Why a Wisconsin “think tank” would use as their logo
the postal abbreviation for Michigan is anybody’s guess
But, in the Great Cheddar Rebellion of 2011, they provided the “look over there!” moment for the flying monkey corps. (None of which, being outside Wisconsin, had ever heard of the MacIver Institute, either.)
Which isn’t that surprising. They were only founded in lat May of 2008, using the standard “State Policy Think-Tank” model, written by Kurt Weber, and quietly franchised via the Cato Institute until there is an affiliated “Policy Institute” in virtually every state in the Union, almost always coincidentally pushing the Koch agenda in those states with an initiative process, and other things in states without. There is the Maine Policy Institute, who was accused of illegal politicking in 2006, but had charges dismissed, as they are in every state, and at the Federal level as a matter of routine. Were they breaking the law? Surely. Would anyone ENFORCE it? Never.
In Illinois, it’s the Illinois Policy Institute, whom Kochian agents essentially purchased from its founder, who was quietly rotated out, even as its annual budget increased by a factor of ten. In Tennessee, it’s the Tennessee Policy Institute, who you might recall for rooting through Al Gore’s garbage to get a copy of his electric bill. Kurt Weber was a fellow there for awhile, for the same salary, essentially, that he was paid a couple years earlier, when he was a fellow at the Cascade Policy Institute, in Portland, Oregon.
In New Mexico, assistant Attorney General Duncan Scott was intimately tied with the Rio Grande Foundation. After he left New Mexico and moved to Montana, he helped to disburse the $4.8 million passed out around the country by the “America At Its Best” disposable Virginia entity, seemingly “purchased” for 2006, and suddenly infused with millions of dollars, which they spent in Nebraska, California, Arizona, etc. “America At Its Best,” who may well have had the late great crime writer James Crumley on its board of directors — a “Jim Crumley” of Montana, with no other identifying data — who have had so little cash flow ever since 2006 that they haven’t had to file a tax return.
“William Wilson” is currently the President
of Americans for Limited Government
This was America At Its Bests’s only filed tax return.
There’s the Macinac Policy Institute in Michigan, and, in Russia, Moscow’s “Institute of Economic Analysis” has a president named “Andrei Illarionov,” who founded the IEA in 1994. From 2000-2005, he was chief economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin. [* I covered a lot of this rat's nest in 2009, in "Russian ‘Think Tank’ ties to Cato even MORE Suspicious," as IEA Cato Fellow ($150K plus a year salary) Illarionov "mee-too'ed" the timed-for-Copenhagen "Climategate" kerfluffing that killed any global consensus of action dealing with climate change. It's well worth a read.]
Andrei Illarionov (L) and Vladimir Putin (R)
Why, heck, there’s a whole NETWORK of policy shops like Mac Iver Institute (quoting myself from the Russian Think Tank story, and emphasis added):
As the Cato institute funds “like minded think tanks”. Here are, according to SourceWatch, some of the domestic think tanks:
Groups the benefited from Cato’s generosity were Agencia Americana($30,000 “to help fund study on S.A. corruption”); the Philanthropy Roundtable ($5,000); the Manhattan Institute ($5,000); the American Enterprise Institute ($5,000); the Fund for American Studies ($10,000); the Bluegrass Institute ($50,000); the Cascade Policy Institute ($25,000); the Ethan Allen Institute ($50,000); the Evergreen Freedom Foundation($100,000); the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii ($40,000); the Illinois Policy Institute ($50,000); the James Madison Institute ($100,000); the John Locke Foundation ($20,000); the Maine Heritage Policy Center ($50,000); the Maryland Public Policy Institute ($40,000); the Nevada Policy Research Institute ($50,000); the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs ($50,000); the Rio Grande Foundation ($50,000); the Show-Me Institute ($50,000); the South Carolina Policy Council ($90,000); the Sutherland Institute($40,000); the Tennessee Center for Policy Research ($50,000); the Texas Public Policy Foundation ($100,000); the Virginia Institute for Public Policy ($25,000); the Yankee Institute ($68,000); and the Independent Institute ($60,000).
The Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change seeks to educate the public about the science and economics of climate change in an impartial manner. The Coalition comprises 59 independent civil society organisations from 40 countries who share a commitment to improving public understanding about a range of public policy issues. All are non-profit organizations that are independent of political parties and government.
Well, they may be independent of political parties and government, but that doesn’t mean that they’re independent. Again, as reported, the ideology is consistently “libertarian” in the Cato sense, which is concerned with the civil rights and liberties of the NON-wealthy in the same way that Brutus was concerned with Caesar’s right to a fair trial.
We could follow this rabbit hole down for days, but here’s a quick snapshot of its warren.
So, is the MacIver Institute connected to the State Policy Network? How about the Koch machine?
I’ll tell you in a minute. But first, let’s look at some of their recent handiwork (from last Wednesday emphasis added):
When it comes to the U.S. Military, almost half of Wisconsin’s African American students aren’t even fit to serve.
That’s the story from the latest results of the United States Army’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in Wisconsin. In 2009, 18.9 percent of all Wisconsin high school students failed to qualify for service. This included a 46.9 percent ineligibility rate amongst African American students and a 26.9 percent rate for Hispanic students. These figures come from a December study by The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. ….
No way to misinterpret that. CLEARLY they’re worried about the education of African Americans in Wisconsin, and not playing some sleazy racial card to attack the public schools, of which suppressing the Teachers’ Unions is a vital key, right? Of course.
Illustrated with this photo from iStock photos (read the actual title of the .jpg):
Stock Photo by Sean Locke
And, if you search their website for “Citizens in Charge”, you get three interesting stories:
Convicted ACORN Worker Sentenced to 10 Months in Jail for Vote Fraud in Wisconsin
Thursday, November 18th, 2010
MacIver News Service | November 18, 2010 [Milwaukee, Wisc..] Kevin Clancy, a former ACORN voter registration worker, has been sentenced to 10 months in a Wisconsin jail for vote fraud. Clancy was convicted of election fraud arising out of the November 4, 2008, Presidential election. He was charged with one count of Falsely Procuring Voter [...]
Wisconsin Voters Want Direct Say in Government
Thursday, October 28th, 2010
The overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want a direct say in government through statewide initiative and referendum rights, according to a recent poll. Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free market think tank in Wisconsin, released the results of an opinion poll conducted in the state on voter support for initiative and referendum rights. The results were clear, with 63% of voters supporting and only 16% opposing.
ACORN Worker Pleads Guilty to Felony Vote Fraud in Wisconsin
Friday, October 15th, 2010
MacIver News Service | October 15, 2010 [Milwaukee, Wisc...] A Milwaukee man charged with election fraud arising out of his work for the controversial ACORN group during the 2008 Presidential Election has plead guilty to the felony charges against him. Kevin Clancy was charged with one count of Falsely Procuring Voter Registration as Party to [...]
Gee. Wasn’t that about the time the whole O’Pimmpe/NotsoBreitbat/Faux Nooz takedown of ACORN was taking place? Hmmm.
But it’s the middle story that concerns us. (I’m not taking these steps in the order I uncovered them.)
As you can see, it’s easy to take off in all kinds of directions, but I want to focus on that Citizens in Charge/MacIver Institute poll.
MacIver has only filed two half-year tax returns: their initial tax return for 2008. And a “half year” return to change their fiscal year, which covers the first half of 2009. In real human years, that’s a little more than one year’s actual activity. Here’s their standard mission statement you see on most of these “think tanks”:
THE JOHN K. MACIVER INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY, INC. WAS ESTABLISHED TO ADVANCE THE IDEA THAT INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ARE THE BEST PRINCIPLES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF EFFECTIVE PUBLIC POLICY IN WISCONSIN.
I found the Citizens in Charge tax returns, and some interesting stuff jumps out. In 2002, Paul Jacob (The World’s Dumbest Felon™) filed a 990EZ for the foundation which had zero dollars in income. In 2006, they had 23,000 dollars in income, $22,000 of which was a direct grant from the Americans for Limited Government Foundation, on whose board sat Eric O’Keefe, who has sat on the Citizens in Charge Foundation’s board from day one.
Now, this becomes very interesting. Here’s Paul Jacob’s October 2007 mugshot from Oklahoma, by the way:
Paul Jacob, President, Citizens in Charge
Now, just to sweeten the pot, here’s the 2009 Citizens in Charge Board of Directors:
Let’s let the Citizens in Charge website* tell us about these fine upstanding citizens, from bottom to top:
[* Whoops! That takes you to the 501(c)4 website, where they can collect cash anonymously to put initiatives on the ballot in various states that David Broder called, in his eponymous 2001 book, "Laws without government." The Foundation is the "charitible" 501(c)3, which is NOT supposed to be engaged in politicking, but nobody bothers enforcing that provision of the tax code, like no one enforces state election laws. Confused? That's the point of having multiple operations with the same name.]
… a veteran conservative leader who serves as the Chairman of the California Republican Party, responsible for the direction and management of the largest state Republican Party in the nation. The acuity and focus he brings to this role is the result of over twenty years of domestic and foreign policy and political experience serving public policy, political, non-profit, and government organizations.
Under his leadership, the California Republican Party raised over $73 million, permanently retired over $4 million in debt, and instituted a wide array of management and financial reforms.
As leader of a key state Republican Party, Ron’s insight is frequently sought by national and international media, such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, MS-NBC, C-SPAN, and the BBC, among others.
As Chairman of the Republican National Committee’s State Chairmen’s Committee, Ron transformed the committee into an important force for the sharing of ideas and best practices among the nation’s state Republican leaders.
Prior to his election to positions of leadership in the California Republican Party, Ron served as Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County (2001 – 2007) …
the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals and businesses that opposes higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels. ATR is perhaps best known for the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose tax increases.
A native of Massachusetts, Grover also serves on the boards of the National Rifle Association of America and the American Conservative Union. He has authored the book, Leave Us Alone – Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives, and he serves as a Contributing Editor to the American Spectator Magazine and as president of the American Society of Competitiveness.
Grover also has served in the past on the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service, and as an economist and chief speech-writer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (1983-1984). Having worked on numerous political campaigns, Grover also has served as the executive director of the National Taxpayers’ Union and the College Republicans. …
previously founded and served as Executive Director of For Our Grandchildren, a nonprofit organization dedicated to entitlement reform. He is also the founding Chairman of AIMS Worldwide, Inc, the former President of ATB Media, Inc., and the co-founder of WFC/Westcom, which became the largest advertising and PR firm in the Southwest.
… served on the boards of directors for the Foundation for American Liberty and the American Initiative Committee. … The author of the book, Reinventing America, Michael is the former host of ATB’s nationally syndicated “America the Beautiful” talk radio show, as well as a former co-host of “Newsmaker” which was broadcast on 119 radio stations by the UBN.
… has directed FairVote since 1992. His writings have appeared in every leading national newspaper and in nine books, including as co-author of Every Vote Equal about establishing a national popular vote for president and of Whose Votes Count about the case for proportional voting and instant runoff voting.
He has been a guest on NPR, C-SPAN, NBC News, CNN, FOX, Bloomberg News and MSNBC and addressed conventions of the American Political Science Association, National Association of Counties, National Association of Secretaries of State, Free Press, National Latino Congreso and National Conference of State Legislatures. He serves on the board of the Citizens in Charge Foundation and the Haverford College Corporation….
is the current treasurer and immediate past chairman of the Libertarian Party, as well as the Vice President of a financial consulting firm.
Bill has been a member of the Libertarian Party since 1984, and served as Libertarian Party of Virginia chairman from 1989–1991. He served twice as national treasurer of the Libertarian Party, first from 1991–1993 and then from 2003–2004.
Known for his extensive experience with ballot access and the initiative process, Bill’s tenure as chairman of the LP’s Ballot Access Committee, saw the LP achieve ballot access in all 50 states in both the 1992 and 1996 elections… Mr. Redpath has been on the board of Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation since its inception….
is a private investor, and Chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance (SAM). [sic] He also Chairs the board of a new organization, the Health Care Compact Alliance, which is working to move regulation and funding of health care from the federal government to the states.
The Sam Adams Alliance hosts the annual Sammies awards to recognize and celebrate extraordinary citizens and their work to advance liberty. SAM is currently researching American leadership through the lens of iconic leaders such as Ronald Reagan.
SAM launched Judgepedia, Ballotpedia, and Sunshine Review, Wikipedia-style websites that have had more than 68 million page views for their 284,000 pages of politically relevant information.
Eric also serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Center for Competitive Politics, the Citizens in Charge Foundation, and Wisconsin Club for Growth. He authored the book Who Rules America, which won praise from Milton Friedman.
Oh: and O’Keefe just HAPPENS to be the only board member who lives in Wisconsin.
from the Michigan Libertarian Party’s May/June 1991 newsletter
(see yesterday’s post for WHO Citizens for Congressional Reform
was, and how they were funded by the Kochs)
O’Keefe is ALSO formerly a board member of Americans for Limited Government, US Term Limits, and wrote for the Cato Institute. He was also a founder and on the board of the “Parents In Charge Foundation” — a group dedicated to ending public education via “school choice.” Kind of like the MacIver Institute’s press release below.
He was fired as Libertarian Party Executive Director for spending huge amounts of the organization’s limited funds on long distance telephone calls to Ed Crane at the Cato Institute on the opposite coast. His wife ran a “petition” company in 2006 that ended up receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars run through “America At Its Best” out of Idaho/Montana to place several initiatives on the Nebraska ballot mostly for Americans for Limited Government (on whose board O’Keefe then sat) but also for Father Frank Pavone, of Terri Schiavo fame. (see “America At Its Worst“, part i “the tube of mystery” and part ii. “How Green Was My Spring, or The Long Way ‘Round The Bed.”)
This excerpt might be of some interest:
[Eric O'Keefe's wife] Leslie Graves or Leslie Key was known in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the Chair of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party and as a National Delegate for several years.
Rothbard called her a “Craniac” and wrote about her several times in the Libertarian Forum. (Please note again that Murray Rothbard had his point of view which is not definitive. Certainly his opinions were and are strenuously opposed by others of that era, but what he writes in the Libertarian Forum of the era give us one lens into the tightly interwoven group that is still connected, and running these ballot measures that we’ve been investigating.)
Edward H. Crane III The Big Boss: capo di tutti capi. Main power base: Head of the Cato Institute, which moved from San Franciso to Washington, D.C. early in the Reagan Administration to be close to the Corridors of Power. Also, Boss of: Libertarian Review Foundation, and its publications Inquiry and Update; National Taxpayers Legal Fund; and the Crane Machine in the Libertarian Party. Formerly, boss of Students for a Libertarian Society, and formerly, National Chairman of the LP. Managed the LP presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980.
[Note: Crane is on the Board of Directors of ALG]
Howard (“Howie”) Rich (New York businessman.) Top Craniac politico. Ran the disastrous Guida campaign for national chair in 1981, the equally disastrous Randolph campaign [for Alaska Governor] in 1982, and the likewise disastrous Northrup for Governor campaign in New York in 1982. Craniac straw boss (on LP NatCom.)
[Note: Rich is the Chair of ALG]
Andrea Millen Rich (Wife of Howie. Proprietor of Laissaz-faire Bookstore in New York, which has become a social center for New York Machiners. Banned the Libertarian Forum from the bookstore for being critical of the Crane Machine. (NatCom member.)
[Note: Published Eric O’Keefe’s book WHO RULES AMERICA? in 1999]
Eric O’Keefe (The Martyr.) Former National Director of the LP; when ousted, went to Alaska to help Guida run the Randolph fiasco. Present whereabouts unknown.)
[Note: O’Keefe is the Chairman of the ALG Board, under Rich]
David Boaz (Crane hireling. Vice-president, Cato Institute. Research director, LP Presidential campaign, 1980).
[Note: Boaz is still the VP at Cato.]
Robert Costello (formerly in California, now working for free-market investment letter in Chicago.)
[Note: This is the same ROBERT COSTELLO, 518 DAVIS ST, STE 201, EVANSTON, IL, listed on ALG’s 2004 990 as a Director.]
And, we find:
Leslie Graves (alias Leslie Graves Key.) Crane hireling. Former editor, now reporter, for Update. NatCom member. Boss of the Wisconsin LP, based in Madison, now rumored to be suffering a revolt from the long-downtrodden Milwaukee forces.)
Rothbard wrote more about Ms. Graves in several issues (at one point referring to her as “Madame DeFarge”), but this purloined memo reprinted by Rothbard in the August 1982 LF cements that there was a strong relationship between Graves and Crane and the old “Crane Machine.”
TO: Chris Hocker, Leslie Key, David Koch,
and other Interested Parties
FROM: Ed Crane
What with all the changes going on these days I thought it would be appropriate to put down in writing some thoughts concerning the future of Update. To begin with, Dr. Hocker’s new position as publisher of Inquiry probably makes it inappropriate for him to continue to be responsible for Update. This is true both because of the more than full-time job involved in getting Inquiry on its feet and headed in the right direction and because the magazine should not be directly connected to the libertarian movement (this despite the fact that it needs to become more explicitly libertarian in its editorial policy). Which means we’re stuck with the lovely and vivacious Leslie Key who resides in Madison, Canada. (sic) I would recommend that she begin her responsibilities as editor of Update with the November issue. We could pay her, say, $500 a month for assuming this responsibility. David Koch has indicated he will kick in $10,000 to Update next year. If Leslie is very nice to him we might be able to talk him into $5,000 more (right, David?)….
Rothbard used to call Leslie Graves/Key “Madame DeFarge,” not meaning it as a compliment.
David H Koch
Yeah, that David Koch. You see, Eric O’Keefe, Leslie Graves, Ed Crane (still head of Cato) Paul Jacob and Howie Rich have all been involved with the politics of David Koch for more than thirty years, without any significant break or departure. They were known in Libertarian circles as the “Crane Machine” but the Crane Machine took its marching orders from the Koch brothers, and marched to their beat. So much so, in fact, that O’Keefe was fired by the LP. Looks like they’ve kissed and made up, doesn’t it?
Just in case I haven’t made it clear, Eric O’Keefe and Leslie Graves are married. (Oh, and Graves runs Ballotpedia, noted above as a Sam Adams Alliance project, just FYI.)
And Eric O’Keefe and Leslie Graves still find ways to make money off of their “charitable” work for the Citizens In Charge Foundation. From their 2008 tax return:
Amount of the transaction? $86,580.
Did the money originally come from the Kochs? I can’t say. But the reader is free to infer, based on the evidence, WHERE it came from.
Oh, and by the by, Citizens in Charge Foundation kicked back … I mean GRANTED $10,000 to Americans for Limited Government Foundation in 2009, just as a point of interest:
Let me make the circle clear, and then we’ll look at the MacIver Institute again. Citizens in Charge Foundation has a very weird cash flow. From the 2009 return:
And, Paul Jacob has a little “radio” spot he has syndicated on hundreds of radio stations. In 2006 it was under the aegis of Americans for Limited Government. Then, when Eric O’Keefe moved to the Sam Adams Alliance, it was under THEIR aegis. And now, it’s under Citizens in Charge. But if we look at the associations and the cash flow, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the source of the funding for all of the above comes from the same place. Only the money kind of slushes back and forth for the same causes.
Now, I’ve shown you how the old “Crane Machine” now controls a large and interconnected network of State Policy shops, and how the same players remain consistent for decades. Is it reasonable to conclude that this is an arm of the Kochtopus* ?
[* "Kochtopus" was a term coined by the late Murray Rothbard, who was a co-founder of Cato.]
I leave it to the reader to answer that question based on the evidence. This isn’t a court of law. It’s the court of public opinion, and you, dear Reader have every right to infer a conclusion from the evidence that wouldn’t necessarily get a conviction in a criminal trial. It’s YOUR democracy that’s in peril. Judge as is appropriate for you.
Now: What’s this got to do with the MacIver Institute, right?
Let’s take a look at the MacIver Institute/Citizens in Charge joint venture, shall we?
(MADISON, WI) – The overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want a direct say in government through statewide initiative and referendum rights, according to a recent poll.
Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free market think tank in Wisconsin, released the results of an opinion poll conducted in the state on voter support for initiative and referendum rights. The results were clear, with 63% of voters supporting and only 16% opposing.
“Perhaps it is a sign of their discontent with Madison; it is clear that citizens here want more direct say over how they are governed,” said MacIver President Brett Healy. “Right now, direct initiative is only done on the local level. Statewide referenda are only advisory or a binding effort requires you to amend the state Constitution, which can take years to accomplish.”
Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge jointly commissioned Pulse Opinion Research to conduct this poll in each of the 50 states to determine public support for initiative and referendum. The polling was conducted across the country between May 26 and July 19. Respondents in each state were asked this question:
“In 26 states, citizens can sign a petition to put laws or constitutional amendments on the ballot to be decided by the voters at a statewide election. This process is known as initiative and referendum. Would you favor or oppose the initiative and referendum process in your state?”
The results were clear in Wisconsin, and across the country. In every single state, Americans supported the initiative and referendum process by better than two-to-one margins.
“Wisconsin is one of 24 states that have no statewide initiative or referendum process,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “But the results of this poll show that voters across all demographics, income levels and political affiliations very much want a direct say in their government through ballot initiatives.”
ABOUT CITIZENS IN CHARGE FOUNDATION: Citizens in Charge Foundation is the only national transpartisan voter rights group dedicated to protecting and expanding the ballot initiative and referendum process. We believe good government starts with the voter. For more information visit us at www.CitizensInChargeFoundation.org.
ABOUT MACIVER INSTITUTE: For more information from the MacIver Institute contact: Brett Healy – 608-237-7290. The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy is a Wisconsin-based think tank that promotes free markets, individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government.
And here’s what they tell the IRS in their 2008 half-year tax return:
Note that what they consider their “accomplishments” consists of creating news stories that push their agenda.
And take a look at their cash flow:
One can infer, based on the previous statement that a nice chunk of that $44,000 went to their incredibly professional “investigative journalist” Bill Osmulski*, who puts them vids on the YouTubes.
[* Osmulski seems, from the sparse evidence, to be another "James O'Keefe" style gotcha video reporter. This is the new 'fad' in Right Wing story ginning: get them videos and show 'em. It formed the basis of the takedown of ACORN and the seeming takedown of Planned Parenthood when (notso) Breitbat did it. Either way, there seems less a reporter than a slick partisan to Osmulski's track record so far. And, frankly, if the outcome is pre-ordained, it is actually "reporting"? Or is that another slick marketing phrase: "Investigative reporter."]
Gee. Wasn’t it a YouTube video that was jumped on by the Flying Monkey Corps to divert attention away from the issues in Wisconsin to some alleged doctor handing out sick slips?
Now, if you believe that birds of a feather flock together, y0u have enough information to process what sort of group that the MacIver Institute actually is.
If not, I can’t really say much more.