MONEY & POLITICS
THE RIGHT WING
Sources of Information on Policy Formation
Privately funded policy planning organizations like
the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee for Economic
Development, the Brookings Institution, and the American Enterprise
Institute play a key role in the formation of public policy in the
United States. These policy planning groups bring together influential
figures from business, government, academia, the legal profession, and
the mass media to define and discuss problems facing the nation and to
seek consensus on policies to address those problems. Some policy
planning groups sponsor research on political and economic
issues. Others actively seek to shape public opinion and lobby for
the enactment of specific policies. In a more informal way, these
groups also provide a training ground for new leadership and a channel
for recruitment into government service. Below are some of the better
sources on policy planning and policy advocacy organizations and the foundations that
provide much of their funding.
International Affairs Online. This proprietary
database provides full-text working papers and conference
proceedings from university research institutes, think-tanks, and
policy planning organizations.
Center. The most comprehensive Internet site on
foundations. The "Foundation Finder" page allows you
to search for basic information on any of 58,000 private, corporate,
and community foundations and to view their most recent IRS filing
(Form 990-PF) in Adobe Acrobat format. See page 1 of Form
990-PF for contributions received, page 6 for officers and
directors, and page 10 for grants paid. From terminals located
inside Knight Library, you can also connect to the Foundation
Directory Online, which allows for much more detailed searches
of individual grants, grantmakers, and grant recipients.
Searchable database of more than 640,000 non-profit organizations in
the United States. Focuses mainly on foundations and
charities, but also covers many organizations that are involved in policy
planning. Includes data on mission and programs, directors,
finances, and copies of recent IRS (Form 990) filings.
Another site that allows you to search for IRS filings of foundations
as well as IRS disclosure statements for political organizations.
This website is operated by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies
Program at the University or Pennsylvania. The emphasis is on
providing comprehensive lists of various types of think tanks ranked
by prestige, but there is also a variety of other useful data and
reporting on current trends and issues in the think tank world.
here to go directly to their 2012 Annual Report. Recommended
World Directory of Think Tanks. Provides basic information and links to think tanks around the
world. The site is operated by the National Institute for Research
Advancement, a Japanese policy research organization.
Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. This liberal
organization promotes philanthropy in the public interest and the
strengthening of the nonprofit sector as a force for social justice
and progressive change. Their website provides extensive
information on the funding and activities of both conservative and
liberal nonprofits in the public policy and political advocacy
Transparency. Operated by the
Bridge Project, this site
provides a searchable database of the leading
conservative foundations, their contributions to right-wing policy planning groups, and individuals associated with those
links and resources on the conservative policy planning
network. Highly recommended.
Policy Network. A membership organization of mostly
right-wing, state-level policy organizations. Their website
provides extensive links and information on policy planning at the
state and regional levels. Click on the SPN Directory Map to
search for policy groups in each state.
Research Center. A conservative group that monitors
corporate philanthropy. Rates corporations on how good (or
bad) a job they do of contributing only to right-wing causes.
Searchable database of corporate donors and grant recipients in the
public policy area. One of the few sources (albeit very
incomplete) of data on direct corporate contributions to
policy-making organizations (as opposed to contributions made by
corporate sponsored foundations). Click
to go directly to their summary report, Patterns of Corporate
in Science Database. Corporate financing of academic
scientists and their research plays an important role in both the
marketing of products and the promotion of public policy. This
database, maintained by the Center for Science in the Public
Interest, provides a tool for tracing the flow of corporate money to
academic scientists, as well as an extensive archive of news
releases dealing with the conflicts of interests that result from
corporate sponsorship of scientific research. Be sure to check
out their excellent report,
the Veil of Secrecy: Corporate Support for Health and Environmental
Professional Associations, Charities, and Industry Front Groups.
Watch. The public relations industry is a crucial
component of the corporate dominated policy-planning
apparatus. This website, operated by the Center for Media and
Democracy, is dedicated to investigating and exposing the endless
stream of spin and propaganda by which the PR industry seeks to
influence public opinion and shape the policy agenda in the
interests of the power elite. Particularly useful is the search
option on the
page, which allows you to retrieve biographical information,
political affiliations, and corporate connections of policy wonks
and other supposed experts cited in the media. Highly recommended.
of Higher Education. An outstanding website that
examines the dominant role of corporate elites over higher education
policy. Provides detailed information on the corporate
connections of the directors (trustees, regents, or overseers) of
the 50 largest U.S. research universities. Excellent graphics
illustrate the web of power that links universities under a common
network of corporate control. Highly recommended. [archived version]
on Foundations. A membership organization of
grantmaking foundations aimed mainly at foundation managers.
Search engine locates relevant articles in Foundation News &
Commentary and other sources.
a Movement. A report on the power and influence of
right-wing foundations in American politics, prepared by People for
the American Way, a liberal watchdog group. A good introduction to
Public policy issues discussed from a liberal perspective.
News stories, commentary, posts by users, and links to other
Tank Visibility in the Media. An excellent study of
the media impact of 12 leading U.S. think tanks. [archived version
may lack some pages or graphics]
Resources and links on environmental policy.
Copyright © 2013 by Val Burris