The State Policy Network (SPN) is a web of right-wing “think tanks” in states across the country.

The Commonwealth Foundation is SPN’s right-wing “think tank” in Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy is an associate member of SPN. While both organizations claim to be focused on issues important to Pennsylvanians, they actually push a right-wing agenda dictated by right-wing funders and partners, such as billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.

Richard Mellon Scaife is the principal heir of the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune, making him worth an estimated $1.4 billion as of March 2013. Scaife is also the owner of the Tribune-Review Publishing Company, which publishes the Pittsburgh TribuneReview. Scaife is known for funneling millions to Republicans and right-wing causes, including to the State Policy Network, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. Both the Commonwealth Foundation and the Allegheny Institute have close connections to Scaife. Commonwealth Board Chairman Michael W. Gleba is the president of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, one of Scaife’s foundations that he uses to funnel his money to right-wing organizations. Looking to further extend his influence in Pennsylvania politics, Scaife founded the Allegheny Institute in 1995, and continues to serve as the institute’s chairman.

Attack workers’ collective bargaining rights and push so-called “Right to Work” legislation   Block access to affordable healthcare for Pennsylvania families Defund and privatize Pennsylvania’s public schools

Cut retirees’ benefits and destroy public pensions  Oppose prevailing wage laws

Commonwealth Foundation, accessed 11/4/2013 Allegheny Institute, accessed 11/4/2013

The Commonwealth Foundation and Allegheny Institute have received significant funding from Scaife. The three Scaife foundations have funneled over $2.74 million to Commonwealth since 1991, and provided nearly 90% of the Allegheny Institute’s known funding. This does not include any personal contributions Scaife could have given either organization. In addition to the millions from Scaife, the Commonwealth Foundation has also received significant funding from other right-wing organizations and ideologues. The Koch-funded Donors Capital Fund has funneled over $1.2 million to Commonwealth between 2005 and 2011, while the Kochs directly gave $65,916 to the Commonwealth Foundation through the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Other notable known donors include the Coors family’s Castle Rock Foundation (of Coors Brewing Company), the State Policy Network, the Bradley Foundation, and the Roe Foundation.

The Commonwealth Foundation is closely tied to the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporate lobbyists and lawmakers come together behind closed doors to vote on “model” legislation that ends up benefitting the corporations’ bottom line. Commonwealth staffers have sat on ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, Health and Human Services Task Force, and Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force. Additionally, SPN, which both Commonwealth and the Allegheny Institute are members of, has been a longtime member and sponsor of ALEC.

Despite the Commonwealth Foundation’s efforts to influence public policy in Pennsylvania, the organization has not reported any lobbying to the state of Pennsylvania. Additionally, the Allegheny Institute has been accused of making illegal campaign contributions to political candidates in Pennsylvania.