Illinois Policy Institute

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. The IPI describes itself as a "leading independent research and education organization."[1] They claim that "the ultimate sign of success is when free market ideas are turned into law and change lives for the better."[1]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. Brian Costin, IPI Director of Outreach, and Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy, represent IPI on ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. At the 2011 Annual Meeting, Costin introduced the "Local Government Transparency Act" model legislation, and Dabrowski introduced the "Pension Funding and Fairness Act" model legislation for adoption by the task force. The latter was adopted and proceeded to the ALEC Board of Directors for approval.[2] Executive Vice President Kristina Rasmussen represented IPI on the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force as of April 2010, when she penned an article entitled "Pension Funding Reform: A Solution for Budget Deficits" for ALEC's newsletter, Inside ALEC.[3]

IPI is also a member of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC's 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit.[5]

Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.


In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute.[6]

IPI does not list its funders publicly. Its website states: "Because the Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, our supporters’ names are kept private, although donors are free to share their reasons for supporting our efforts."[7]

Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Illinois Policy Institute has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process.[8] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[9] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[10][11] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[12]

Franklin Center Funding

Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records).[13] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[14] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[13]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[15] a conservative grant-making organization.[16]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[17] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[18] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[19] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[20] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $1,791,057
  • Total Expenses: $1,732,183
  • Net Assets: $176,631


  • Total Revenue: $1,469,110
  • Total Expenses: $1,327,172
  • Net Assets: $117,757


Board of Directors

  • William (Bill) G. Becker, III (co-founder of Maine Heritage Policy Center)
  • Steve Brown
  • Terry T. Campo, Vice-Chairman
  • Elizabeth Christie
  • John Tillman, CEO
  • Richard T. Weiss


  • John Tillman, CEO
  • Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President
  • Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of Policy
  • Daniel Anthony, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
  • Matt Paprocki, Senior Director of Government Affairs
  • Rebecca Kohn, Senior Manager of External Relations
  • Brian Costin, Director of Government Reform
  • Paul Kersey, Director of Labor Policy
  • Jonathan Ingram, Director of Health Policy and Pension Reform
  • Benjamin VanMetre, Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst
  • Josh Dwyer, Director of Education Reform
  • Diana Rickert, Director of Media Relations
  • Jean Hutton, Operations Manager
  • Roxane Tyssen, External Relations Associate
  • Jen Dillman, Regional Director of External Relations, Central and Southern Illinois
  • Scott Reeder, Journalist in Residence
  • MaryAnn McCabe, External Relations Associate
  • Chris Andriesen, Outreach Coordinator
  • Jane McEnaney, Policy Outreach Manager
  • Hilary Gowins, Editor

Senior Fellows

  • Heather Wilhelm, Senior Fellow, Communications
  • J. Scott Moody, Senior Fellow for Budget and Tax Policy
  • Jerry Agar, Multimedia Fellow
  • Don Soifer, Senior Fellow, Education
  • Andrew Busch, Senior Fellow, Finance and Markets
  • Leonard Gilroy, Senior Fellow, Regulation and Privatization
  • Donna Arduin, Senior Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
  • John Hill, Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
  • Jim Porterfield, Senior Fellow, Health Care Policy
  • Marc Levine, Senior Fellow, Pension and Investment Policy
  • John Stephen, JD, Senior Fellow, Health Care Policy

Academic Advisors

  • Jonathan Bean, Southern Illinois University
  • Rik Hafer, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
  • William J. Kresse, Saint Xavier University
  • Patrick Mullen, University of Illinois - Springfield
  • Robert Podlasek, Bradley University

Contact Details


Chicago Office
Illinois Policy Institute
190 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1630
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-346-5700
Fax: 312-346-5755

John Tillman, CEO

Springfield Office
Illinois Policy Institute
802 South 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62704
Phone: 217-528-8800
Fax: 217-528-8808

Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President


  1. 1.0 1.1 "About Us", accessed November 2012
  2. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Meeting," agenda and meeting materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  3. American Legislative Exchange Council Inside ALEC April 2010, organization newsletter, April 2010, p. 11
  4. American Legislative Exchange Council, Health and Human Services Task Force meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  5. American Legislative Exchange Council, Education Task Force meeting agenda and materials, April 6, 2012, on file with CMD
  6. Cato Institute, 2006 Annual Report, pages 19-23.
  7. Illinois Policy Institute, About Us: FAQs, organizational site, accessed September 6, 2011
  8. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  9. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  10. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  11. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  12. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source,, October 27, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  14. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  15. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  16. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  17. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  18. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  19. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Illinois Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  22. Illinois Policy Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
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