Stink Tanks: State Policy Network Internal Budget Documents Revealed by The Guardian
It’s been a rough week for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The “corporate bill mill” group’s annual States & Nation meeting was overshadowed by damaging evidence of misconduct revealed by The Guardian.
And it just got a whole lot rougher with yet another investigative installment in The Guardian series.
This time, instead of focusing on ALEC alone, Guardian reporters Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington took a big swing at what Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Now have called the “stink tanks” network run by the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN). Leaked a copy of SPN’s tax and budget proposal published in July 2013, the documents offer a rare glimpse inside the SPN machine.
One of the biggest revelations in the energy and environment sphere: SPN Associate Member, the Beacon Hill Institute “requested $38,825…to weaken or roll back a five-year effort by states in the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” explained The Guardian. “The institute said it would carry out research into the economic impact of the cap-and-trade system operating in nine states known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”
“BHI appeared to have already arrived at its conclusions in advance, admitting from the outset that the aim of the research was to arm opponents of cap-and-trade with data for their arguments, and to weaken or destroy the initiative.”
Another huge related development came in a piece published concurrently by The Guardian. That piece pointed out that Beacon Hill Institute is in trouble with its host institution Suffolk University for pushing research explicitly funded by SPN to oppose the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, with research results already determined before the inquiry began.
“The stated research goals, as written, were inconsistent with Suffolk University’s mission,” Greg Gatlin, the university’s vice-president for marketing and communications, wrote in an email to The Guardian. “The Beacon Hill Institute’s grant proposal did not go through the university’s approval process. The university would not have authorized this grant proposal as written.” [cont’d.]