Caesar Rodney Institute
The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) is right-wing pressure group in Delaware and a member of the State Policy Network (SPN). CRI states that its mission is "to influence public policy in Delaware by helping every Delawarean understand and put into practice the fundamentals of a free society: individual initiative, personal responsibility, private property, voluntary agreements, informed choice, the rule of law, and strong local communities." CRI lists its issue areas as: economic policy, energy, education, health policy, criminal justice, and tax and fiscal policy.
SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of October 2019, SPN's membership totals 162. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.
In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"
A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.
- 1 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 2 Core Financials
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Contact Information
- 5 Articles and Resources
- 6 References
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Caesar Rodney 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. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
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). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
- Total Revenue: $119,563
- Total Expenses: $210,183
- Net Assets: -$26
- Total Revenue: $160,407
- Total Expenses: $203,606
- Net Assets: $1,585
- Total Revenue: $216,911
- Total Expenses: $189,940
- Net Assets: $44,784
- Total Revenue: $295,871
- Total Expenses: $299,774
- Net Assets: $13,151
- Total Revenue: $145,592
- Total Expenses: $228,098
- Net Assets: $17,054
- Total Revenue: $319,768
- Total Expenses: $275,875
- Net Assets: $99,560.00
- Total Revenue: $259,138
- Total Expenses: $206,242
- Net Assets: $55,667
As of September 2019:
- John R. Toedtman, Executive Director
- David T. Stevenson, Policy Director
- John E. Stapleford, Policy Director, Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
- Dr. Christopher D. Casscells, Policy Director, Center for Healthcare Policy
- Dace Blaskovitz, Publisher, Data Delaware
- Vil Vongphrachanh, Director of Communications
- Dave Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
- Ronald Russo, Executive Director, Center for Education Excellence
- James E. Hosley - Director, Center for Excellence in Education
- David Stevenson - Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
- Samuel D. Friedman - Communications Coordinator
- Matthew D. Revel - Events & Development Coordinator
- Charles Daniel, President
- Martha Durham, Communications Manager
- Joe Oddo, Chief of Staff
Board of Directors
As of September 2019:
- John E. Stapleford, Chairman
- Matthew L. Lenzini, Vice Chairman
- Emmanuel G. Fournaris, Director
- Rick Levinson, Director
- Charles L. Copeland, Director
- Stacie Beck, Director
- Gene Truono, Director
- Robert B. Arlett, Director
- Robert Prybutok, Vice Chairman and Secretary
- G. Dennis O'Brien, Director
- Bruce A. Bachman (former vice president, DuPont)
- Susan Warren Casscells
- Barrett E. Kidner, Chairman and CEO (president, Barrett Group, Inc.)
- Charles M. Weymouth (Weymouth Architects and Planners)
- James P. Ursomarso, Chairman
- Michael Maibach, Director
As of Sept. 2019:
- Michael C. Maibach, Vice President, Global Government Affairs for the Intel Corporation from 1983-2011, President & CEO of the European-American Business Council from 2003-2012
- Clinton S. Laird, retired
- Dan Young, Director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program at Goldey-Beacom College and is the curator of TEDxGoldeyBeacomCollege.
- Charles M. Elson, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., Chair in Corporate Governance and the Director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware
- Dr. Edwin J. Feulner, founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation.
- Burton Abrams, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Delaware
- Thomas J. Cooper, Chairman of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
- Glenn Kenton, Partner, Richards, Layton & Finger
- Joseph Oddo, Chief of Staff at Caesar Rodney Institute
- Dr. Stacie Beck, Associate Professor of economics at the University of Delaware
- Matthew L. Lenzini
- Dan Young, PhD
- John Darr, retired
- Reverend Thomas Flowers, Pastor
- Israel A. Gonzalez, retired
- David R. Legates, PhD., Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware
- John Moore, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Acorn Energy
- Lincoln Willis, manager of small business
- Bruce Bachman, retired
As of September 2018:
- James L. Butkiewicz, PhD, Senior Economic Fellow
- Joanne Butler, Senior Economic Fellow
- Dr. David Casscells, Director of Center for Health Policy
- George Nagle, Senior Economic Fellow
- Dave Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy Competitiveness
- Francis X. Tannian, PhD, Senior Economic Fellow
Former Research Fellows
- Dace Blaskovitz, co-Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
- Ronald Russo, Senior Education Fellow
- John Stapleford, co-Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis
Caesar Rodney Institute
420 Corporate Blvd.
Newark, DE 19702
Phone: (302) 273-0080
Fax: (302) 734-2702
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
- Brendan Fischer, Why Are the Franklin Center's "Wisconsin Reporter" and "Watchdog.org" Attacking the John Doe?, PRWatch.org, December 19, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship with Big Tobacco, PRWatch.org, December 16, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Did ALEC Found SPN? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda, PRWatch.org, December 12, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Tracie Sharp: Bursar of Mystery Money and "IKEA Model" Materials to Stink Tanks, PRWatch.org, November 19, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, Reports Expose Extreme Pressure Groups Masquerading as Think Tanks, press release, November 13, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters’ Guide to the "State Policy Network": the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Sara Jerving, ALEC and Heartland Aim to Crush Renewable Energy Standards in the States, PRWatch.org, November 27, 2012.
- Connor Gibson, Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: "Donors Trust" and "Donors Capital Fund", PRWatch.org, October 29, 2012.
- Brendan Fischer, Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2012.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 31, 2011.
- Wall Street Journal, The Spoils of the Republican State Conquest, December 9, 2016, archived by CMD here.
- DeSmog Blog, Stink Tanks: Historical Records Reveal State Policy Network Was Created by ALEC, December 9, 2013.
- The Guardian, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, December 5, 2013.
- Portland Press Herald, "Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes," December 5, 2013.
- The Texas Observer, "The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid," December 5, 2013.
- Media Matters, North Carolina Newspapers Largely Ignore Conservative Funding Of Sham Think Tanks, December 3, 2013.
- Shepherd Express, Masters of Manipulation: Right-wing Billionaires, Corporations and the Bradley Foundation Pay for Junk Studies that Prop up Their Agenda, November 27, 2013.
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- Free Speech TV "Ring of Fire," Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T and Others Supporting Right Wing Propaganda Machine, November 18, 2013.
- Topeka Capital-Journal, Trabert dismisses report tying KPI to Koch agenda, November 16, 2013.
- The New Yorker (Jane Mayer), Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, November 15, 2013.
- Salon, Ted Cruz and Koch brothers embroiled in shadowy Tea Party scheme, November 15, 2013.
- St. Louis Business Journal, Beyond Sinquefield: Who else is funding the Show-Me Institute?, November 15, 2013.
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- Arizona Working Families and CMD, A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Progress Florida and CMD, Lawmaking Under the Influence of Very Special Interests: Understand the role of Florida ‘think tanks’ in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Maine's Majority Education Fund, Fooling Maine: How national conservative groups infiltrated Maine politics by founding and funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
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- Caesar Rodney Institute [paper copy 2016 Form 990], organizational annual IRS filing
- Caesar Rodney Institute, 2014 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 29, 2015.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, 2013 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, September 11, 2014.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, 2012 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, August 2, 2013.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, October 5, 2012.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, CRI Staff, Caesar Rodney Institute September 2019
- Caesar Rodney Institute, Board, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2019.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, Advisory Council, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2019.
- Caesar Rodney Institute, Research Fellows, Caesar Rodney Institute, 2018.