May 17, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6haB9PXH6
David Hasemyer and Bob Simison. “Exxon Fights Subpoena in Widening Climate Probe, Citing Violation of Its Constitutional Rights,” InsideClimateNews, April 14, 2016. Archived May 11, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6hQms1o2a
Steve Horn. “Exxon's Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims,” DeSmogBlog, May 10, 2016.
Tom Gantert. “State Attorneys General Wage War on Political Dissent,” Michigan Capitol Confidential, May 2, 2016. Archived May 17, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6haCBWQcI
Andy Kroll. “Meet the New Kochs: The DeVos Clan's Plan to Defund the Left,” Mother Jones, January/February 2014. Archived May 17, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6haD8Baca
Andy Kroll. “Behind Michigan's 'Financial Martial Law': Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires,” Mother Jones, March 23, 2011. Archived May 17, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6haDTXhJN
“Who's Running Michigan? The Far-Right Influence of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy,” November 13, 2013. Retrieved from scribd.com. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
“New reports show power of corporatist groups like Mackinac Center to implement statewide policies/laws benefiting corporations,” Eclectablog.com, November 14, 2013. Archived May 17, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6haFwH8oo