The State Policy Network (SPN) is an umbrella group of right-wing “think tanks” across the country.

The Cascade Policy Institute (CPI) for Economic Research is SPN’s cookie-cutter think tank in Oregon. While CPI claims to be focused on issues important to the people of Oregon, it actually pushes an agenda dictated by its national right-wing funders and partners.

In April of 2009, Jeff Alan Brent, who had been working for the Cascade Policy Institute on an investigation into voter fraud in Oregon, pled guilty to three felony charges of fraud. The charges included using a false social security number, making fraudulent statements to a federally insured bank, and collecting unemployment insurance while he was making $5,000 a month as consultant for the Cascade Policy Institute and the Franklin Center for Government and Public integrity. Brent was ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison. Brent’s work with the Cascade Policy Institute focused on rooting out people who may have cast ballots in the name of a dead person. Peter Ames Carlin, of The Oregonian, pointed out the irony that the Social Security Administration had considered Brent, himself, to be dead for the past 15 years.

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Restrict workers’ collective bargaining rights by pushing so-called “Right to Work” Block access to affordable healthcare for Oregon families Defund and privatize Oregon public schools with voucher programs Deny the science of climate change, repeal environmental and pollution protections, and oppose renewable energy Lower taxes on corporations and tobacco products  Privatize Social Security

SPN President Tracie Sharp co-founded CPI, and served as the institute’s executive director from 1991 to 1999. Today, Sharp maintains control over SPN’s “think tank” network and is a member of the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). She was the recipient of ALEC's 2009 Private Sector Member of the Year Award.

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Oppose paid family leave programs

Destroy public pensions with defined-contribution plans

Cascade Policy Institute: Issues

While CPI is not required to disclose its donors to the public, and does not do so voluntarily, the identities of the few known CPI donors shows it is largely funded by out-of-state right-wing groups. CPI’s largest known donor is Donors Capital Fund, known as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement.” Other notable donors include the Coors’ Castle Rock Foundation (of Coors Brewing Company) and the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation. Funder Based In Amount Years Donors Capital Fund Virginia $1,253,600 2007-2011 Jaquelin Hume Foundation California $340,000 1999-2011 The Challenge Foundation Oregon $219,368 2006-2010 Castle Rock Foundation Colorado $170,000 1995-2011 State Policy Network Virginia $144,821 2002-2011 JM Foundation New York $130,000 1995-2012 Chase Foundation of Virginia Virginia $92,500 2001-2011 Searle Freedom Trust Illinois $30,000 2004 The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Wisconsin $25,000 2005-2007 The Cato Institute Washington, DC $25,000 2006
[American Bridge Conservative Transparency; Cato Institute IRS 990, 2006]

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