The Texas Observer reveals that:
The Texas Public Policy Foundation—an influential right-wing think tank based in Austin with ties to Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and many other powerful politicians—bills itself as a “non-partisan research institute” and brags that it “does not accept government funds or contributions to influence the outcomes of its research.”
It’s easy for the organization to make that claim; as a 501(c)(3) non-profit TPPF doesn’t have to disclose its funding sources. But a list of TPPF’s donors was inadvertently posted on Guidestar.org.
According to the tax filings, TPPF gets a majority of its funding from a relatively small group of major corporations, conservative foundations and wealthy individuals with a financial interest in the type of policies that TPPF promotes. Altogether, the list of donors includes 129 individuals, corporations and foundations and totals $4.7 million in donations.
“Most think tanks work for their funders and TPPF’s donors are a Who’s Who of Texas polluters, giant utilities and big insurance companies,” said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. “TPPF is thinking the way its donors want it to think.”
Most of the corporations donating aren’t particularly “political” or ideological. But they do have something in common: They are all subject to oversight by state government and mostly benefit from the pro-deregulation, pro-privatization, “free market” policies favored by TPPF. Yes, of course it’s all legal, if not exactly reputable, but surely it ought not to be deductible.
The article quite notably does not explain how the leak occurred. It all seems reminiscent of the Heartland incident, in scale, M.O., patrons, and interests.
But if you thought Heartland was all there was to the shady world of rich people’s “charities” check this out, and don’t miss the closing sentence.