State Policy Network

State Policy Network (SPN)


The State Policy Network (SPN) is a group of free market think tanks in the U.S. According to its website, there is at least one member in every state “fighting to limit government and advance market-friendly public policy at the state and local levels.” SPN is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is supported largely by conservative foundations. [1][2]

The State Policy Network was started in 1992 by Thomas A. Roe, at the urging of Ronald Reagan, and originally called the Madison Group. SPN's vision is that “state-based think tanks will educate the general public and policy makers in every state to embrace market-friendly policies that maximize liberty and opportunity.” [3]

Stance on Climate Change

SPN supports the work of many of the most vocal think tanks that are promoting climate change skepticism including the Heartland Institute, Cato Institute, and Heritage Foundation

In a “policy exchange” promoting the views of Marlo Lewis Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, SPN claims that “the EPA's ever-increasing mandates, from the revised air standards for ozone to the new greenhouse gas emissions standards, will severely impact state economic growth.” [4]

On the subject of climate change, SPN has promoted the view that “… the planet is believed to be experiencing a global cooling-not a warming.” [5]


The following data is based on data collected by the Conservative Transparency project. Note that not all funding data has been verified by DeSmogBlog for accuracy.
See the attached spreadsheet for a complete list of State Policy Network funding by year (.xlsx)[6]

As Recipient

Donor Total
Donors Capital Fund $17,916,124
Searle Freedom Trust $2,702,000
DonorsTrust $1,839,499
The Thirteen Foundation $1,526,125
The Roe Foundation $1,107,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $805,000
JM Foundation $775,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $215,000
John M. Olin Foundation $155,000
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $150,000
Castle Rock Foundation $135,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $130,860
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking $101,000
John William Pope Foundation $101,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $98,805
Institute for Humane Studies $94,751
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation $77,500
Lowndes Foundation $75,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation $75,000
William H. Donner Foundation $68,500
PhRMA $60,000
The Rodney Fund $58,500
Armstrong Foundation $55,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $49,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $34,423
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $25,000
John Dawson Foundation $25,000
Reams Foundation $25,000
American Legislative Exchange Council $15,000
Barney Family Foundation $10,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice $10,000
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation $7,000
Deramus Foundation $6,000
Tepper Family Foundation $6,000
Robert P. Rotella Foundation $5,000
Aequus Institute $4,500
National Christian Charitable Foundation $3,500
The Robertson-Finley Foundation $2,500
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation $1,000
Grand Total $28,550,587

As Donor

Recipient Total
Operation Geek Farm $496,900
James Madison Institute $404,322
Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives $388,750
Illinois Policy Institute $367,800
Texas Public Policy Foundation $366,900
Independence Institute $314,463
Mackinac Center for Public Policy $301,050
Idaho Freedom Foundation $290,000
Oregon Capital Watch Fund $290,000
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs $285,000
Opporunity Ohio $265,775
Pelican Institute $253,000
North Dakota Policy institute $241,197
Foundation for Government Accountability $223,150
South Carolina Policy Council $220,139
Maine Heritage Policy Center $206,000
Cascade Policy Institute $204,822
Sutherland Institute $182,424
Competitive Governance Institute (Formerly Sam Adams Alliance) $181,386
Freedom Foundation $175,750
Ocean State Policy Research $172,166
Show-Me Institute $170,551
Everglades Legal Foundation $170,000
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity $160,000
Goldwater Institute for Public Policy $149,349
Maryland Public Policy Institute $142,500
Rio Grande Foundation $137,250
Open Government Institute of California $135,000
Washington Policy Center $134,832
Opportunity Ohio $129,000
Montana Policy Institute $127,000
South Carolina Policy institute $125,000
Spark Freedom $118,500
Beacon Hill Institute $117,000
Advance Arkansas Institute $111,000
Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions $107,250
Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity $100,000
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute $93,555
Wyoming Liberty Group $90,000
Thomas Jefferson Institute $87,200
Texas Watchdog $82,000
DC Progress $81,791
Empire Center for Public Policy $81,500
Alabama Policy Institute $81,000
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota $79,500
John Locke Foundation $75,814
Maclver Institute $75,000
Kansas Policy Institute $72,100
Caesar Rodney Institute $66,000
Georgia Public Policy Foundation $65,475
California Policy Center $59,100
Virginia Institute for Public Policy $58,941
Evergreen Freedom Foundation $57,414
Tennessee Center for Policy Research $52,589
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy $50,069
Common Sense Institute of New Jersey $50,000
Liberty on the Rocks $50,000
Pacific Research institute $50,000
Beacon Center of Tennessee $45,000
Nevada Policy Research Institute $43,000
Platte Institute for Economic Research $41,000
Georgia Center for Opportunity $40,000
John W Pope Civitas Institute $40,000
True The Vote $40,000
Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia $35,000
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions $30,000
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research $30,000
State Budget Solutions $30,000
Texas Conservative Coalition $30,000
Where's The Line $30,000
American Phoenix Foundation $25,000
Palmetto Policy Forum $25,000
Ethan Allen Institute $24,930
Liberty Foundation $24,700
Wyoming Policy Institute $22,500
Public Interest Institute $21,250
Center for Constitutional Law $20,000
First Freedom Foundation of South Dakota $20,000
Atlas Economic Research Foundation $17,894
Solutions for New Jersey $12,500
Pelican Institute for Public Policy $10,250
TNReportcom News Services $7,985
Arkanansas Policy Foundation $6,100
Mississippi Center for Public Policy $6,044
1816 Institute $5,846
Talent Market $5,000
Flint Hills Center For Public Policy $2,500
Grassroots Institute of Hawaii $2,500
Great Plains Public Policy Institute $2,500
Georgia Family Council $1,182
Pioneer Institute $718
Louisiana Family Forum $411
Grand Total $10,123,084

990 Forms


Peabody Energy Funding

June 13, 2016

The State Policy Network was listed as a creditor in Peabody Energy's 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). A number of SPN members including the Independence Institute from Colorado, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation have direct financial ties to Peabody. [11]

While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy's financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [12]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRichard LindzenRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [13]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [14]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:

Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:

December 13, 2015

Writing as a guest blogger on Watts Up With That, CFACT's executive director Craig Rucker denounced the latest UN climate change agreement: [39]

“This agreement will not meaningfully alter the temperature of the Earth, even under the U.N.’s own computer models.

“The bad news is that it plants the seeds of a new UN climate regime that left unchecked will swell into a bureaucratic behemoth.”

Key People

Board of Directors

As of September, 2015: [7]

State Policy Network Contact & Location

As of June 2016, the State Policy Network (SPN) listed the following contact information on its website: [15]

State Policy Network
1655 North Fort Myer Drive
Suite 360
Arlington, VA 22209

Phone: (703) 243-1655
Fax: (703) 740-0314

Related Organizations

SPN states that membership is voluntary and by invitation-only. According to their website, “SPN's mission is to provide its members with capacity-building services. SPN neither directs nor manages its members' programs or activities. SPN members pride themselves on their independence and relevancy to their respective states and/or areas of public policy research.” [9]

Regular Members

A regular member operates as a full-service think tank, addressing a variety of relevant policy issues, not just a single-issue. They will operate independently with their state, and not as part of a state chapter, franchise, other effort of a separate organization. Their primary goal is to provide educational materials to the citizenry, public officials, and members of the media with a state-based focus. They refuse to accept or solicit government funding, and are IRS approved 501(c)(3)s.”

Associate Members

Like regular members, associate members are organizations that display a commitment to a market-oriented foundational public policy. They are also IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations primarily focused on education and operate independently of all government funding. However, unlike regular members, SPN Associate Members can be national in scope and are not necessarily oriented towards a single state.”

As of September, 2015, The State Policy Network listed the following members in their online directory (view all State Policy Network member organizations in .xls format): [10] 

SPN Members SPN Associate Members Other Organizations
Advance Arkansas Institute 1851 Center for Constitutional Law ACCF Center for Policy Research
Alabama Policy Institute Accuracy In Media Accuracy in Academia
Alaska Policy Forum Acton Institute Adams Report
Arkansas Policy Foundation Advocates for Self-Government Alliance Defense Fund
Beacon Center of Tennessee Allegheny Institute for Public Policy Alliance for Choice in Education
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions Alliance for School Choice Alliance for Maine's Future
Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions America's Future Foundation America's Future
Caesar Rodney Institute American Consumer Institute American Association of Small Property Owners
California Public Policy Center American Council of Trustees and Alumni American Center for Law and Justice
Calvert Institute for Policy Research American Enterprise Institute American Conservative Union
Cascade Policy Institute American Legislative Exchange Council American Council on Science & Health
Center of the American Experiment American Majority American Dream Coalition
Commonwealth Foundation American Principles Project American Institute for Full Employment
Empire Center American Tradition Institute American Land Rights Association
Empower Mississippi Foundation American Transparency - OpenTheBooks American Majority
Ethan Allen Institute Americans for Prosperity Foundation Americans for Fair Taxation
Foundation for Government Accountability Americans For Tax Reform Americans for Free Choice in Medicine
Freedom Foundation (formerly Evergreen Freedom Foundation) Ashbrook Center Americans for Limited Government Foundation
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota Atlantic Legal Foundation Americans for Prosperity - Arizona
Georgia Center for Opportunity Atlas Network Americans for Prosperity - Colorado
Georgia Public Policy Foundation Ayn Rand Institute Americans for Prosperity - Georgia
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii Bastiat Society Americans for Prosperity - Illinois
Great Plains Public Policy Institute Bastiat Society of Charleston Americans for Prosperity - Michigan
Idaho Freedom Foundation Bastiat Society of Charlotte Americans for Prosperity - Missouri
Illinois Policy Institute Bastiat Society of Cleveland Americans for Prosperity - NC
Independence Institute Bastiat Society of Colorado Springs Americans for Prosperity - NJ
Indiana Policy Review Foundation Bastiat Society of Delaware Americans for Prosperity - North Dakota
James Madison Institute Bastiat Society of Indianapolis Americans for Prosperity - Oklahoma
John Locke Foundation Bastiat Society of Nashville Americans for Prosperity - South Carolina
John William Pope Civitas Institute Bastiat Society of Portland Americans for Prosperity - South Dakota
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy Bastiat Society of Sacramento Americans for Prosperity - Texas
Kansas Policy Institute Bastiat Society of San Jose Americans for Prosperity - Topeka, Kansas
Libertas Institute Bastiat Society of St. Louis Americans for Prosperity - Virginia
MacIver Institute for Public Policy Bastiat Society of Wichita Americans for Prosperity - Wichita, Kansas
Mackinac Center for Public Policy Bastiat Society of Wilmington Americans for Prosperity- Wisconsin
Maine Heritage Policy Center Beacon Hill Institute Americans United for Life
Maryland Public Policy Institute Benjamin Rush Institute Association of American Educators
Mississippi Center for Public Policy Better Government Project Bill of Rights Institute
Montana Policy Institute Capital Research Center Black Alliance for Educational Options
Nevada Policy Research Institute Cato Institute Broad Foundation
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Centennial Institute Building Excellent Schools
Pacific Research Institute Center for Competitive Politics California Common Sense
Palmetto Promise Institute Center for Education Reform CalWatchDog
Pelican Institute for Public Policy Citizens Against Government Waste Center for Civic Renewal
Pioneer Institute Citizens Council for Health Freedom Center for Individual Freedom
Platte Institute for Economic Research Claremont Institute Center for Self-Government in the West
Public Interest Institute Compact for America Educational Foundation Center for Union Facts
Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia Competitive Enterprise Institute Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity David Horowitz Freedom Center Christian Coalition of Alabama
Rio Grande Foundation DonorsTrust Citizen Outreach Foundation
Show-Me Institute Education Action Group Foundation Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania
South Carolina Policy Council Families Against Mandatory Minimums Citizens Equal Rights Alliance
Sutherland Institute Foundation for Economic Education Citizens for Limited Taxation
Texas Public Policy Foundation Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability Civitas Institute
Thomas Jefferson Institute Foundation for Excellence in Education Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
Virginia Institute for Public Policy Foundation for Self-Government Club for Growth
Washington Policy Center Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity Concerned Women for America
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Fraser Institute Congressional Institute
Wyoming Liberty Group Free State Foundation Consumers for Health Care Choices
Wyoming Policy Institute Free to Choose Network Cornerstone Policy Research
Yankee Institute for Public Policy FreedomWorks DCI Group Inc.
  Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice Eagle Forum
  Frontier Lab Education Advancement Fund International
  Fund for American Studies Education Liberty Watch
  Galen Institute Inc. Ethics and Public Policy Center
  Goldwater Institute Excellent Education for Everyone
  Headspring Group Family Action Council of Tennessee
  Heartland Institute Family Research Council
  Heritage Foundation Federalist Society
  Independent Institute Florida TaxWatch
  Independent Women's Forum Foundation for Free Enterprise
  Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  Institute for Justice Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
  Institute for Policy Innovation Freedom Works - California
  Institute for Truth in Accounting Freedom Works - Colorado
  Intellectual Takeout Freedom Works - Florida
  Intercollegiate Studies Institute Freedom Works - Michigan
  Jesse Helms Center Freedom Works - North Carolina
  John William Pope Center for Higher Education Freedom Works - Oklahoma
  Judicial Watch Inc. Freedom Works - Oregon
  Just Facts Freedom Works - Texas
  Keystone Community of Hope Freedom Works - Washington State
  Leadership Institute Freedom Works - Wisconsin
  Leadership Program of the Rockies Future of Freedom Foundation
  Liberty Foundation of America Houston Property Rights Association
  Limited Government Forum Indiana Family Institute
  Louisiana Family Forum Innosight Institute
  Lucy Burns Institute Institute for Health Freedom
  Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Institute of the North
  Mercatus Center at George Mason University Iowa Taxpayer Association
  Moving Picture Institute John Jay Institute
  National Center for Policy Analysis Justice Foundation
  National Center for Public Policy Research Kansas Taxpayers Network
  National Legal and Policy Center Landmark Legal Foundation
  National Review Institute Let Freedom Ring
  National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Lexington Institute
  National Taxpayers Union Liberty Fund
  National Taxpayers Union Foundation Liberty Institute
  New Jersey Family Policy Council Liberty on the Rocks
  North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
  Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation Lincoln Legal Foundation
  Pacific Legal Foundation MacIver Institute for Public Policy
  Prometheus Institute Maryland Taxpayers Association Inc.
  Property & Environment Research Center Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA)
  R Street Institute Montana Taxpayers Association
  Reason Foundation Mountain States Legal Foundation
  Regular Folks United National Institute for Labor Relations Research
  Sam Adams Alliance National Tax Limitation Committee
  Small Business Hawaii National Taxpayers United-Illinois
  South Carolinians for Responsible Government Nebraska Tax Research Council
  Spark Freedom Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom
  State Budget Solutions Nevada Taxpayers Association
  Steamboat Institute Open Government Institute of California
  Students For Liberty Oregonians in Action
  Taliesin Nexus Parents In Charge Foundation
  Tax Foundation Pennsylvania Leadership Conference
  The Liberty Foundation of America Performance Institute
  Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Philanthropy Roundtable
  Tuerck Foundation for the Study of Economics, Law and the Humanities Property Rights Foundation of America Inc.
  Utah Taxpayers Foundation Public Policy Institute of New York
  Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Inc. Public Service Research Foundation
  Young America's Foundation REACH
  Youth Entrepreneurs Religious Freedom Coalition
    Research Institute for Hawaii
    Rocky Mountain Foundation
    Sagamore Institute for Policy Research
    San Diego Institute for Policy Research
    Searle Freedom Trust
    Southeastern Legal Foundation
    Students in Free Enterprise
    Susan B. Anthony List
    Tax Foundation of Hawaii
    Taxpayer Association of Oregon
    Taxpayer's Federation of Illinois
    Taxpayers Network Incorporated
    Teach NYS
    Tennessee for Tax Reform
    Tennessee Tax Revolt
    Tennessee Taxpayers Association
    Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
    The Atlas Society
    The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College
    The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism
    Victims of the Endangered Species Act (VESA)
    We the People Foundation
    Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance
    Wyoming Heritage Foundation
    Young America's Foundation - California


  1. About SPN,” State Policy Network. Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL

  2. Andy Kroll. “The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions,” Mother Jones, April 25, 2011. Archived September 16, 2015. 

  3. John J. Miller. “Fifty Flowers Bloom,” Hey Miller, September 16, 2009. Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL

  4. SPN Environmental Policy Exchange: Volume 4, Issue 2 (March 16, 2011). Archived September 16, 2015. WebCite URL

  5. SPN Environmental Policy Exchange: Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 2010). Archived September 15, 2015.  WebCite URL

  6. State Policy Network,” Conservative Transparency Project Search. Accessed September 15, 2015.

  7. Staff,” State Policy Network. Archived September 19, 2015. WebCite URL

  8. SPN Remembers Whitney Ball,” State Policy Network. WebCite URL

  9. SPN Membership Information,” State Policy Network. Archived September 18, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. WebCite URL

  10. Directory,” State Policy Network. Accessed September 18, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  11. Nick Surgey. “Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding,” PRWatch, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URL:

  12. In re: Peabody Energy Corporation, et al. Debtors,” United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division, Case 16-42529, May 27, 2016. Retrieved from DocumentCloud.

  13. Farron Cousins. “Court Documents Show Coal Giant Peabody Energy Funded Dozens Of Climate Denial Groups,” DeSmogBlog, June 13, 2016. 

  14. Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson. “Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change,” The Guardian, June 13, 2016. Archived June 20, 2016. WebCite URL

  15. Contact Us,” State Policy Network. Archived June 29, 2016. WebCite URL:

Other Resources

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