Right Wing think tank sets target on Washington State cap and trade

You’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of the Washington Policy Center (WPC), a right-wing “freemarket” think tank based in Seattle, Washington. Most likely you haven’t heard of them because you don’t follow State-level politics or because the WPC has changed its name a few times over the last few years.

In any event, you should get to know them because they are running some pretty heavy lobbying activities at the Washington State Legislature in an attempt to block plans for a new cap and trade greenhouse gas reduction strategy.

You can go here to read our full research peice on the Washington Policy Center: Washington Policy Center: Background and History.

Here’s the quick highlights:


The Washington Policy Center (WPC) is a free-market think tank based in Seattle, Washington with annual revenue of approx. $1.3 million. The WPC was originally founded as the “Washington Institute for Policy Studies.”  In 1997 the Washington Institute for Policy Studies (WIPS) created a new organization, the Washington Institute Foundation.  Eventually, in 1998, the Washington Institute Foundation replaced WIPS.  In 2001 the Washington Institute Foundation was renamed the Washington Policy Center.

WPC’s mission is to “promote limited government and free market solutions for state and local issues, and be Washington state’s premier public policy institute providing high qulity analysis and research for our state’s citizens, policymakers and media.”  Washington Policy Center has been referred to as the “Heritage Foundation of the Northwest.”


The Washington Policy Center chooses not to disclose its donors.  However, according Media Transparency, $387,500 have been donated cumulatively to the WPC, WIF, and WIPS.  The largest donor is The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.; it has provided the WPC with just under half the funding – $178,500

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is considered the “largest and most influential right-wing foundation” in the United States.

We’re watching and researching the activities of the Washington Policy Center, so watch for more on this group in the coming weeks.


I did a little bit of searching after you mentioned them.  Looks like they have worked together with the Discovery Institute a fair amount, cosponsoring events – and I keep on seeing the names of the “we drink at the Exxon trough” regulars popping up.  The Discovery Institute is also based out of Seattle, my home town for the past ten years.  Not sure what attracts such rightwing institutes to such a liberal city.  

We saw the same connection popping up and your comment reminded me to get our researcher working on this. Check back in a few days when we’ve completed the research and reported our findings.

As you know, Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr is/was a far rightwing member of the millenialist Dominionist movement, messed up with Rushdoony and all that.  He was also the main sugar daddy for the Discovery Institute.  Well, I had a hunch that he was probably funding the Washington Policy Center, but nothing came up on a first search except static.

So I decided to do a little more searching, afterall, he wouldn’t necessarily want it to be too traceable.  In the background and history piece you have done on WPC, you bring up the funding they have received from the Scaife Family Foundations.  Turns out that he was the director of the Claremont Institute which has been a donor to the Sarah Scaife Foundation, at least according to:

Muckety Interactive Ahmanson Foundation Map


Now I know of course that this does not mean that Ahmanson was funneling any money to the WPC.  It is strictly circumstantial.  But the fact that there has been so much cooperation between the Discovery Institute and the Washington Policy Center is in itself suspicious.  Too many coincidences?

Well, just wait…

If you look at what was funded by the:

Roe Foundation

For years:

1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

Total contributed: $ 10,491,429


… shows the Washington Policy Center receiving $47,500 from the Roe Foundation.

Digging into the Roe Foundation, we find that the Roe Foundation Clifford S. Heinz is on the Board of Directors of the Free Congress Foundation, and that likewise, funding for the Free Congress Foundation came from Carthage Foundation Richard Mellon Scaife ($3,500,000) and Howard Ahmanson, Jr Fieldstead Foundation ($152,000).

Please see:


(Compiled by PRO-S.O.C.S., REF: THE COORS CONNECTION, Russ Bellant)


However, looking at all this, it is beginning to remind me of all the people and organizations that are taking money from Exxon, or alternatively, all of the creationist churches and related organizations in the UK that have been trying to get creationism into the schools.  Spaghetti.

Don’t have the time to make sense  of it all, particularly as there are so many interrelationships.  But perhaps this will be of some interest.

It extends to religion as both are major patrons of the Institute on Religion and Democracy…

“These prominent Catholics confer their prestige and considerable power to encourage right-wing donors to finance IRD. They are key links to the patrons of IRD which include Richard Mellon Scaife, Howard Ahmanson and the Bradley, Coors, Smith-Richardson, Randolph, and Olin foundations with whom these Neoconservative Catholics have had a long working relationship (Media Transparency, 2006a).”

Neocon Catholics target mainline Protestants

Institute on Religion and Democracy leads serious breach of ecumenical good will

Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D.

August 11, 2006


… and as it turns out, both Richard Mellon Scaife and Howard Ahmanson are regarded as major financiers of the religious right:

“The Guardian Unlimited, October 12, 2003, reports on a meeting of two organizations, the American Anglican Council, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy. The goal is to punish the Anglican Church for accepting a gay Bishop. The former is funded by Howard Ahmanson, the latter by Richard Mellon Scaife, both major financiers of the Religious Right.”

Theocracy Watch:  The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party


Washington Policy Center, 3404 4th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98134

Discovery Institute, 208 Columbia Street, Seattle, WA 98104

About 2.3 miles apart, 7 minutes drive.  WPC is well outside of downtown, more the industrial section, DI is southern downtown.

Main personell – no one is on both lists, but those are just the people listed on the websites.

John Hamer, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, Former Vice President of Washington Institute for Policy Studies, currently Executive Director of the Washington News Council.

JOHN HAMER is Executive Director of the Washington News Council, which he helped found in 1998. Hamer was formerly Associate Editorial-Page Editor at The Seattle Times. He came to The Times from Washington, D.C., where he was Staff Writer at Congressional Quarterly and Associate Editor of Editorial Research Reports. He began his journalism career as a reporter at The Oregon Journal in Portland. As a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank, he co-authored International Seattle: Creating a Globally Competitive Community (1993). He later became Vice President of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies, then President of the CounterPoint Center for ReMEDIAtion, a media-critique think tank. He was co-editor of CounterPoint, the center’s newsletter, and co-author of ‘Watchdogs,’ a media column that ran in Seattle Weekly and Eastsideweek. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a masterˆs degree in journalism from Stanford University. He and his wife live on Mercer Island.”

Washington News Council:  Council Member Bios


Bill Baldwin, former president of the board of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies, board member of the Discovery Institute. 

“ ‘Prior to founding Baldwin Resource Group, Baldwin was president of the board of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies, an influential Seattle-based conservative think tank (now known as Washington Policy Center)….  He is a board member of the Discovery Institute, Evergreen Bank, and prior board member of The Foundation for Economic Education, the Washington Council for Private Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters of King County, City Club and Weberize.’”

William Baldwin