BY RAMONA DU HOUX
November 13, 2013
Maine’s Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy released a 30-page report today entitledFooling Maine: How national conservative groups infiltrated Maine politics by founding and funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center.
It is the first comprehensive analysis of the origins and activities of the Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), a right-wing “think tank” that has radically transformed the political landscape of Maine since its creation in 2002.
The report shows how the MHPC came about as a result of national conservative groups’ efforts to influence politics at the state and local levels, primarily through an organization called the State Policy Network (SPN). It confirms what many observers has long suspected: that the MHPC receives much, if not most, of its funding from out-of-state interests, including the Koch Brothers.
For the tax years 2008 and 2009, the report found, at least half of the MHPC’s funding came from national conservative donors and foundations. In all, the MHPC has taken more than $2.5 million from out-of-state conservative donors since its inception. It is likely that the total extent of the MHPC’s out-of-state funding is far greater, but a lack of publicly available data and the MHPC’s unwillingness to disclose its contributors makes it impossible to know for sure.
The report also shows how the MHPC has coordinated with national advocacy groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as well high-ranking members of Maine’s government, to advance an extreme agenda attacking public education, government, workers’ rights, and health care reform.
Maine’s Majority Education Fund researched and authored the report as part of a broader effort supported by the Center for and Media and Democracy, a watchdog group that tracks the flow of right-wing “dark money” into state and national politics. Local groups released similar reports on SPN affiliates in 10 other states in conjunction with the Center.
The full report from Maine’s Majority Education Fund and the Center for Media and Democracy is available for download Here. More information can be found at: http://www.stinktanks.org.