Corporate backed think tank network received large cash injection in 2018 as it ramped up lobbying of Trump Administration

The State Policy Network (SPN), a Virginia-based think tank network with deep ties to major corporate donors, saw a massive 26% jump in revenue in 2018, coinciding with the group playing an increasing role lobbying Congress and the Trump administration. 

In recent years, donors to SPN have included entities in the Koch network, Peabody Energy, Google, and Facebook. Much of its funding comes through Donors Trust, which has been referred to as “the dark money ATM of the conservative movement.”

The group’s revenue went from $13.2m in 2017, up to $16.8m in 2018.

Non-profits are required to file a list of top donors with the IRS as part of their annual tax filing. A redacted version of this “schedule b” form is made public with the rest of the filing, minus the names of the donors. SPN has led a campaign to remove this limited disclosure requirement, more on that below.

The redacted SPN schedule b form shows that a single donor gave $7.2m in 2018. The eight top donors to SPN gave a combined $12.5m in 2018, representing about 76% of the grant revenue that it received that year.

In 2018, the year covered by the latest tax filing reviewed by Documented (see below), SPN lobbied Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the White House, attempting to block Medicaid expansion in the states. As Documented previously reported with the Intercept, SPN also lobbied Congress, HHS, and the White House, as part of its campaign to block union dues to the SEUI from home health care workers paid under Medicare. 

In coalition with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the Institute for Free Speech (IFS), SPN has led a multi-year effort to block non-profits (including groups like SPN, AFP, ALEC, and IFS) from having to disclose the names of donors to federal and state regulators. As part of this campaign, SPN lobbied Congress in 2018.

Photo of United States Capitol by John Brighenti. Used under creative commons license.

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