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Portal:Front groups

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Front groups Portal

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

A front group is an organization that purports to represent one agenda while in reality it serves some other interest whose sponsorship is hidden or rarely mentioned -- typically, a corporate or government sponsor. The tobacco industry is notorious for using front groups to create confusion about the health risks associated with smoking, but other industries use similar tactics as well. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries use front groups disguised as "patients rights" advocates to market their products and to lobby against government policies that might affect their profits. Food companies, corporate polluters, politicians -- anyone who has a message that they are trying to sell to a skeptical audience is tempted to set up a front group to deliver messages that they know the public will reject if the identity of the sponsor is known.

The shadowy way front groups operate often makes it difficult to know whether a seemingly independent organization is actually representing some other entity. That's why we need your help to research and expose them. Using the resources that we have listed here, it is often possible to identify publicize the hidden sponsor who lurks behind a front group. We need you to help in the search.

Like Wikipedia, the collaborative, online, free encyclopedia, this website is a collaborative project that lets anyone edit articles. We welcome participation from everyone: students, journalists, whistleblowers, and just plain curious folks. Everyone is invited to join in this project. If you need help doing so, the links and articles on this page can help you get started.

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NFIB Exposed.jpg

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is a lobbying group that calls itself "the voice of small business." However, the group has been shown to lobby on issues that favor large corporate interests and run counter to the interests of small businesses. News reports have also found that NFIB, which claims to be non-partisan, engages in partisan politics, and receives millions in hidden contributions.

Small business owners run the gamut politically. For instance, 33 percent identify as Republicans, 32 percent as Democrats, and 29 percent as Independent. However, NFIB accepted a $3.7 million gift in 2010 from Crossroads GPS, a group affiliated with Republican political operative Karl Rove that overwhelmingly endorses and financially supports Republican candidates. According to new data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), in 2010 the NFIB Small Business Legal Center (SBLC) received $1.15 million from "conservative 501(c)(3) conduit group" Donors Trust, a major contributor to the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Other contributions include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which gave to a wide range of conservative groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

In June 2012, Congress launched an inquiry into NFIB’s hidden sources of funding, which include large individual donations of over $1 million. However, NFIB has refused to disclose its donors.

A 2006 report quoted NFIB members who said the group was inflating its membership size of 650,000. NFIB now claims 350,000 members.

While the average small business owner makes slightly over $100,000, NFIB filings with the IRS show that CEO Dan Danner’s salary in 2011 was $743,676.

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Latest articles from the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch about front groups:

Edelman TransCanada Leak: Aggressive PR for Keystone Alt
Lisa Graves 2014-11-18 07:04:40
Rick Berman Exposed in New Audio; Hear His Tactics against Environmentalists and Workers Rights
Lisa Graves 2014-10-30 22:57:34
Kochs and Corps Have Bankrolled American Council on Science and Health
Rebekah Wilce 2014-07-23 12:56:33
ALEC Doesn’t Care About #FreeMarkets
PR Watch Admin 2014-05-02 16:05:14
Heartland Institute Reluctantly Stands by Denial of Cigarette Smoking Risks
Nick Surgey 2014-05-02 12:13:06
Experts Needed; Knowledge Optional
The PRW Staff 2013-10-23 12:18:37
Revealed: Extensive Koch Links to New Right-Wing $250 Million Mega Fund
Nick Surgey 2013-09-16 12:26:12
CMD Calls for Nebraska Ethics Investigation over ALEC Keystone “Academy” Junket
Nick Surgey 2013-07-03 13:44:14
Keystone Academy: Where Legislators Learn the Etiquette of Serving Special Interests
Nick Surgey 2013-07-01 14:18:03
ALEC Tours Tar Sands, Works with Industry Groups to Block Low-Carbon Fuel Standards
Nick Surgey 2013-06-17 12:20:33

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